precursor

You've heard the old saying "Pride comes before the fall?" Well, you could just as easily say pride is a precursor to the fall. A precursor is something that happens before something else.

You don't have to be a dead languages scholar to guess that this word springs from a Latin source — praecursor, "to run before." A precursor is usually related to what it precedes. It's a catalyst or a harbinger, leading to what follows or providing a clue that it's going to happen. Binging on holiday candy is a precursor to tummy aches and promises to exercise more. Draconian policies in unstable nations are often a precursor to rebellion.

Definitions of precursor
1

n something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone

Synonyms:
forerunner, harbinger, herald, predecessor
Type of:
indicant, indication
something that serves to indicate or suggest

n a person who goes before or announces the coming of another

Synonyms:
forerunner
Types:
predecessor
one who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)
forefather
person from an earlier time who contributed to the tradition shared by some group
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

n a substance from which another substance is formed (especially by a metabolic reaction)

Type of:
material, stuff
the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.