1. (formerly) a royal or official messenger, especially one representing a monarch in an ambassadorial capacity during wartime.
  2. a person or thing that precedes or comes before; forerunner; harbinger: the returning swallows, those heralds of spring.
  3. a person or thing that proclaims or announces: A good newspaper should be a herald of truth.
  4. (in the Middle Ages) an officer who arranged tournaments and other functions, announced challenges, marshaled combatants, etc., and who was later employed also to arrange processions, funerals, etc., and to regulate the use of armorial bearings.
  5. an official intermediate in rank between a king-of-arms and a pursuivant, in the Heralds’ College in England or the Heralds’ Office in Scotland.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give news or tidings of; announce; proclaim: a publicity campaign to herald a new film.
  2. to indicate or signal the coming of; usher in.


    1. a person who announces important news
    2. (as modifier)herald angels
  1. often literary a forerunner; harbinger
  2. the intermediate rank of heraldic officer, between king-of-arms and pursuivant
  3. (in the Middle Ages) an official at a tournament

verb (tr)

  1. to announce publicly
  2. to precede or usher in

late 13c. (in Anglo-Latin); c.1200 as a surname, “messenger, envoy,” from Anglo-French heraud, Old French heraut, hiraut (12c.), perhaps from Frankish *hariwald “commander of an army,” from Proto-Germanic *harja “army” (from PIE root *koro- “war;” see harry) + *waldaz “to command, rule” (see wield). The form fits, but the sense evolution is difficult to explain, unless in reference to the chief officer of a tournament, who introduced knights and made decisions on rules (which was one of the early senses, often as heraud of armes, though not the earliest in English).


late 14c., “to sound the praises of,” from herald (n.). Related: Heralded; heralding.

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