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mountain +‎ -eer


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌmaʊn.tɪnˈɪə̯(ɹ)/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌmaʊn.tɪnˈɪɹ/, [ˌmãʊ̯̃(n)ʔn̩ˈiəɹ], [ˌmæ̃ʊ̯̃(n)ʔn̩ˈiəɹ]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪə(ɹ)


mountaineer (plural mountaineers)

  1. A person who climbs mountains for sport or pleasure.
    Synonyms: alpinist, cragsman, mountain climber
    • 1795, Samuel Jackson Pratt, Gleanings through Wales, Holland and Westphalia, London: T. N. Longman and L. B. Seeley, Volume 1, Supplementary Letters, Letter 3, p. 408,[1]
      He first took me into Switzerland, and had he kept me there till now, amidst the scenery with which his pen and pencil brought me acquainted, I should have looked on myself as a very happy mountaineer, and him as a delightful guide!
    • 1885, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Hayloft” in A Child’s Garden of Verses, London: Longmans, Green, p. 48,[2]
      These green and sweetly smelling crops
      They led in waggons home;
      And they piled them here in mountain tops
      For mountaineers to roam.
    • 1925, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, New York: Modern Library, p. 223,[3]
      [] zigzagging precipices with mountaineers ascending roped together []
  2. (now rare) A person who lives in a mountainous area (often with the connotation that such people are outlaws or uncivilized).
    Synonyms: highlander, mountainer (obsolete)
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene 2,[4]
      This was my master,
      A very valiant Briton and a good,
      That here by mountaineers lies slain.
    • 1634, John Milton, Comus, London: Humphrey Robinson, 1637, p. 15,[5]
      No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaneer
      Will dare to soyle her virgin puritie
    • 1786, Richard Cumberland, The Observer, London: C. Dilly, Volume 1, No. 20, p. 184,[6]
      A mountaineer can tread firm upon a precipice and walk erect without tottering along the path, that winds itself about the craggy cliff, on which he has his dwelling; whilst the inhabitant of the valley travels with affright and danger over the giddy pass []
    • 1822, William Hazlitt, “On the Fear of Death” in Table-Talk, London: Henry Colburn, Volume 2, p. 388,[7]
      The mountaineer will not leave his rock, nor the savage his hut; neither are we willing to give up our present mode of life, with all its advantages and disadvantages, for any other that could be substituted for it.
    • 1969, Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, New York: Random House, 2002, Chapter 30, p. 228,[8]
      My formal Spanish must have sounded as pretentious to the ears of the paisano as “Whither goeth my sire?” would have sounded to a semi-literate Ozark mountaineer.
  3. (obsolete) An animal or plant that is native to a mountainous area.
    • 1786, George Culley, Observations on Live Stock, London: G. G. J. & J. Robinson, p. 92,[9]
      This hardy race [of sheep] differ from our other breeds, not only in their dark complection and horns, but principally in the long coarse shagged wool which grows upon these mountaineers.
    • 1863, Thomas Henry Huxley, Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature, London: Williams and Norgate, Chapter 1, pp. 26-27,[10]
      [] the Gibbons are true mountaineers, loving the slopes and edges of the hills, though they rarely ascend beyond the limit of the fig-trees.
    • 1892, Sutton and Sons, Reading, The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers, London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 5th edition, p. 217,[11]
      There really is no need of artificial heat, for the Auricula is a mountaineer, and can endure both frost and snow.



mountaineer (third-person singular simple present mountaineers, present participle mountaineering, simple past and past participle mountaineered)

  1. (intransitive) To climb mountains; to climb using the techniques of a mountaineer.
    • 1872, James Payn, Cecil’s Tryst, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, Chapter 23, p. 245,[12]
      [] they had returned in safety to Europe, and were now in Switzerland, where they were mountaineering with great vigour.
    • 1920, Geoffrey Winthrop Young (ed.), Mountain Craft, New York: Scribner, p. 345,[13]
      [] no one who has mountaineered or travelled much in uncharted ground with men of very divergent or very similar powers of sight or experience will be found to discredit [the] positive but entirely accidental possession [of a sense of direction].
    • 1951, Lord Tweedsmuir, Hudson’s Bay Trader, New York: Norton, Chapter 12, p. 170,[14]
      At the open water we bore to the westerly shore and started to mountaineer over the hummocks piled on the land.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To climb as if on a mountain.
    Synonyms: clamber, hike
    • 1903, E. M. Forster, “Alberto Empedocle” in The Life to Come, and Other Stories, Penguin, 1975, p. 47,[15]
      There is a well-made path, which makes a circuit over the mass [of ruins], and is amply sufficient for all rational tourists. Those who wish to see more have to go mountaineering over gigantic columns and pilasters, and squeeze their way through passes of cut stone.
    • 1940, Sylvia Townsend Warner, “The Castle of Carabas” in Barbara Silverberg (ed.), Kitten Caboodle: A Collection of Feline Fiction, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969, p. 124,[16]
      [] he sat up and shook his ears once or twice, and then sprang lightly off the window-sill and began to mountaineer about the contents of the garret.
    • 1990, Lindsey Davis, Shadows in Bronze, New York: Crown, Chapter 12, p. 90,[17]
      Petro’s approach to fatherhood was pretty calm; he carried on with whatever he wanted to do while his rumbustious tots mountaineered all over him.
    • 1996, Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Penguin, “August,” p. 173,[18]
      [] when I got there it had started and there were no seats left. Secretly relieved, I walked or rather mountaineered back to the flat []

Related terms[edit]