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[fawr-tee-nahy-ner] /ˌfɔr tiˈnaɪ nər/
a person, especially a prospector, who went to California in 1849 during the gold rush.
Origin of forty-niner
An Americanism dating back to 1850-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for forty-niner
Historical Examples
  • At the very bottom, when all was said and done, Magnus remained the forty-niner.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • His rest was the forty-niner's arm, as mine is the sportsman's hand.

    Frontier Ballads Joseph Mills Hanson
  • Dr. Robinson was a prominent "forty-niner," and the leader of the California squatters in the war against the Sutter land claims.

    The Middle Period 1817-1858 John William Burgess
  • The government agent was an old friend of mine, a California forty-niner, and a most companionable fellow.

  • Then, since ‘forty-niner’ got home only he has slept here, and he generally ‘bunks’ on the lounge in this very office.

    Jessica, the Heiress

    Evelyn Raymond
  • Father, he was a forty-niner himself, an' he was a rough un if anything got in his way.

    The Boy With the U.S. Miners Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • After thirty-three years of honest striving the old forty-niner slept the sleep of the just.

    Forty-one Thieves Angelo Hall
  • He had made a fortune in California, for he was a forty-niner, and returned East to enjoy it.

    Tenting on the Plains Elizabeth B. Custer
  • The old "forty-niner" approached the waggon with a withering glance at the repacked cargo.

    Saddle and Mocassin Francis Francis Jr.
  • It had been the home of a "forty-niner," and he was dead and forgotten, his dust as easily accounted for as his winged gold.

    The Californians

    Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for forty-niner


(sometimes capital) (US, history) a prospector who took part in the California gold rush of 1849
49er. a type of dinghy, designed to be crewed by two people
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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