pilgrim

[pil-grim, -gruh m]
noun
  1. a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion: pilgrims to the Holy Land.
  2. a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.
  3. an original settler in a region.
  4. (initial capital letter) one of the band of Puritans who founded the colony of Plymouth, Mass., in 1620.
  5. 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. 2018

Related Words for pilgrims

traveler, settler, crusader, wanderer, pioneer, sojourner

Examples from the Web for pilgrims

Contemporary Examples of pilgrims

Historical Examples of pilgrims


British Dictionary definitions for pilgrims

pilgrim

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

Word Origin for pilgrim

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

Pilgrim

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 pilgrims

pilgrim

n.

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

pilgrims in Culture

Pilgrims

A group of English Puritans, persecuted in their own country, who emigrated to America. The first group arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. They landed at Plymouth Rock, in what is now Massachusetts, and established the Plymouth Colony, with the Mayflower Compact as their constitution. William Bradford and Miles Standish were noted leaders of the colony.

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.