pioneer

noun
pi·​o·​neer | \ ˌpī-ə-ˈnir How to pronounce pioneer (audio) \

Definition of pioneer

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a member of a military unit usually of construction engineers
2a : a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development
b : one of the first to settle in a territory
3 : a plant or animal capable of establishing itself in a bare, barren, or open area and initiating an ecological cycle

pioneer

verb
pioneered; pioneering; pioneers

Definition of pioneer (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to act as a pioneer pioneered in the development of airplanes

transitive verb

1 : to open or prepare for others to follow also : settle
2 : to originate or take part in the development of

pioneer

adjective

Definition of pioneer (Entry 3 of 3)

2 : relating to or being a pioneer especially : of, relating to, or characteristic of early settlers or their time

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Examples of pioneer in a Sentence

Noun

the pioneers who settled in the American West in the 19th century the hardships that the pioneers endured while taming the wilderness

Verb

a painter who pioneered a new art form The new method of cancer treatment was pioneered by an international team of researchers. He helped pioneer a new route to the West. He pioneered in the development of airplanes.

Adjective

the nation's pioneer institution for the education of African-Americans
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With her husband Al, Brounstein co-founded Diamond Creek Vineyards, which became a pioneer in establishing Napa Valley’s hillsides as prime territory for Cabernet Sauvignon. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Remembering Boots Brounstein, who revolutionized the idea of Napa Valley terroir at Diamond Creek Vineyards," 6 Aug. 2019 There are scientists trying to make zero-impact luxury fuzz, but the technology isn’t there yet—even though fashion pioneers like McCartney and H&M are making progress. Faran Krentcil, Harper's BAZAAR, "Should Fur Be Illegal?," 13 Sep. 2019 The reenactments will bring to life early pioneers and stories of early happenings here in Medina. Sam Boyer, cleveland.com, "Young women take first steps to state, national titles: Whit & Whimsey," 23 Aug. 2019 That technology generated huge profits for mobile pioneers like Vodafone. The Economist, "Vodafone’s search for the G-spot," 22 Aug. 2019 But pioneers like DeFord Bailey and stars like Charley Pride have long been a rarity in a field dominated by white men. Jon Meacham, Time, "Country Music Should Be Political. After All, It Always Has Been," 15 Aug. 2019 At local dance clubs The Warehouse and The Music Box, early pioneers like producer-DJs Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy and Larry Heard (aka Mr. Fingers) spread a gospel of inclusivity and four-on-the-floor beats. Kevin Warwick, Billboard, "Trax Records' Rachael Cain Talks House Music's 'Enduring, Spiritual' Quality on the Label's 35th Anniversary," 12 Aug. 2019 One such company is Qihan Biotech in Guangzhou, which collaborates with eGenesis of Cambridge—both co-founded by Harvard University’s George Church, a CRISPR pioneer, and Yang Luhan, who earned her Ph.D. in his lab. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "China’s CRISPR push in animals promises better meat, novel therapies, and pig organs for people," 31 July 2019 Here’s what to know about the pioneer of the sky, and her mysterious disappearance. Megan Stein, Country Living, "What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The former 49ers quarterback who pioneered the kneeling social justice protests at NFL games got his message to Nike just in time. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Colin Kaepernick convinces Nike to halt production of shoe with ‘offensive’ flag," 2 July 2019 The fallout could have profound effects on liveaboard dive boats like the Conception, which have long been the social hubs of California’s unique scuba community, a deep-rooted group that pioneered a global diving industry. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "After fire, divers worry that burst of regulations will restrain free-spirited sport," 10 Sep. 2019 Architect and designer Bill McDonough, who pioneered the concept of the Circular Economy, shares that attitude, and has hope for the future. Robert Horn, Fortune, "Why Two Environmentally-Minded Designers Are Optimistic About the Future," 6 Sep. 2019 Its five private acres used to house just one small mountain shack used by famous Alaskan bush pilot Don Sheldon, who pioneered the technique of glacier landings on Denali back in the 1950s and 1960s. Ashley Mateo, Town & Country, "Explore the Last Frontier of Luxury Travel In the U.S.: Alaska," 23 Aug. 2019 Szabolcs Marka, a physicist at Columbia University in New York, and one of those who pioneered the collaborative ideas behind multimessenger astronomy, thinks that gravitational astronomy might square this circle. The Economist, "Gravitational astronomy proves its maturity," 22 Aug. 2019 Stan, as lead engineer and mentor, was the creative force behind the studio, while Dave, with his technical know-how, made the custom designed and crafted technology that pioneered modern music. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "REVIEW: SD REP’s new show is a delightful look at music history," 14 Aug. 2019 Hewitt was at his best in 1933 and ’34 while playing beside defensive tackle Link Lyman, who pioneered the use of pre-snap shifting. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 24, Bill Hewitt," 13 Aug. 2019 Jed Emerson, who pioneered early attempts to monetize the economic value of social impact, makes the same point in his recent book The Purpose of Capital. Wired, "Philanthropy and the Challenge of Quantifying Success," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pioneer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pioneer

Noun

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1780, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Adjective

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pioneer

Noun

Middle French pionier, from Old French peonier foot soldier, from peon foot soldier, from Medieval Latin pedon-, pedo — more at pawn

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Statistics for pioneer

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pioneer

The first known use of pioneer was in 1523

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More Definitions for pioneer

pioneer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pioneer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who helps create or develop new ideas, methods, etc.
: someone who is one of the first people to move to and live in a new area

pioneer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pioneer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to help create or develop (new ideas, methods, etc.) : to be a pioneer in the development of (something)

pioneer

noun
pi·​o·​neer | \ ˌpī-ə-ˈnir How to pronounce pioneer (audio) \

Kids Definition of pioneer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who is one of the first to settle in an area
2 : a person who begins or helps develop something new and prepares the way for others to follow They were pioneers in the field of medicine.

pioneer

verb
pioneered; pioneering

Kids Definition of pioneer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to explore or open up ways or regions for others to follow
2 : to begin something new or take part in the early development of something They pioneered new scientific techniques.

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