Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woodsman, boatman, or guide employed by a fur company to transport goods and supplies between remote stations in Canada or the U.S. Northwest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A trader, particularly in furs, who worked (and explored) in the area of Canada and the northern United States from the 16th to early 19th centuries; they were often of Quebecois extraction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A traveler; -- applied in Canada to a man employed by the fur companies in transporting goods by the rivers and across the land, to and from the remote stations in the Northwest.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The Canadian name of one of a class of men employed by the Northwest and Hudson's Bay companies in transporting men and supplies, and, in general, in keeping up communication between their various stations. which was done exclusively in bark canoes, the whole region formerly under the exclusive control of these companies being almost everywhere accessible by water, with few and short portages. These men were nearly always French Canadians or half-breeds.

Etymologies

French, traveler, from voyager, to travel, from voyage, journey, from Old French veyage; see voyage.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French (below) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A voyageur was a man employed by Canadian fur companies to transport supplies, usually by canoe, to and from distant stations.

    Centennial

  • The sun marches over it distantly, and the man of the East -- the braggart -- calls it outcast; but animals love it; and the shades of the long-gone trapper and 'voyageur' saunter without mourning through its fastnesses.

    Pierre and His People, [Tales of the Far North], Volume 1.

  • The 'voyageur' and 'courier de bois' still exist, though, generally, under less picturesque names.

    Pierre and His People, [Tales of the Far North], Complete

  • The hardy "voyageur" pushes with incredible perseverance and success quite up to the foot of the falls, and then only carries round some perpendicular ledge, and launches again in

    The Maine Woods

  • But there was still another "voyageur," an old acquaintance, whom you, boy reader, will no doubt remember.

    The Young Voyageurs Boy Hunters in the North

  • Even Jacques Baptiste, born of a Chippewa woman and a renegade voyageur (having raised his first whimpers in a deerskin lodge north of the sixty-fifth parallel, and had the same hushed by blissful sucks of raw tallow), was surprised.

    In a Far Country

  • The Crees never heard, nor Michael and his brother voyageur, nor

    IN THE FOREST OF THE NORTH

  • From The Dakota Cipher and The Barbary Pirates, I key off more somber books about the heroic French voyageur fur trade, and an ingenious submarine invented by Robert Fulton a century ahead of its time.

    William Dietrich: Put the Story in History

  • Louis, a French-Canadian voyageur, Smoke decided, as were four of the others, obeyed.

    THE MAN ON THE OTHER BANK

  • Two men, a government courier and a half-breed voyageur, dragged him out of the surf, saved his cargo, and beached the Alma.

    THE ONE THOUSAND DOZEN

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