[ pahy-uh-neer ]
See synonyms for: pioneerpioneeredpioneeringpioneers on

  1. a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.

  2. a person, group, or thing that is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or development: a woman who was a pioneer in cancer research;vehicles that were pioneers of automotive engineering.

  1. one of a group of foot soldiers detailed to make roads, dig intrenchments, etc., in advance of the main body.

  2. Ecology. an organism that successfully establishes itself in a barren area, thus starting an ecological cycle of life.

  3. Pioneer, Aerospace. one of a series of U.S. space probes that explored the solar system and transmitted scientific information to earth.

  4. Pioneer, (formerly) a member of a Communist organization in the Soviet Union for children ranging in age from 10 to 16.: Compare Komsomol (def. 2), Octobrist.

verb (used without object)
  1. to act as a pioneer.

verb (used with object)
  1. to be the first to open or prepare (a way, settlement, etc.).

  2. to take part in the beginnings of; initiate: to pioneer an aid program.

  1. to lead the way for (a group); trailblaze.

  1. being the earliest, original, first of a particular kind, etc.: a pioneer method of adult education.

  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of pioneers: pioneer justice.

  1. being a pioneer: a pioneer fur trader.

Origin of pioneer

First recorded in 1515–25; from Middle French pionier, Old French peonier “foot soldier”; see origin at peon1, -eer

Other words for pioneer

Words Nearby pioneer Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pioneer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pioneer (1 of 3)


/ (ˌpaɪəˈnɪə) /

    • a colonist, explorer, or settler of a new land, region, etc

    • (as modifier): a pioneer wagon

  1. an innovator or developer of something new

  1. military a member of an infantry group that digs entrenchments, makes roads, etc

  2. ecology the first species of plant or animal to colonize an area of bare ground

  1. to be a pioneer (in or of)

  2. (tr) to initiate, prepare, or open up: to pioneer a medical programme

Origin of pioneer

C16: from Old French paonier infantryman, from paon pawn ²; see also peon 1

British Dictionary definitions for Pioneer (2 of 3)


/ (ˌpaɪəˈnɪə) /

  1. a total abstainer from alcoholic drink, esp a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, a society devoted to abstention

British Dictionary definitions for Pioneer (3 of 3)


/ (ˌpaɪəˈnɪə) /

  1. any of a series of US spacecraft that studied the solar system, esp Pioneer 10, which made the first flyby of Jupiter (1973), and Pioneer 11, which made the first flyby of Saturn (1979)

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