[pil-grim, -gruh m]


a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion: pilgrims to the Holy Land.
a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.
an original settler in a region.
(initial capital letter) one of the band of Puritans who founded the colony of Plymouth, Mass., in 1620.
a newcomer to a region or place, especially to the western U.S.

Origin of pilgrim

1150–1200; Middle English pilegrim, pelegrim, cognate with Old Frisian pilegrīm, Middle Low German pelegrīm, Old High German piligrīm, Old Norse pīlagrīmr, all < Medieval Latin pelegrīnus, dissimilated variant of Latin peregrīnus peregrine
Related formspil·gri·mat·ic, pil·gri·mat·i·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pilgrim

Contemporary Examples of pilgrim

Historical Examples of pilgrim

  • Never did a pilgrim approach Niagara with deeper enthusiasm than mine.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • I suppose the Pilgrim and the Rake are contrasted with each other.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Why was Mr. Greatheart, in Pilgrim's Progress, my favorite character?

  • I only said that you are a pilgrim, a nobleman, and that I used to know you.

    Father Sergius

    Leo Tolstoy

  • In 'The Pilgrim's Progress' we are among genuine human beings.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for pilgrim



a person who undertakes a journey to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion
any wayfarer

Word Origin for pilgrim

C12: from Provençal pelegrin, from Latin peregrīnus foreign, from per through + ager field, land; see peregrine



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 pilgrim

c.1200, pilegrim, from Old French pelerin, peregrin "pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger" (11c., Modern French pèlerin), from Late Latin pelegrinus, dissimilated from Latin peregrinus "foreigner" (source of Italian pellegrino, Spanish peregrino), from peregre (adv.) "from abroad," from per- "beyond" + agri, locative case of ager "country" (see acre).

Change of first -r- to -l- in most Romance languages by dissimilation; the -m appears to be a Germanic modification. Pilgrim Fathers "English Puritans who founded Plymouth colony" is first found 1799 (they called themselves Pilgrims from c.1630, in reference to Hebrew xi:13).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper