There are 2 main definitions of pioneer in English:


Syllabification: pi·o·neer
Pronunciation: /ˌpīəˈnir


1A person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.
More example sentences
  • The decision came a month before the start of the Winter Olympics in Utah and can be expected to put the spotlight on plural marriages that once thrived among Mormon pioneers who settled here.
  • Those astronauts who died were explorers, pioneers and the last of the frontiersmen.
  • What if the pioneers had settled America from west to east - from California toward the Atlantic - instead of the other way around?
settler, colonist, colonizer, frontiersman, frontierswoman, explorer, trailblazer, bushwhacker
1.1A person who is among the first to research and develop a new area of knowledge or activity: a famous pioneer of birth control
More example sentences
  • Anaesthesiologists have been pioneers in developing and applying patient simulators for research and training.
  • Dr. Goldson was a pioneer in developing cancer-fighting treatments.
  • Born in Hungary in 1879, Rudolph Laban was a pioneer in developing the academic and scientific aspects of dance.
developer, innovator, trailblazer, groundbreaker, spearhead;
founder, founding father, architect, creator
1.2(In the former Soviet Union and other communist countries) a member of a movement for children below the age of sixteen that aimed to foster communist ideals.
More example sentences
  • The Pioneer movement was in fact, if not officially, controlled by the Communist Party.
  • Pioneers swear in fidelity to the Communist Party and Lenin.
  • In the preparation of Pioneers for the construction of communism and the defense of the socialist homeland the military games occupy a relevant place
1.3A member of an infantry group preparing roads or terrain for the main body of troops.
More example sentences
  • First and foremost, assault pioneers are infantrymen.
  • The idea of combining different arms was not new but for the sappers and the pioneers there were significant lessons learned throughout the deployment as a joint group.
  • Artilleryman, medics, pioneers and mortarmen, were all needed and eager Diggers stepped forward to fill the ranks.


[with object] Back to top  
1Develop or be the first to use or apply (a new method, area of knowledge, or activity): he has pioneered a number of innovative techniques
More example sentences
  • Mr Budge said he would overcome the geological problems with so-called retreat mining, a technique successfully pioneered at Selby.
  • Against opposition from Technicolor labs, Cardiff also successfully pioneered the use of fog filters on Black Narcissus.
  • The superbly organized anti-slavery committee also pioneered several techniques used ever since.
introduce, develop, evolve, launch, instigate, initiate, spearhead, institute, establish, found, be the father/mother of, originate, set in motion, create;
lay the groundwork, prepare the way, blaze a trail, break new ground
1.1Open up (a road or terrain) as a pioneer.
More example sentences
  • It was like pioneering new territory; you never knew what you would find.
  • It was pioneered by men of capital and education who were disciples of Henry George and provided their own funds.


early 16th century (as a military term denoting a member of the infantry): from French pionnier 'foot soldier, pioneer', Old French paonier, from paon, from Latin pedo, pedon- (see pawn1).

Definition of pioneer in: