Definition of harbinger noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈhɑːbɪndʒə(r)//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈhɑːrbɪndʒər//
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harbinger (of something) (formal or literary) a sign that shows that something is going to happen soon, often something bad Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French herbergere, from herbergier ‘provide lodging for’, from herberge ‘lodging’, from Old Saxon heriberga ‘shelter for an army, lodging’ (from heri ‘army’ + a Germanic base meaning ‘fortified place’), related to harbour. The term originally denoted a person who provided lodging, later one who went ahead to find lodgings for an army or for a nobleman and his party, hence, a herald (mid 16th cent.).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: harbinger