Meaning of bellwether

bell•weth•er

Pronunciation: (bel'we"ur), [key]
— n.
  1. a wether or other male sheep that leads the flock, usually bearing a bell.
  2. a person or thing that assumes the leadership or forefront, as of a profession or industry: Paris is a bellwether of the fashion industry.
  3. a person or thing that shows the existence or direction of a trend; index.
  4. a person who leads a mob, mutiny, conspiracy, or the like; ringleader.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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