What's the origin of the phrase 'Harbinger of doom'? Both of those historical senses are true to the Anglo-French parent of "harbinger," the word herberge, meaning "lodgings. Those pessimistic harbingers of doom who first decided that 'the end of the world is nigh' lived in the 19th century. With that meaning, almost anything can be harbingered - not exactly an everyday word that, but one that has been in occasional use since the 17th century.
Both of those historical senses are true to the Anglo-French parent of "harbinger," the word herberge, meaning "lodgings. As long ago as the 12th century, "harbinger" was used to mean "one who provides lodging" or "a host," but that meaning is now obsolete. A sign, warning of bad things to come. The first suggestion of 'doom', or 'ruin' as the Edinburgh Advertiser had it, came in September Those pessimistic harbingers of doom who first decided that 'the end of the world is nigh' lived in the 19th century. Noun Tariffs have yet to affect the price of consumer goods, some analysts said, with many investors seeing them as negotiating tactics rather than harbingers of a slowdown. Examples of harbinger in a Sentence Noun her father's successful job interview was seen as a harbinger of better times to come Verb the hope that the housing slump does not harbinger a general economic recession Recent Examples on the Web: We sometimes hear of 'harbingers of Spring', or 'harbingers of day', but it is the 'harbingers of doom' that are the busiest in our present-day language. John Laurie, who played the lugubrious Frazer, was the archetypal stage Scotsman and the show's line "We're all doomed, doomed I tell ye" became something of a catchphrase for him. This is the source of the 'advance messenger' meaning that we understand now. By the late s, "harbinger" was also being used for a person sent ahead of a main party to seek lodgings, often for royalty or a campaigning army, but that old sense has largely been left in the past, too. Crowley going down spotlights the looming Democratic identity crisis," 27 June In people with dementia, trouble with swallowing is an important harbinger. Noun When medieval travelers needed lodging for the night, they went looking for a harbinger. The earliest printed example of that phrase that I have found is from James Emerson Tennent's Letters from the Aegean, The original meaning of harbinger was quite specific and had nothing to do with any of the above. In the 12th century, a harbinger was a lodging-house keeper. What's the meaning of the phrase 'Harbinger of doom'? We now use 'harbinger' in a metaphorical sense, meaning 'forerunner; announcer'. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record this meaning of 'harbinger', in The Man of Law's Tale, circa Choose the Right Synonym for harbinger Noun forerunner , precursor , harbinger , herald mean one that goes before or announces the coming of another. What's the origin of the phrase 'Harbinger of doom'? The fame anon thurgh toun is born How Alla kyng shal comen on pilgrymage, By herbergeours that wenten hym biforn [The news through all the town was carried, How King Alla would come on pilgrimage, By harbingers that went before him] It was some centuries until the figurative usage, when people began to speak of harbingers of things other than approaching royalty or house guests. With that meaning, almost anything can be harbingered - not exactly an everyday word that, but one that has been in occasional use since the 17th century. By the 13th century, 'harbinger' had migrated from its original meaning of lodging keeper, to refer to a scout who went ahead of a military force or royal court to book lodgings for the oncoming horde. The word derives from 'harbourer' or, as they spelled it then, 'herberer' or 'herberger' , that is, one who harbours people for the night.
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