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avant-garde Line breaks: avant-garde
Pronunciation: /ˌavɒ̃ˈɡɑːd/

Definition of avant-garde in English:


(usually the avant-garde)
1New and experimental ideas and methods in art, music, or literature: he has been called a promoter of the avant-garde
More example sentences
  • The city has a reputation for being the one place where rock music and the avant-garde have merged with results that are spectacular rather than excruciating.
  • I got into medieval music and the avant-garde, all the fringe stuff that people didn't like, the punk rock of classical music.
  • A passionate advocate for the avant-garde in both literature and film, B.S. Johnson gained notoriety for his forthright views on the future of the novel and for his idiosyncratic ways of putting them into practice.
1.1A group of artists, musicians, or writers working with new and experimental ideas and methods: works by artists of the Russian avant-garde
More example sentences
  • Early non-medical LSD use was limited to an intellectual avant-garde of writers, artists and musicians.
  • The most prestigious traditional Bohemian glass decoration, Tiefschnit, or deep, intaglio carving, was also adopted by the artists of the avant-garde.
  • Konig spent much of the 1970s in North America, where he established close ties with the leading artists of the avant-garde.


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Favouring or introducing new and experimental ideas and methods: a controversial avant-garde composer
More example sentences
  • Artists here have been diligently working to improve their skills, as their counterparts in Beijing continue to put forward new concepts and avant-garde ideas.
  • This is coupled with an absence of widely available introductions and open doors for those who are unfamiliar with contemporary or avant-garde poetry.
  • The late avant-garde composer John Cage is in the news again.
innovative, advanced, innovatory, original, experimental, inventive, ahead of the times, new, forward-looking, futuristic, modern, ultra-modern, state-of-the-art, trendsetting, pioneering, progressive, groundbreaking, trailblazing, revolutionary;
unfamiliar, unorthodox, unconventional, off-centre, eccentric, offbeat, bohemian;
North American left-field
informal go-ahead, way-out


Late Middle English (denoting the vanguard of an army): from French, literally 'vanguard'. Current senses date from the early 20th century.

  • This French phrase was originally used in English in its original sense for the vanguard of an army. Use for those in the vanguard of what is new in the arts dates from the early 20th century.



Example sentences
  • ‘Our film,’ Dali boasted, ‘ruined in a single evening ten years of pseudo-intellectual post-war avant-gardism.’
  • Each project engages with avant-gardism in manners that suggest its reinscription as a paradigm for art and social action in the 21st century.
  • His avant-gardism attracts the attention of the villagers.


Example sentences
  • Works of European avant-gardists and ‘world’ artists were juxtaposed for their ‘magical’ qualities.
  • The only performance artist to make the pop charts, he joins the roster of aging musical avant-gardists who've begun to top the bill annually at the Rodeo.
  • Even some avant-gardists began to mold their work around regular company structures, touring, repertory, and management that could talk to presenters and funding agencies.

Words that rhyme with avant-garde

Assad, aubade, backyard, ballade, bard, Bernard, bombard, canard, card, charade, chard, couvade, croustade, Cunard, facade, glissade, guard, hard, ill-starred, interlard, lard, Montagnard, nard, pard, petard, pomade, promenade, regard, rodomontade, roulade, saccade, Sade, salade, sard, shard, unmarred, unscarred, yard

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