What does harbinger mean?

Definitions for harbinger
ˈhɑr bɪn dʒərhar·bin·ger

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word harbinger.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. harbinger, forerunner, predecessor, herald, precursorverb

    something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone

  2. announce, annunciate, harbinger, foretell, heraldverb

    foreshadow or presage


  1. harbingernoun

    A person or thing that foreshadows or foretells the coming of someone or something.

  2. harbingerverb

    To announce; to be a harbinger of.

  3. Etymology: Originally, a person that is sent in advance to provide lodgings. From herbergeour, from herbergeor (> French héberger), from *, from harjaz + bergô. Compare German Herberge, Italian albergo, Dutch herberg, English harbour. More at here, borrow.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Harbingernoun

    A forerunner; a precursor.

    Etymology: herberger, Dutch, one who goes to provide lodgings or an harbour for those that follow.

    Make all our trumpets speak, give them all breath,
    Those clam’rous harbingers of blood and death. William Shakespeare, Macb.

    I’ll be myself the harbinger, and make joyful
    The hearing of my wife with your approach. William Shakespeare, Macb.

    Sin, and her shadow death, and misery,
    Death’s harbinger. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. ix. l. 13.

    And now of love they treat, ’till th’ evening star,
    Love’s harbinger, appear’d. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. xi.

    Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
    His coming, is sent harbinger, who all
    Invites. John Milton, Paradise Regain’d, b. i.

    As Ormond’s harbinger to you they run;
    For Venus is the promise of the Sun. Dryden.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Harbingernoun

    one who provides lodgings; especially, the officer of the English royal household who formerly preceded the court when traveling, to provide and prepare lodgings

  2. Harbingernoun

    a forerunner; a precursor; a messenger

  3. Harbingerverb

    to usher in; to be a harbinger of

  4. Etymology: [OE. herbergeour, OF. herbergeor one who provides lodging, fr. herbergier to provide lodging, F. hberger, OF. herberge lodging, inn, F. auberge; of German origin. See Harbor.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Harbinger

    här′bin-jėr, n. a forerunner, pioneer, originally one who goes forward to provide lodging.—v.t. to precede, as a harbinger. [M. E. herbergeour. See Harbour.]

Editors Contribution

  1. harbinger

    A "harbinger" is a carrier. Also, one that initiates a major change : a person or thing that originates or helps open up a new activity, method, or technology.

    Harbinger of woe.

    Submitted by anonymous on May 24, 2017  

How to pronounce harbinger?

How to say harbinger in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of harbinger in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of harbinger in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of harbinger in a Sentence

  1. Joseph Giacalone:

    The only thing that criminals respond to are arrests and prosecution … we refer to that as deterrence. And there doesn't seem to be any deterrence, to see the numbers go up this dramatically in a short period of time, during blizzards and cold weather, it is not a good harbinger of things to come.

  2. Stephen Kane:

    Information about a planet's interior gives us a sense of whether the surface of the planet is habitable by life as we know it, though this particular planet is unlikely to be inhabited today, it may be a harbinger of many rocky worlds yet to be discovered around our galaxy's oldest stars.

  3. Stephen Farnsworth:

    Every gubernatorial election in Virginia is seen as a leading political indicator. How the parties do in Virginia's governor's race, the year after a presidential election, is seen as a harbinger of how the parties will do in the midterm elections.

  4. Mattia Toaldo:

    The victorious end of Misrata's offensive on Sirte could be the harbinger of more infighting between different factions, ultimately, the current relative absence of violence in Libya is very fragile in many areas and could crumble under these multiple pressures.

  5. Paul Hackett:

    That very tight margin in a race that should never have been competitive in the first place was a harbinger of 2006, when Democrats got extremely fired up and won a whole lot of previously red seats.

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Translations for harbinger

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • herald, anunciar, anunciadorCatalan, Valencian
  • Vorzeichen, ankündigen, Omen, VorboteGerman
  • προαναγγέλλω, πρόδρομος, προάγγελοςGreek
  • heraldo, anunciante, anunciar, anunciadorSpanish
  • airutFinnish
  • annoncer, présage, présagerFrench
  • előjelHungarian
  • fyrirboði, boðberi, undanfariIcelandic
  • presagio, premonire, presagire, precursore, profeta, premonitrice, profetizzare, messaggero, premonitore, foriero, annunciare, araldoItalian
  • 前触れJapanese
  • praenuntius, destinarat purgandis mentibus praepositamLatin
  • voorbode, aankondigenDutch
  • innvarsleNorwegian
  • zwiastunPolish
  • arautoPortuguese
  • vestitorRomanian
  • предвестник, провозвестник, предвещатьRussian
  • predšasnik, nagovest, nagoveštaj, najava, navesnikSerbo-Croatian
  • förebud, förlöpare, förebåda, varslaSwedish
  • 预兆Chinese

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"harbinger." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Apr. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/harbinger>.

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1 Comment
  • Virginia Allen
    Virginia Allen
    I'm reading the book The Harbinger that's why I am on this web site. It's a must read I cannot put it down.
    LikeReply 28 years ago

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directed outward; marked by interest in others or concerned with external reality
  • A. tacky
  • B. extroversive
  • C. unsealed
  • D. appellative

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