mar·​i·​ner ˈmer-ə-nər How to pronounce mariner (audio)
: a person who navigates or assists in navigating a ship : seaman, sailor

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In Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, an old seaman tells of how, by shooting a friendly albatross, he had brought storms and disaster to his ship, and how as punishment his shipmates hung the great seabird around the mariner's neck and made him wear it until it rotted. The word mariner has occasionally been used to mean simply "explorer", as in the famous Mariner spaceflights in the 1960s and '70s, the first to fly close to Mars, Venus, and Mercury.

Examples of mariner in a Sentence

the ancient Phoenicians were outstanding mariners who explored and colonized much of the eastern Mediterranean
Recent Examples on the Web For ancient mariners, the two pillars were a warning: Advance no farther. Tomas Weber, Rolling Stone, 18 May 2024 In the meantime, authorities are urging mariners in the Strait of Gibraltar to exercise caution this summer. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 May 2024 The head of a non-profit organization that protects the rights of mariners tells the BBC that crew members have been unable to pay bills or send funds home to their families. Maxwell Zeff / Gizmodo, Quartz, 16 May 2024 The breakthrough came when the U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft identified the three mariners on April 7 on Pikelot Atoll, confirming their presence and condition. Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik, Quartz, 16 Apr. 2024 On April 7, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft located the mariners on Pikelot Atoll and were able to confirm their condition. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 12 Apr. 2024 On Tuesday morning, crews aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Oliver Henry rescued the mariners and returned them and their outboard boat to Polowat Atoll, about 100 nautical miles from the island. USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024 At least three mariners were killed and several more were injured, U.S. officials said. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2024 The city of Huntington Beach has not announced any beach closures, but mariners have received a safety alert to stay out of the area. Jireh Deng, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin marinarius, from marinus

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mariner was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near mariner

Cite this Entry

“Mariner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mar·​i·​ner ˈmar-ə-nər How to pronounce mariner (audio)
: one who navigates or assists in navigating a ship : sailor

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