[ahr-guh-nawt, -not]
  1. Classical Mythology. a member of the band of men who sailed to Colchis with Jason in the ship Argo in search of the Golden Fleece.
  2. (sometimes lowercase) a person in quest of something dangerous but rewarding; adventurer.
  3. a person who moved to California during the gold rush of 1849.
  4. (lowercase) paper nautilus.

Origin of Argonaut

< Latin Argonauta < Greek Argonaútēs crewman of the ship Argo; see nautical
Related formsAr·go·nau·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for argonauts

Contemporary Examples of argonauts

Historical Examples of argonauts

  • Not a vestige of the Argonauts ever turned up; not a sound came out of the waste.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • When the quest of the Argonauts was ended, Orpheus returned to his own land of Thrace.

  • A similar interpretation is possible of the expedition of the Argonauts.

  • Then the Argonauts came out into the open sea—the Black Sea.

    A Book of Discovery

    Margaret Bertha (M. B.) Synge

  • All signs of life except those of other argonauts disappeared.

British Dictionary definitions for argonauts


  1. Greek myth one of the heroes who sailed with Jason in quest of the Golden Fleece
  2. a person who took part in the Californian gold rush of 1849
  3. another name for the paper nautilus
Derived FormsArgonautic, adjective

Word Origin for Argonaut

C16: from Greek Argonautēs, from Argō the name of Jason's ship + nautēs sailor
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

Word Origin and History for argonauts



"sailor of the Argo," 1580s (implied in argonautic), from Argo + Greek nautes "sailor" (see naval). Adventurers in the California Gold Rush of 1848 were called argonauts (because they sought the golden fleece) by those who stayed home.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

argonauts in Culture



In classical mythology, the companions of Jason in the quest for the Golden Fleece. Their ship was the Argo.


Naut means “sailor” in Greek and is the root of our word nautical. Today, the word is used to coin terms such as astronaut and aquanaut.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.