from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who or that which goes before; a forerunner; a harbinger; a predecessor.
  • n. A short rope grafted on a harpoon, to which a longer line may be attached.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short rope grafted on a harpoon, to which a longer line may be attached.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who goes before; a forerunner.
  • n. In whaling, a piece of rope, of the same kind as the tow-line, made fast to the shank of a toggle-iron or harpoon, with an eye-splice in one end: so called by English and Scotch whalemen, more frequently by Americans the strap or iron-strap.


From Middle English foreganger, from Old English *foregangere, from foregangan ("to go before, precede, go in front of, project, excel"), equivalent to fore- +‎ ganger. Cognate with Scots foregangare ("a foregoer"), Dutch voorganger ("a predecessor, progenitor"), German Vorgänger ("a predecessor, precursor"), Swedish föregångare ("a forerunner, precursor, progenitor"). (Wiktionary)


  • A piece of small, but stout line, called, I think, the foreganger, is spliced securely to the shank of the harpoon.

    The Lieutenant and Commander

  • The rope, before being made fast to the foreganger, is rove through a block attached to some part of the bowsprit, or to the foremost swifter of the fore-rigging; a gang of hands are always ready to take hold of the end, and run the fish right out of the water when pierced by the iron.

    The Lieutenant and Commander


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