coureur de bois

cou·reur de bois

noun \k-ˌrər-də-ˈbwä\
plural coureurs de bois \same\

Definition of COUREUR DE BOIS

:  a French or métis trapper of North America and especially of Canada


Canadian French, literally, woods runner
First Known Use: 1700

coureur de bois

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

French Canadian fur trader of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Most of the coureur de bois traded illicitly (i.e., without the license required by the Quebec government). They sold brandy to Indians, which created difficulties for the tribes with whom they traded. Though they defied the colonial authorities, they ultimately benefited them by exploring the frontier, developing the fur trade, and helping ally the Indians with the French and against the English (see French and Indian War).


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