- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for forty-niners
"My father was one of the 'forty-niners,'" put in Jim, eagerly.The Boy With the U.S. Miners
I do not doubt they too were Forty-niners; but I did not stop.Gold
Min was exactly the type of girl to fit into the story of The 123 Forty-Niners.Ruth Fielding In the Saddle
Alice B. Emerson
These first comers were called the Forty-Niners, because most of them came in the year 1849.A Short History of the United States
Excuse this diversion, I must get back to my subject, the days of the forty-niners.The Adventures of a 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
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.