Definition of precursor in English:

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Pronunciation: /prɪˈkəːsə/


1A person or thing that comes before another of the same kind; a forerunner: a three-stringed precursor of the violin
More example sentences
  • In so doing, Coram created London's first art gallery, a precursor of the Royal Academy.
  • The pre-meal selection of chutneys is a precursor of the sharp flavours to come.
  • What appeals to me is that it's a precursor of Pinter and a follower of Coward.
forerunner, predecessor, forefather, father, parent, antecedent, ancestor, forebear, progenitor;
pioneer, trailblazer
1.1A substance from which another is formed, especially by metabolic reaction: pepsinogen is the inactive precursor of pepsin
More example sentences
  • Plant substances make precursors of human sex hormones that can be converted in the body.
  • The plaque is an accumulation of amino acid protein precursors called A-Beta.
  • It also contains various plant steroids that serve as hormone precursors as well as vitamin B 12 and carotene.


Late Middle English: from Latin praecursor, from praecurs- 'preceded', from praecurrere, from prae 'beforehand' + currere 'to run'.

  • cursor from Middle English:

    Nowadays we call the movable indicator on our computer screen the cursor. In medieval English a cursor was a running messenger: it is a borrowing of the Latin word for ‘a runner’, and comes from currere ‘to run’. From the late 16th century cursor became the term for a sliding part of a slide rule or other instrument, marked with a line for pinpointing the position on a scale that you want, the forerunner of the computing sense. Currere is the source of very many English words including course (Middle English) something you run along; concourse (Late Middle English) originally a crowd who had ‘run together’; current (Middle English) originally meaning ‘running, flowing’; discursive (late 16th century) running away from the point; excursion (late 16th century) running out to see things; intercourse (Late Middle English) originally an exchange running between people; and precursor (Late Middle English) one who goes before; as well as supplying the cur part of concur (Late Middle English); incur (Late Middle English); occur (Late Middle English) (from ob- ‘against’); and recur (Middle English).

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Line breaks: pre|cur¦sor

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