Part of speech: noun
Origin: Late Middle English, 1100s
A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another.
A forerunner of something.
Examples of Harbinger in a sentence
"Robins are often considered the harbingers of spring."
"Those first three chords were the harbinger of a chart-topping album."
Popularity Over Time
This word made its way into Late Middle English by way of the Old French words “herbergier” (provide lodging for) and “herberge” (lodging). However, its true origins lie in Old Saxon, particularly the combination of the German word “heri” (army) + a word for a fortified base to create the word “heriberga” (shelter for an army, lodging).
Did you Know?
Harbingers are often associated with doom or assumed to be bad omens, especially when related to supernatural phenomena. However, harbingers are simply people or things that announce or signal the approach of another, whether that approach is good or bad. A famous example is Paul Revere and other American riders who completed a twelve-mile midnight ride to warn founding fathers John Hancock and Patrick Henry that the British army was heading their way. Thanks to Revere and his associates, the fledgling American militia was able to hide their supplies before the British arrived.