in·​trep·​id in-ˈtre-pəd How to pronounce intrepid (audio)
: characterized by resolute fearlessness, fortitude, and endurance
an intrepid explorer
intrepidity noun
intrepidly adverb
intrepidness noun

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Don't Be Afraid to Learn About Intrepid

If you’re going to name a ship, whether an aircraft carrier or an interstellar starship, you could do worse than to name it the Intrepid, as both the United States military and Star Trek writers have done, respectively. (Technically “Intrepid” is a class of Trek ships that includes the Voyager, etc., but you get the drift.) Intrepid, after all, comes from the Latin word intrepidus, itself formed by the combination of the prefix in-, meaning “not,” and the adjective trepidus, meaning “alarmed.” When not designating sea or space vessels, intrepid aptly describes anyone—from explorers to reporters—who ventures bravely into unknown territory, though often you’ll see the word loaded with irony, as in “an intrepid couch surfer endeavored to watch every installment of the beloved sci-fi series in chronological order.” Intrepid word lovers may be interested to know of the existence of trepid, meaning “fearful”; it predates intrepid but most are too trepid (or simply unaware of its existence) to use it.

Examples of intrepid in a Sentence

The heroes are intrepid small-business owners, investigative reporters, plaintiffs and their lawyers, and, of course, Nader himself and his grass-roots organizations. Jonathan Chait, New York Times Book Review, 3 Feb. 2008
Author and explorer Dame Freya Stark was one of the most intrepid adventurers of all time. (T. E. Lawrence, no slouch in the travel department himself, called her "gallant" and "remarkable.") Kimberly Robinson, Travel & Leisure, December 1999
Meanwhile, the intrepid Florentine traveler Marco Polo had been to China and brought back with him a noodle dish that became Italian pasta … Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, 1993
an intrepid explorer who probed parts of the rain forest never previously attempted
Recent Examples on the Web Here’s a rundown of some of the big news from the first 24 hours of the meeting which, due to some weird kind of relativistic time dilation, represents about a week for our intrepid reporters. Adam Feuerstein , Matthew Herper, STAT, 1 June 2024 Our intrepid readers have traveled all over the world this last year, sharing their adventures and travel tips as they road trip in Tuscany, hike across Alaskan glaciers or sail away to Pitcairn Island. Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, 19 May 2024 But our guests today are more intrepid, and plunge into frigid temperatures for all manner of reasons. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 July 2023 This institution is perhaps most famous for being the subject of an exposé by the intrepid reporter Nellie Bly, one of the first women to break into the news reporting industry, and a pioneer of investigative journalism. Ed Martin, Baltimore Sun, 25 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for intrepid 

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

Word History


Latin intrepidus, from in- + trepidus alarmed — more at trepidation

First Known Use

1680, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intrepid was in 1680


Dictionary Entries Near intrepid

Cite this Entry

“Intrepid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​trep·​id in-ˈtrep-əd How to pronounce intrepid (audio)
: feeling no fear : bold
intrepidity noun
intrepidly adjective
intrepidness noun

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