[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for forty-niners

British Dictionary definitions for forty-niners



(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

Culture definitions for forty-niners


Those who flocked to California in 1849 in search of gold, which had been discovered there in 1848. Reportedly, there were about eighty thousand of them.

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.