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pathfinder

[path-fahyn-der, pahth‐] /ˈpæθˌfaɪn dər, ˈpɑθ‐/
noun
1.
a person who finds or makes a path, way, route, etc., especially through a previously unexplored or untraveled wilderness.
2.
an airplane, or a person dropped from a plane, sent into a target area to illuminate the area for succeeding aircraft.
3.
a radar beacon beamed into a target area to provide guidance for missiles seeking the target.
4.
(initial capital letter) an unmanned spacecraft that landed on Mars on July 4, 1997, to obtain climatic and geologic data.
Origin of pathfinder
1830-1840
1830-40, Americanism; path + finder
Related forms
pathfinding, noun, adjective

Pathfinder, The

noun
1.
a historical novel (1840) by James Fenimore Cooper.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pathfinder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The pathfinder gave a significant glance at Jasper, and he clinched his teeth in order to suppress the sound of his own breathing.

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
  • It had been arranged that Elmer was to act as pathfinder and tracker.

    Pathfinder Alan Douglas
  • How, pathfinder, can you remember all these trifles so accurately?

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
  • So you see, to begin with, our pathfinder tells us the enemy ahead are three in number.

    Pathfinder Alan Douglas
  • "That was the Sarpent's voice," said pathfinder, as soon as the second piece was discharged.

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
  • Besides this, they must read the messages left occasionally by their pathfinder.

    Pathfinder Alan Douglas
  • Fremont acquired the name of the "pathfinder" because of his exploring expeditions in the far West.

    The Greater Republic Charles Morris
  • He was "the pathfinder," and second only to Daniel Boone as a frontier hero.

    Abraham Lincoln William Eleroy Curtis
  • Here he was met by the pathfinder, who was standing near Mabel and the Quartermaster.

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for pathfinder

pathfinder

/ˈpɑːθˌfaɪndə/
noun
1.
a person who makes or finds a way, esp through unexplored areas or fields of knowledge
2.
an aircraft or parachutist who indicates a target area by dropping flares, etc
3.
a radar device used for navigation or homing onto a target
Derived Forms
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
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Word Origin and History for pathfinder
n.

1839 (Cooper), from path + finder.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pathfinder in Medicine

pathfinder path·find·er (pāth'fīn'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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