A navigator is the person whose job it is to steer the ship. The navigator plans and charts the course and then points the boat in the right direction.

Use the noun navigator when you talk about someone who's in charge of planning a ship's route. Airplanes have navigators too, to direct the course they will take using maps and various instruments. A more old fashioned meaning of navigator is an ocean explorer. In fact, in Latin, navigator simply means "sailor," from navis, "ship," and agere, "drive."

Definitions of navigator
  1. noun
    the ship's officer in charge of navigation
    synonyms: sailing master
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    type of:
    officer, ship's officer
    a person authorized to serve in a position of authority on a vessel
  2. noun
    the member of an aircrew who is responsible for the aircraft's course
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    the navigator of a spacecraft
    type of:
    a member of an aircrew
  3. noun
    in earlier times, a person who explored by ship
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    show 19 examples...
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    Vasco Nunez de Balboa
    Spanish explorer who in 1513 crossed the Isthmus of Darien and became the first European to see the eastern shores of the Pacific Ocean (1475-1519)
    Vitus Behring
    Danish explorer who explored the northern Pacific Ocean for the Russians and discovered the Bering Strait (1681-1741)
    Giovanni Cabato
    Italian explorer who led the English expedition in 1497 that discovered the mainland of North America and explored the coast from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland (ca. 1450-1498)
    Jacques Cartier
    French explorer who explored the St. Lawrence river and laid claim to the region for France (1491-1557)
    Christopher Columbus
    Italian navigator who discovered the New World in the service of Spain while looking for a route to China (1451-1506)
    Captain James Cook
    English navigator who claimed the east coast of Australia for Britain and discovered several Pacific islands (1728-1779)
    Vasco da Gamma
    Portuguese navigator who led an expedition around the Cape of Good Hope in 1497; he sighted and named Natal on Christmas Day before crossing the Indian Ocean (1469-1524)
    John Davis
    English navigator who explored the Arctic while searching for the Northwest Passage (1550-1605)
    Bartholomeu Dias
    Portuguese explorer who in 1488 was the first European to get round the Cape of Good Hope (thus establishing a sea route from the Atlantic to Asia) (1450-1500)
    Sir Francis Drake
    English explorer and admiral who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe and who helped to defeat the Spanish Armada (1540-1596)
    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)
    Sir Humphrey Gilbert
    English navigator who in 1583 established in Newfoundland the first English colony in North America (1539-1583)
    Robert Gray
    American navigator who twice circumnavigated the globe and who discovered the Columbia River (1755-1806)
    Henry Hudson
    English navigator who discovered the Hudson River; in 1610 he attempted to winter in Hudson Bay but his crew mutinied and set him adrift to die (1565-1611)
    Ferdinand Magellan
    Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain; he commanded an expedition that was the first to circumnavigate the world (1480-1521)
    Abel Janszoon Tasman
    Dutch navigator who was the first European to discover Tasmania and New Zealand (1603-1659)
    George Vancouver
    English navigator remembered for his exploration of the Pacific coast of North America (1757-1798)
    Giovanni da Verrazzano
    Florentine navigator who explored the eastern coast of North America (circa 1485-1528)
    Americus Vespucius
    Florentine navigator who explored the coast of South America; America was named in his honor (1454-1512)
    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:
    adventurer, explorer
    someone who travels into little known regions (especially for some scientific purpose)
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