Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
forerunner (plural forerunners)
- a runner at the front or ahead
- (sports) by extension, a non-competitor who leads out the competitors on to the circuit, or who runs/rides the course prior to competitor trials, usually testing or checking the way.
- a precursor or harbinger, a warning ahead
1922, Michael Arlen, chapter 3/1/1, “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days:
- How meek and shrunken did that haughty Tarmac become as it slunk by the wide circle of asphalt of the yellow sort, that was loosely strewn before the great iron gates of Lady Hall as a forerunner of the consideration that awaited the guests of Rupert, Earl of Kare, […] .
- a forebear, an ancestor, a predecessor
- (philately) a postage stamp used in the time before a region or area issues stamps of its own
- something that introducess a part of the properties offered by some later thing: Bakelite ist a forerunner of today's plastics