That’s a Good Word: Harbinger

by Annie Shao, age 18

The word harbinger originally meant a person who arrives at a new place to secure lodging for another group of people, usually an army. Modern synonyms for harbinger include scout or forerunner.

Another meaning associated with this word is “one that pioneers or initiates a major change,” or messenger. Mesopotamia was a harbinger for a more advanced and structured form of human civilization. Rosa Parks helped initiate the Montgomery bus boycott. This event was a harbinger for the American Civil Rights movement.  Coughing could be a harbinger of the flu.

In history and in everyday-life, we constantly encounter harbingers of things to come. This is the most common use of the word. A harbinger is an indication of what might happen in the future. It is a very good word.

[Source: Merriam Webster ]


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