Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One that precedes and indicates, suggests, or announces someone or something to come.
  • noun One that precedes another; a forerunner or predecessor.
  • noun A biochemical substance, such as an intermediate compound in a chain of enzymatic reactions, from which a more stable or definitive product is formed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A forerunner; also, that which precedes an event and indicates its approach.
  • noun Synonyms Predecessor, herald, omen, sign.
  • noun Specifically, in the history of the fine arts, an early artist of a school or period, or an artist who preceded such a school or period. The precursors of the Renaissance in Italy are the sculptors and painters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. such as Niccola Pisano, Giotto, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who, or that which, precedes an event, and indicates its approach; a forerunner; a harbinger.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun That which precurses, a forerunner, a predecessor, an indicator of approaching events.
  • noun chemistry One of the compounds that participates in the chemical reaction that produces another compound.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone
  • noun a substance from which another substance is formed (especially by a metabolic reaction)
  • noun a person who goes before or announces the coming of another

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English precursoure, from Old French precurseur, from Latin praecursor, from praecursus, past participle of praecurrere, to run before : prae-, pre- + currere, to run; see kers- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin praecursor ("forerunner")

Examples

  • Yet in precisely this jostling of succession, that wintry decline and fall of the precursor is already redeemed by the previous linear drop, despite the attempted brake of the exclamation mark.

    Phonemanography: Romantic to Victorian

  • Then up, straight up, the deviation of a fraction of an inch being a certain precursor of disaster, the snowshoe must be lifted till the surface is cleared; then forward, down, and the other foot is raised perpendicularly for the matter of half a yard.

    The White Silence

  • Then up, straight up, the deviation of a fraction of an inch being a certain precursor of disaster, the snowshoe must be lifted till the surface is cleared; then forward, down, and the other foot is raised perpendicularly for the matter of half a yard.

    THE WHITE SILENCE

  • For instance if certain precursor components are too large, too small, too weak, have too much torque, don't fit well with others, then you can't just tweak it for a fix.

    David Heddle Reviews Ken Miller's Talk

  • In all this, the great precursor is the strongly drawn King Dahfu in Henderson the Rain King, who makes splendid use of his secondhand English when addressing his massive and worried American guest as follows:

    The Great Assimilator

  • In all this, the great precursor is the strongly drawn King Dahfu in Henderson the Rain King, who makes splendid use of his secondhand English when addressing his massive and worried American guest as follows:

    The Great Assimilator

  • In all this, the great precursor is the strongly drawn King Dahfu in Henderson the Rain King, who makes splendid use of his secondhand English when addressing his massive and worried American guest as follows:

    The Great Assimilator

  • Requirements relating to the largest exporting and importing countries of certain precursor chemicals.

    Think Progress » Former Intel Chairman Graham: White House Made ‘No Reference’ to NSA Program In Briefings

  • Then up, straight up, the deviation of a fraction of an inch being a certain precursor of disaster, the snowshoe must be lifted till the surface is cleared; then forward, down, and the other foot is raised perpendicularly for the matter of half a yard.

    The White Silence

  • One bit of junk can be especially troubling - a tiny, soluble molecule he describes as a precursor to amyloid beta, a protein fragment and the notorious sticky building-block of brain plaques.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

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