An explorer is a person who sets out to discover something by going somewhere unfamiliar. You might think Marco Polo is just a game to play in the pool, but Marco Polo was actually a famous explorer in the 13th century.

In ancient Greece, the explorer Pytheas travelled to what is now Great Britain and Germany, and the Chinese explorer Wang Dayuan explored the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea in the second century BCE. More recently, explorers have voyaged to the moon and outer space. Before the late seventeenth century, this kind of adventurer was called an exploratour, from the Latin root explorare, "examine or investigate."

Definitions of explorer

n someone who travels into little-known regions (especially for some scientific purpose)

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Roald Amundsen
Norwegian explorer who was the first to traverse the Northwest Passage and in 1911 the first to reach the South Pole (1872-1928)
Robert Abram Bartlett
United States explorer who accompanied Peary's expedition to the North Pole and who led many other Arctic trips (1875-1946)
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
French explorer who circumnavigated the globe accompanied by scientists (1729-1811)
Sir Richard Francis Burton
English explorer who with John Speke was the first European to explore Lake Tanganyika (1821-1890)
Richard Evelyn Byrd
explorer and United States naval officer; led expeditions to explore Antarctica (1888-1957)
Sebastian Cabot
son of John Cabot who was born in Italy and who led an English expedition in search of the Northwest Passage and a Spanish expedition that explored the La Plata region of Brazil; in 1544 he published a map of the world (1476-1557)
Samuel de Champlain
French explorer in Nova Scotia who established a settlement on the site of modern Quebec (1567-1635)
William Clark
United States explorer who (with Meriwether Lewis) led an expedition from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River; Clark was responsible for making maps of the area (1770-1838)
Francisco Fernandez de Cordova
Spanish explorer who discovered Yucatan (1475-1526)
Jacques Yves Costeau
French underwater explorer (born in 1910)
Sir Matthew Flinders
British explorer who mapped the Australian coast (1774-1814)
John Charles Fremont
United States explorer who mapped much of the American west and Northwest (1813-1890)
Sir Martin Frobisher
English explorer who led an expedition in search of the Northwest Passage to the orient; served under Drake and helped defeat the Spanish Armada (1535-1594)
Charles Francis Hall
United States explorer who led three expeditions to the Arctic (1821-1871)
Louis Jolliet
French explorer (with Jacques Marquette) of the upper Mississippi River valley (1645-1700)
Rene-Robert Cavelier
French explorer who claimed Louisiana for France (1643-1687)
Meriwether Lewis
United States explorer and soldier who lead led an expedition from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River (1774-1809)
David Livingstone
Scottish missionary and explorer who discovered the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls (1813-1873)
Sir Alexander Mackenzie
Canadian explorer (born in England) who explored the Mackenzie River and who was first to cross North America by land north of Mexico (1764-1820)
Fridtjof Nansen
Norwegian explorer of the Arctic and director of the League of Nations relief program for refugees of World War I (1861-1930)
Mungo Park
Scottish explorer in Africa (1771-1806)
Robert Edwin Peary
United States Arctic explorer and United States naval officer who has been regarded as the first man to reach the North Pole (1856-1920)
Kund Johan Victor Rasmussen
Danish ethnologist and Arctic explorer; led expeditions into the Arctic to find support for his theory that Eskimos and North American Indians originally migrated from Asia (1879-1933)
Sir James Clark Ross
British explorer of the Arctic and Antarctic; located the north magnetic pole in 1831; discovered the Ross Sea in Antarctica; nephew of Sir John Ross (1800-1862)
Sir John Ross
Scottish explorer who led Arctic expeditions that yielded geographic discoveries while searching for the Northwest Passage (1777-1856)
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
United States geologist and ethnologist and explorer who discovered the source of the Mississippi River (1793-1864)
Robert Falcon Scott
English explorer who reached the South Pole just a month after Amundsen; he and his party died on the return journey (1868-1912)
Captain John Smith
English explorer who helped found the colony at Jamestown, Virginia; was said to have been saved by Pocahontas (1580-1631)
John Hanning Speke
English explorer who with Sir Richard Burton was the first European to explore Lake Tanganyika; he also discovered Lake Victoria and named it (1827-1864)
Sir Henry Morton Stanley
Welsh journalist and explorer who led an expedition to Africa in search of David Livingstone and found him in Tanzania in 1871; he and Livingstone together tried to find the source of the Nile River (1841-1904)
Otto Neumann Sverdrup
Norwegian explorer who led expeditions into the Arctic (1855-1930)
Sebastian Vizcaino
Spanish explorer who was the first European to explore the California coast (1550-1615)
Charles Wilkes
United States explorer of Antarctica (1798-1877)
George Hubert Wilkins
Australian who was the first to explore the Arctic by airplane (1888-1958)
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an adventurer (especially one who led the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Peru in the 16th century)
diver, frogman, underwater diver
someone who works underwater
in earlier times, a person who explored by ship
potholer, spelaeologist, speleologist, spelunker
a person who explores caves
deep-sea diver
a diver in the deeper parts of the sea
pearl diver, pearler
a diver who searches for molluscs containing pearls
scuba diver
an underwater diver who uses scuba gear
Juan Ponce de Leon, Ponce de Leon
Spanish explorer who accompanied Columbus on his second trip in 1493; in 1513 he discovered Florida while searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth (1460-1521)
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

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