AskDefine | Define pioneer

Dictionary Definition



1 someone who helps to open up a new line of research or technology or art [syn: innovator, trailblazer, groundbreaker]
2 one the first colonists or settler in a new territory; "they went west as pioneers with only the possessions they could carry with them"


1 open up an area or prepare a way; "She pioneered a graduate program for women students" [syn: open up]
2 take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of; "This South African surgeon pioneered heart transplants" [syn: initiate]
3 open up and explore a new area; "pioneer space"

User Contributed Dictionary



From pionier, originally, a foot soldier, peonier, from peon a foot soldier (French: pion). See pawn in chess.]


  1. One who goes before, as into the wilderness, preparing the way for others to follow
  2. In the context of "obsolete|military": A soldier detailed or employed to form roads, dig trenches, and make bridges, as an army advances.
    pioneers of civilization; pioneers of reform
  3. (Ireland) a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, a Catholic group who pledge abstinence from alcohol.
  4. (Russia) A child of 10–16 years in the former Soviet Union, in the second of the three stages in becoming a member of the Communist Party (after октябрёнок and before комсомолец).W

Derived terms


one who goes before
member of a child organization in the soviet bloc


  1. To go before and prepare or open a way for; to act as pioneer.

Extensive Definition

A pioneer () is a person who is one of the first to do something. A pioneer may settle previously uninhabited territory, or open up new areas of thought or research. The word is derived from the French language (lang-fr pionnier), from Old French peonier, foot soldier, from the root 'peon', in turn derived from pedn-, from Late Latin, "one who has broad feet". It was probably brought into English use by Captain George Smith who defines it as PIONEERS, in war-time, are such as are commanded in from the country, to march with an army, for mending the ways, for working on intrenchments, and fortifications, and for making mines and approaches: the soldiers are likewise employed in all these things. Most of the foreign regiments of artillery have half a company of pioneers, well instructed in that important branch of duty. Our regiments of infantry and cavalry have 3 or 4 pioneers each, provided with aprons, hatchets, saws, spades, and pick-axes. In the past it had been a military occupation within the European armies in the Artillery and later Engineer branch of Service. Their primary job was to assist other Arms in tasks such as construction of field fortifications or military camps.
The notions of walking and construction also apply to the American English use of "pioneer" to refer to a settler, a person who has migrated to a less occupied area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. In this usage, pioneers are usually among the first to an area, whereas settlers can arrive after first settlement and join others. This correlates with the work of military pioneers who were tasked with construction of camps before the rest of the troops would arrive at the designated camp site.
A similar military occupation to the pioneer is that of a sapper. The United States Marine Corps have sometimes organized their sappers into "Pioneer Battalions".
Another common use is to establish one as an innovator in a particular field, ie: "Mr. Smith is a pioneer in the teaching profession..."
In United States history the "American pioneer" refers to those people who helped to settle new lands.


pioneer in Catalan: Pioneer
pioneer in Czech: Pionýr
pioneer in German: Pionier
pioneer in Estonian: Pioneer
pioneer in Esperanto: Pioniro
pioneer in French: Pioneer
pioneer in Korean: 파이오니어
pioneer in Italian: Pioneer
pioneer in Hebrew: פיוניר
pioneer in Dutch: Pionier
pioneer in Japanese: パイオニア (曖昧さ回避)
pioneer in Norwegian: Pioner
pioneer in Polish: Pioneer (ujednoznacznienie)
pioneer in Russian: Пионер
pioneer in Slovak: Pionier
pioneer in Serbian: Pionir
pioneer in Finnish: Pioneer
pioneer in Swedish: Pionjär
pioneer in Vietnamese: Đội viên

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Seabee, actuate, advance guard, adventurer, airhead, alpinist, ancestor, announcer, antecedent, astronaut, avant-garde, battle line, be in front, be the front-runner, beachhead, begin, bellwether, blaze the trail, break ground, break the ice, break the trail, bridgehead, buccinator, bushwhacker, camper, climber, coin, colonial, colonist, colonizer, combat engineer, comers and goers, commuter, cosmopolite, create, cruiser, develop, discover, earliest, engineer, establish, excursionist, explorer, fare, farthest outpost, first line, forebear, forefront, foregoer, forerun, forerunner, forge ahead, found, front, front line, front rank, front runner, front-runner, frontiersman, fugleman, globe-girdler, globe-trotter, go before, goer, groundbreaker, guide, hajji, harbinger, head, head up, herald, homesteader, immigrant, inaugurate, initial, initiate, innovate, innovator, institute, introduce, introduce new blood, invent, jet set, jet-setter, journeyer, kick off, launch, lay the foundation, lay the groundwork, lead, lead off, lead runner, lead the way, leader, line, maiden, make innovations, mariner, messenger, mountaineer, neologize, nester, open up, original, originate, outguard, outpost, pacemaker, palmer, passenger, passerby, pathfinder, pilgrim, pilot, planter, point, precede, precedent, precursor, predecessor, primary, prime, put in motion, railhead, revolutionize, rubberneck, rubbernecker, sailor, sapper, sapper and miner, scout, set in motion, set off, set up, settler, show the way, sightseer, sooner, spearhead, squatter, stand first, stand in front, start, stormy petrel, straphanger, take the initiative, take the lead, take the plunge, tourer, tourist, trailblazer, trailbreaker, transient, traveler, trekker, trend-setter, trigger, tripper, usher in, van, vanguard, vaunt-courier, viator, visiting fireman, voortrekker, voyager, voyageur, wayfarer, world-traveler
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1