Avant-Garde – Meaning and Examples in a Sentence

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The borrowed term “avant-garde” has always held an air of mystery and intrigue when used in English. It’s usually associated with unconventional and ground-breaking works of art and music or other creative fields.

But I see many people struggle with whether or not to capitalize or hyphenate it, so let’s sit for a moment and go over the details on correct usage for avant-garde, shall we?

Avant-Garde Meaning Explained

Avant Garde Meaning Examples in a Sentence

You’d use the term “avant-garde” when referring to some kind of creative works or ideas from individuals who push the boundaries of what is considered traditional or, for lack of a better word, mainstream.

Avant-garde works usually experiment with new and innovative techniques or forms that we just don’t see used. The idea is to challenge established norms and inspire change in the commonalities of “standard” art.

It can also be a noun as well as an adjective.

  • Noun: The concept of the avant-garde was the theme for the art showcase.
  • Adjective: The artist’s style was very avant-garde.

Is It Avantgarde, Avant Garde, or Avant-Garde?

Avant Garde Avantgarde vs. Avant Garde Ngram
Avant-garde, avantgarde and avant garde usage trend.

Great question! The correct spelling you should use for the term is “avant-garde,” with a hyphen between the two words. Sure, even I’ve occasionally seen it written as “avant garde ” or “avantgarde,” but I assure you the hyphenated form is the standard and most widely accepted spelling, so always go with that. Also, you don’t have to italicize it.

Is Avant-Garde Capitalized?

As a rule, ” avant-garde” is not meant to be capitalized when you use it as a descriptive term within a standard sentence. But if it appears as the first word at the start of a sentence or as part of a proper noun or title, like the name of a specific artistic movement, it should always be capitalized.

Origin/Etymology of Avant-Garde

The term “avant-garde” derives from the French language during the 15th century, where the term “avant” means “before” or “forward,” and “garde” means “guard.” I know that doesn’t make sense to its meaning today, but let me explain.

Originally, it referred to the vanguard or front line of an advancing army. But, sometime in the early 1900s, it became a French loanword in the English language. We used it to describe any sort of person or movement that was pioneering or advancing in some way.

Another Way to Say Avant-Garde

Don’t want to use the term avant-garde? No problem! Use any of these similar terms in place of it because they hold the same meanings.

  • Cutting-edge
  • Innovative
  • Pioneering
  • Trailblazing
  • Ground-breaking
  • Experimental
  • Unconventional

Avant-Garde in a Sentence

Avant Garde Meaning Examples in a Sentence 1

Here are some examples of “avant-garde” in sentences to give you the full context of how to use it.

  • The street artist’s avant-garde approach to painting revolutionized the indie art world.
  • Vera Wang’s avant-garde fashion designs caught the attention and praise of the toughest critics.
  • We loved the composer’s avant-garde music because it incorporated unusual instruments and sounds we weren’t expecting.
  • Henri de Saint-Simon was a political philosopher whose avant-garde ideas and concepts helped shape politics as we know it today.
  • Avant-garde artists have paved the way for new ideas and concepts for years. 
  • The local museum’s new exhibition showcases an array of avant-garde sculptures from the 20th century, and you can really see the evolution of art through the years.
  • Kubrick’s avant-garde film techniques set him apart from other directors in the industry, and his name still holds weight today as one of the most unique directors to ever exist.

Stand Out Among the Rest!

Some think avant-garde is just an art style, but it’s more of an art revolution. But you don’t have to reserve it just for talking about art. “Avant-garde” can be applied to any situation or person where something is new, cutting-edge, ground-breaking, etc.