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forerunner

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noun [countable] forerunner pronunciation in British English /ˈfɔːˌrʌnə(r)/
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singularforerunner
pluralforerunners
  1. 1
    an institution, custom, or thing that existed before a newer but similar thing

    Mansholt served as Agricultural Commissioner of the EEC, forerunner of the European Union.

  2. 2
    an animal or plant that existed before an animal or plant that it is related to

    Tree shrews are believed to be forerunners of monkeys.

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