con·​quis·​ta·​dor kän-ˈkē-stə-ˌdȯr How to pronounce conquistador (audio)
 also  -ˈkwi-,
plural conquistadores (ˌ)kän-ˌkē-stə-ˈdȯr-ēz How to pronounce conquistador (audio)
or conquistadors
: one that conquers
specifically : a leader in the Spanish conquest of America and especially of Mexico and Peru in the 16th century

Examples of conquistador in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Established more than 5,700 years ago, the site was once home to the Ohlone tribe before being taken over by Spanish conquistadors and American settlers. Sierra Lopez, The Mercury News, 13 Mar. 2024 Since then, the island has hosted a vivid procession of conquistadors, conversos, maroons, priests, pirates, prisoners, guano miners, military men, treasure hunters, scientists and refugees. Carina Del Valle Schorske, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024 On a drive through downtown Seattle, Yang stumbled upon a screening of Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Werner Herzog’s epic about Spanish conquistadores searching for El Dorado in the Peruvian jungle. Dennis Zhou, The New York Review of Books, 22 Dec. 2023 Across the country, place names are being replaced with their Indigenous ones, statues of conquistadors and commanders in the Indian Wars are being taken down, and sports teams are ditching their stereotyped Indigenous mascots. Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News, 23 Nov. 2023 This incantatory novel takes place in 1519, on the day when Hernán Cortés and his conquistadors arrived at Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 Balboa Park The park is named after Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Spanish conquistador and reportedly the first European to see the Pacific Ocean in 1513. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Dec. 2023 Some arrived with Spanish conquistadors, some with enslaved Africans. G. Daniela Galarza, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2023 This left El Morro as a dramatic landmark on an ancestral Route 66 that saw the passing of Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, and European settlers. Mike Bezemek, Outside Online, 13 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conquistador.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish, ultimately from Latin conquirere — see conquer

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conquistador was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near conquistador

Cite this Entry

“Conquistador.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​quis·​ta·​dor kȯŋ-ˈkēs-tə-ˌdȯ(ə)r How to pronounce conquistador (audio)
plural conquistadores kȯŋ-ˌkēs-tə-ˈdȯr-ēz How to pronounce conquistador (audio)
or conquistadors
: a leader in the Spanish conquest of America in the 16th century

Spanish, derived from Latin conquirere "to search for"

More from Merriam-Webster on conquistador

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