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pathfinder

[ path-fahyn-der, pahth‐ ]
/ ˈpæθˌfaɪn dər, ˈpɑθ‐ /
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noun
a person who finds or makes a path, way, route, etc., especially through a previously unexplored or untraveled wilderness.
an airplane, or a person dropped from a plane, sent into a target area to illuminate the area for succeeding aircraft.
a radar beacon beamed into a target area to provide guidance for missiles seeking the target.
(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

OTHER WORDS FROM pathfinder

pathfinding, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use pathfinder in a sentence

  • Wonderful as they were, with their pathfinding and all that, they could hardly penetrate to his humble, sequestered little home.

    Pee-wee Harris on the Trail|Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • The trouble began when Smith was pathfinding on the upper Athabasca for the new transcontinental.

    The Last Spike|Cy Warman
  • Fremont's "pathfinding" virtually completed the exploration of the country.

    American Men of Action|Burton E. Stevenson

British Dictionary definitions for pathfinder

pathfinder
/ (ˈpɑːθˌfaɪndə) /

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

Derived forms of pathfinder

pathfinding, 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

Medical definitions for pathfinder

pathfinder
[ păthfīn′dər ]

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