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pathfinder

[path-fahyn-der, pahth‐]
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noun
  1. a person who finds or makes a path, way, route, etc., especially through a previously unexplored or untraveled wilderness.
  2. an airplane, or a person dropped from a plane, sent into a target area to illuminate the area for succeeding aircraft.
  3. a radar beacon beamed into a target area to provide guidance for missiles seeking the target.
  4. (initial capital letter) an unmanned spacecraft that landed on Mars on July 4, 1997, to obtain climatic and geologic data.
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Origin of pathfinder

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40; path + finder
Related formspath·find·ing, noun, adjective

Pathfinder, The

noun
  1. a historical novel (1840) by James Fenimore Cooper.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pathfinder

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Besides this, they must read the messages left occasionally by their pathfinder.

    Pathfinder

    Alan Douglas

  • It had been arranged that Elmer was to act as pathfinder and tracker.

    Pathfinder

    Alan Douglas

  • So you see, to begin with, our pathfinder tells us the enemy ahead are three in number.

    Pathfinder

    Alan Douglas

  • Pathfinder showed off handsomely that day before the ladies.

    Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • He was "the Pathfinder," and second only to Daniel Boone as a frontier hero.

    Abraham Lincoln

    William Eleroy Curtis


British Dictionary definitions for pathfinder

pathfinder

noun
  1. a person who makes or finds a way, esp through unexplored areas or fields of knowledge
  2. an aircraft or parachutist who indicates a target area by dropping flares, etc
  3. a radar device used for navigation or homing onto a target
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Derived Formspathfinding, noun
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 pathfinder

n.

1839 (Cooper), from path + finder.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pathfinder in Medicine

pathfinder

(păthfīn′dər)
n.
  1. A filiform bougie for introduction through a narrow stricture as a guide for the passage of a larger instrument.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.