Part of speech: noun
Origin: Old French, 15th century
A group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas; a position at the forefront of new developments or ideas.
The foremost part of an advancing army or naval force.
Examples of Vanguard in a sentence
"Tom Brady is part of a vanguard of older athletes still delivering peak performance well past average retirement age."
"As an early investor in Bitcoin, Carl was part of the vanguard of the cryptocurrency revolution."
Popularity Over Time
“Vanguard” appeared in the 15th century as a collapsed version of the Old French term “avant-garde” (“forward-guard”), referring to the foremost part of an advancing army. Its definition was chiefly military at first, but by the 19th century, “vanguard” had come into wide use as a metaphor for any group leading the way into new territory.
Did you Know?
Like “vanguard,” the root word, “avant-garde,” also derives from a military expression. However, while “vanguard” has stayed true to its description of people leading a new idea forward, the related term “avant-garde” has been applied metaphorically almost exclusively to the world of art and culture. It’s not just forward thinking; instead, avant-garde art moves in unusual or experimental directions.