Roget's Thesaurus: Entry 64 (Precursor)

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#64. Precursor. -- N. precursor, antecedent, precedent, predecessor; forerunner, vancourier[obs], avant-coureur[Fr], pioneer, prodrome|, prodromos[obs], prodromus[obs], outrider; leader, bellwether; herald, harbinger; foreboding; dawn; avant-courier, avant-garde, bellmare[obs], forelooper[obs], foreloper[obs], stalking-horse, voorlooper[Afrikaans], voortrekker[Afrikaans].

prelude, preamble, preface, prologue, foreword, avant-propos[Fr], protasis[obs], proemium[obs], prolusion[obs], proem, prolepsis[Gram], prolegomena, prefix, introduction; heading, frontispiece, groundwork; preparation &c. 673; overture, exordium[Lat], symphony; premises.

prefigurement &c. 511; omen &c. 512.

Adj. precursory; prelusive, prelusory, preludious[obs]; proemial[obs], introductory, prefatory, prodromous[obs], inaugural, preliminary; precedent &c. (prior) 116.

Phr. "a precedent embalms a principle" [Disraeli].