From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From 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. (now rare) A person who lives in a mountainous area (often with the connotation that such people are outlaws or uncivilized). [from 16th c.]
    Synonyms: highlander, mountainer (obsolete)
    • 1611 April (first recorded performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Cymbeline”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene ii]:
      This was my master,
      A very valiant Briton and a good,
      That here by mountaineers lies slain.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], edited by H[enry] Lawes, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: [] [Comus], London: [] [Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, [], published 1637, →OCLC; reprinted as Comus: [] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, →OCLC, page 15:
      No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaneer
      Will dare to soyle her virgin puritie
    • 1786, Richard Cumberland, The Observer[1], volume 1, number 20, London: C. Dilly, page 184:
      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[2], volume 2, London: Henry Colburn, page 388:
      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, chapter 30, in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings[3], New York: Random House, published 2002, page 228:
      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.
  2. A person who climbs mountains for sport or pleasure. [from 19th c.]
    Synonyms: alpinist, cragsman, mountain climber
    • 1795, Samuel Jackson Pratt, edited by T. N. Longman and L. B. Seeley, Gleanings through Wales, Holland and Westphalia[4], volume 1, London, Supplementary Letters, Letter 3, page 408:
      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[5], London: Longmans, Green, page 48:
      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[6], New York: Modern Library, page 223:
      [] zigzagging precipices with mountaineers ascending roped together []
  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,[7]
      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, chapter 1, in Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature[8], London: Williams and Norgate, pages 26–27:
      [] 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,[9]
      There really is no need of artificial heat, for the Auricula is a mountaineer, and can endure both frost and snow.
  4. A bird of the genus Oreonympha; also called the bearded mountaineer or eastern mountaineer

Derived terms[edit]



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, chapter 23, in Cecil’s Tryst[10], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, page 245:
      [] they had returned in safety to Europe, and were now in Switzerland, where they were mountaineering with great vigour.
    • 1920, Geoffrey Winthrop Young, editor, Mountain Craft[11], New York: Scribner, page 345:
      [] 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, chapter 12, in Hudson’s Bay Trader,[12], New York: Norton, page 170:
      At the open water we bore to the westerly shore and started to mountaineer over the hummocks piled on the land.
  2. (intransitive, figurative) To climb as if on a mountain.
    Synonyms: clamber, hike
    • 1903, E. M. Forster, “Alberto Empedocle”, in The Life to Come, and Other Stories[13], Penguin, published 1975, page 47:
      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, editor, Kitten Caboodle: A Collection of Feline Fiction[14], New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, published 1969, page 124:
      [] 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, chapter 12, in Shadows in Bronze[15], New York: Crown, page 90:
      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, “August”, in Bridget Jones’s Diary[16], Penguin, page 173:
      [] 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]