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English definition of “precursor”

precursor

noun [C] uk   /ˌpriːˈkɜː.sər/ us    /-ˈkɝː.sɚ/ formal
something that happened or existed before another thing, especially if it either developed into it or had an influence on it: Sulphur dioxide is the main precursor of acid rain. Biological research has often been a precursor to medical breakthroughs.
(Definition of precursor from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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