A male sheep, usually wearing a bell, that leads the flock.
Anything suggesting the general tendency or direction of events, style, etc.
The definition of a bellwether is someone or something that is an indicator of future trends.
If rising unemployment numbers are an indicator of a recession, then they are an example of a bellwether of recession.
One that serves as a leader or as a leading indicator of future trends.
A leader, esp. of a sheeplike crowd.
A stock, index, bond, or other financial instrument that shows the direction of a market. Significant and widely owned stocks may become bellwethers of market direction. In the Treasury bond market, the 10-year note is a bellwether.
The leading sheep of a flock, having a bell hung round its neck.
Origin of bellwether
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English belwether, belleweder (“a sheep with a bell around its neck to lead a flock”), equivalent to bell + wether.