Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one vanguard or multiple vanguards.
Usually, though, we just talk about "the vanguard.")
When an army is advancing, the vanguard is the part of the army right there at the front, leading the attack.
So, the vanguard of anything else (like a field of study, or a political movement) is the group of people who are leading it.
vanguards (rare), vanguardism, vanguardist
How to use it:
Talk about being in the vanguard of something, or being part of the vanguard of something: "They've always been in the vanguard of the push to give equal pay to women." "That nation was part of the vanguard of countries that stood up to the foreign dictatorship." (Occasionally you'll be at the vanguard instead of in the vanguard.) You can also simply say that someone (or some company, or some nation) is the vanguard of something, but that's less common: "Yahoo! was once the vanguard of the Internet."
The point is that, if you talk about being in the vanguard of something, you're comparing that thing to a fight or a battle--or a challenge, at the very least. That meaning makes "vanguard" a useful part of your vocabulary; it says more than "leadership" alone.
With the most capable student in the vanguard, the entire class asked Dr. Johnson to delay the test in favor of a much-needed review session.
I once believed him to be in the vanguard of true social reform, the kind that would eradicate poverty once and for all, but now I'm less naive. And now, to me, he's just another politician.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "vanguard” means when you can explain it without saying “forefront” or “leaders."
Think of someone you admire for his or her leadership, either from history, current events, or your own life, and fill in the blanks: "(Person), in the vanguard of _____, managed to _____."
Example: "My former boss, in the vanguard of quality after-school learning centers in Houston, managed to run a smoothly operated business while quietly ensuring that low-income families' children could always attend."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our game for May is: “What Do These Words Have in Common?”
The three words given will have something specific in common. (More than one right answer might be possible, but I've only got one particular answer in mind for each set of words.) I've arranged the questions from easiest to hardest, so today’s should be pretty easy. By the end of the month, expect some whoppers.
What do these words have in common?: twin, twelve, between.
Answer: All are related to the number 2, and that’s why they have the “tw.”
Try this one today: olive, rose, amber.
A Point Well Made:
Joseph John Campbell: “I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.”
1. The opposite of VANGUARD is
2. The youngest writers often hope to be in the vanguard of the struggle to end homework, but _____.
A. that wish to deal homework the final death blow may never come to pass
B. that particular battle has been fought for as long as homework itself has been in existence
C. they worry they will get in trouble if they join the well-established ranks of that movement
Answers are below.
To be a sponsor and send your own message to readers of this list, please contact Liesl at Liesl@HiloTutor.com.
Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
Subscribe to "Make Your Point" for a daily vocabulary boost.