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precursor (n.)

early 15c., from Middle French precurseur and directly from Latin praecursor "forerunner," agent noun from past-participle stem of praecurrere, from prae "before" (see pre-) + currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). Related: Precursory.

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Definitions of precursor from WordNet

precursor (n.)
a substance from which another substance is formed (especially by a metabolic reaction);
precursor (n.)
a person who goes before or announces the coming of another;
Synonyms: forerunner
precursor (n.)
something that precedes and indicates the approach of something or someone;
From wordnet.princeton.edu