Definitions

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

  • n. One who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle.
  • n. One who opens up new areas of thought, research, or development: a pioneer in aviation.
  • n. A soldier who performs construction and demolition work in the field to facilitate troop movements.
  • n. Ecology An animal or plant species that establishes itself in a previously barren environment.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or characteristic of early settlers: the pioneer spirit.
  • adj. Leading the way; trailblazing: a pioneer treatment for cancer.
  • transitive v. To open up (an area) or prepare (a way): rockets that pioneered outer space.
  • transitive v. To settle (a region).
  • transitive v. To initiate or participate in the development of: surgeons who pioneered organ transplants.
  • intransitive v. To act as a pioneer: pioneered in development of the laser.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who goes before, as into the wilderness, preparing the way for others to follow
  • n. A person who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress
  • n. A soldier detailed or employed to form roads, dig trenches, and make bridges, as an army advances; a sapper.
  • n. A member of any of several European organizations advocating abstinence from alcohol.
  • n. 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.
  • v. To go before and prepare or open a way for; to act as pioneer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A soldier detailed or employed to form roads, dig trenches, and make bridges, as an army advances.
  • n. One who goes before, as into the wilderness, preparing the way for others to follow
  • v. To go before, and prepare or open a way for; to act as pioneer.
  • v. to take part in the early development of; to break ground in; to invent or originate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Milit.. one of a party or company of foot-soldiers who march before or with an army, and are furnished with digging- and cutting-implements, to clear the way of obstructions, repair the roads, dig intrenchments, etc.
  • n. One who or that which goes before and opens and leads or prepares the way for others coming after; specifically, a first or early explorer or experimenter in any department of human enterprise.
  • To go before and open (a way); lead or prepare the way to or for.
  • To act as pioneer; clear the way; remove obstructions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who helps to open up a new line of research or technology or art
  • v. open up an area or prepare a way
  • n. one the first colonists or settlers in a new territory
  • v. take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of
  • v. open up and explore a new area

Etymologies

French pionnier, from Old French peonier, foot soldier, from peon, from Medieval Latin pedō, pedōn-, from Late Latin, one who has broad feet, from Latin pēs, ped-, foot; see ped- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French pionier ("originally, a foot soldier"), Old French peonier, from peon ("a foot soldier") (modern French: pion). See pawn in chess. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term "pioneer" is often thrown around, but it is certainly applicable to Mr. Wheeler.

    Trumpets Taking the City

  • The title pioneer is usually reserved for members of the heavily armed column of 450 men recruited from South Africa and

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Vermeer was a pioneer is the use of optical tools such as the camera obscura.

    Guggenheim Bilbao Shows Dutch Masterpieces

  • O Lord, here I am . . . this is how I understand the true meaning of the word pioneer.

    The Chosen Peoples

  • "This is what I call the pioneer spirit," enthused the general, who carries scars from a rocket attack in Iraq.

    chron.com Chronicle

  • (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- The Rackspace Cloud (www. rackspace.com) announced on Thursday that it has partnered with FathomDB (www. fathomdb.com), which it calls a pioneer in the realm of database as a service technology, to create a version of FathomDB's cloud database offering using Rackspace's cloud hosting solutions.

    theWHIR.com - Daily Web Hosting News

  • Bacardi is known as a pioneer in the social responsibility arena as the Company has had a strong heritage of promoting responsible drinking since its first advertising campaign focused solely on this topic in Mexico in the 1930s - long before social responsibility was on the radar.

    Rahim Kanani: Rafael Nadal: Global Social Responsibility Ambassador for Bacardi Limited

  • Docta, whose real name is Amadou Lamine Ngom, is known as the "pioneer of graffiti art" in Senegal.

    Graffiti Coming of Age in Senegal

  • Even though Hambrecht was known as the pioneer of the auction-based IPO, it was Morgan Stanley that developed the technology to run the Dutch auction that would determine opening prices.

    In the Plex

  • You struck a new land in pioneer days, and you picked up money like a lot of sailors shaking out nuggets from the grass roots in

    CHAPTER VI

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