Originally, a person that is sent in advance to arrange lodgings. From Middle English herberjour, herbergeour, from Old French herbergeor (French hébergeur), from Frankish *heriberga (lodging, inn, literally army shelter), from Proto-Germanic *harjaz (army) + *bergô (protection). Compare German Herberge, Italian albergo, Dutch herberg, English harbor. More at here, borrow.



harbinger (plural harbingers)

  1. (usually in the plural) A person or thing that foreshadows or foretells the coming of someone or something.
    Synonyms: forewarning, herald, omen, premonition, sign, signal, prophet
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene vi], page 150, column 2:
      Make all our Trumpets ſpeak, giue the[sic] all breath / Thoſe clamorous Harbingers of Blood,& Death
    • 1828, Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Conversations, Lord Brooke and Sir Philip Sidney
      I knew by these harbingers who were coming.
    • 2021 March 26, Alexis Soloski, “‘Kid 90’ and the Days When Even Wild TV Teens Had Privacy”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      It’s to realize that Moon Frye, by cheerfully surveilling her own life, and those first Real Worlders, by agreeing to the constant presence of producers and cameras, were the harbingers of today’s culture, in which self-image is shaped in the expectation of a lens and personhood collates with brand identity.
  2. (obsolete) One who provides lodgings; especially, the officer of the English royal household who formerly preceded the court when travelling, to provide and prepare lodgings.
    • 1644, Thomas Fuller, Truth Maintained (a sermon)
      outward decency [] is the Harbinger to provide the lodging for inward holinesse



harbinger (third-person singular simple present harbingers, present participle harbingering, simple past and past participle harbingered)

  1. (transitive) To announce or precede; to be a harbinger of.
    Synonym: herald
    • 1841, William Harrison Ainsworth, chapter VIII, in Old Saint Paul's, published 1903, page 94:
      It was harbingered also by the terrible comet of January, which appeared in a cadent and obscure house, denoting sickness and death; []


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