Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The foremost position in an army or fleet advancing into battle.
  • n. The foremost or leading position in a trend or movement.
  • n. Those occupying a foremost position.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The leading units at the front of an army or fleet.
  • n. The person(s) at the forefront of any group or movement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The troops who march in front of an army; the advance guard; the van.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A detachment of an army whose duty it is to guard against surprise from the front and to clear the way; the van. Compare van.
  • To stand as a guard before.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the position of greatest importance or advancement; the leading position in any movement or field
  • n. any creative group active in the innovation and application of new concepts and techniques in a given field (especially in the arts)
  • n. the leading units moving at the head of an army

Etymologies

Middle English vandgard, from avaunt garde, from Old French : avaunt, before (from Latin abante; see advance) + garde, guard (from garder, to guard; see guard).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Earlier forms vandgard and (a)vantgard, derived from Old French, avan(t)garde from avant (before) + garde (guard). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Karmakin, I invest in vanguard’s money market fund (not FDIC insured, but very safe and earns % 5.15 percent), and vanguard’s indexed funds. vanguard is well respected. many call it a charity company because their management fees are so low. and a lot of research suggests that indexed funds outperform mutual funds.

    Matthew Yglesias » A Question

  • The ever forward-thinking '80s music vanguard is helping to drown out the sound of online flotsam with a new music and entertainment recommendation system.

    Celebrity-Backed Startups

  • This has become a motif among net-critics, whose vanguard is Andrew Keen, who wrote a sloppy, intellectually dishonest book called The Cult of the Amateur that damns the Internet for much the same reasons (Clay Shirky wrote a great response to Keen).

    Boing Boing

  • We have to try to make this factory a model one, but not the kind of model place they call vanguard, that wins 10 medals, or 3 banners.

    CASTRO CONTINUES CAMAGUEY PROVINCE TOUR

  • The Federal vanguard is reported to be five miles from the Southern capital, to which point the Confederates had fallen back without any real resistance.

    Foreign and Colonial News

  • As hugely expensive as it is to design, produce, fly, and maintain vanguard fighters, it takes far more effort and money to hone pilots’ skills, to keep squadrons of pilots like Rodriguez constantly flying, practicing, and getting better.

    The Last Ace

  • Being in the vanguard is nothing new for Nappier, who in 1998 became not only the first African American woman to hold statewide office in Connecticut but the first African American woman to hold a U.S. state treasurer’s seat.

    From Ms. Mag: A State Treasure | PopPolitics.com

  • The market for personal data about Internet users is booming, and in the vanguard is the practice of "scraping."

    Daily Dispatch: Amazon introduces 'Kindle Singles' for short works; 'Scrapers' go after your personal data

  • The tiny Isle Of Man in the Irish Sea is not known as a vanguard of technology, but this month it was to serve as the test bed for the highly acclaimed third-generation mobile phones.

    Lost In A Mobile Maze

  • Britain was once known as the vanguard of the railways, a nation that shaped the future of the steam locomotive, latticed its colonies with railroads and held the world steam speed record with the Mallard's 126 mph some 63 years ago.

    Crumbling Britannia?

Comments

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  • In the dynamic aspect of the revolution the man of action should be a vanguard for the intellectual, and in the sphere of art, thought, and scientific investigation, the intellectual should be a vanguard for the man of action.

    Jean Franco, "Critical Passions"

    July 28, 2011

  • The Vultee P-66. More on Wikipedia.

    December 30, 2008