AskDefine | Define adventurer

Dictionary Definition



1 a person who enjoys taking risks [syn: venturer]
2 someone who travels into little known regions (especially for some scientific purpose) [syn: explorer]

User Contributed Dictionary



Compare French aventurier.


  • a WEAE: /ædˈvɛn.tʃɚ.ɚ/


  1. One who adventures; as, the merchant adventurers; one who seeks his fortune in new and hazardous or perilous enterprises.
  2. A social pretender on the lookout for advancement.


one who adventures; as, the merchant adventurers
  • Czech: dobrodruh
  • German: Abenteurer
social pretender on the lookout for advancement
  • German: Thronbewerber
  • Hungarian: kalandor

Extensive Definition

An adventurer or adventuress is a term that usually takes one of three meanings:
  • One whose travels are unusual and often exotic, though not so unique as to qualify as exploration.
  • One who lives by their wits.
  • One who takes part in a risky or speculative course of action for profit or position.
In fiction, the adventurer figure or Picaro may be regarded as a descendant of the knight-errant of Medieval romance. Like the knight, the adventurer roams through episodic encounters, usually involving wealth, romance, or fighting. Unlike the knight, the adventurer was a realistic figure, often lower class or otherwise impoverished, who is forced to make his way to fortune, often by deceit. The picaresque novel originated in Spain in the middle of the fifteenth century. Novels such as Lazarillo de Tormes were influential across Europe. Throughout the eighteenth century, a great number of novels featured bold, amoral, adventuring protagonists, who made their way into wealth and happiness, sometimes with and sometimes without the moral conversion that generally accompanies the Spanish model. Under Victorian morality the term, used without qualifiers, came to imply a person of low moral character, often someone trying to marry for money (Lord Barkis Bitteren of the movie Corpse Bride is such a character).
In comic book handbooks such as Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, the term "adventurer" is used as a synonym for "super-hero" when listing a character's occupation.
In role-playing games, the player characters are often professional adventurers, who earn wealth and fame by adventure, such as undertaking hazardous missions, exploring ruins, and slaying monsters. This stereotype is strong enough that the adventurers can often be used as a synonym for the player characters. However non-player character groups of adventurers can also exist, and can be an interesting encounter for the players.
See also: adventure.

List of adventurers

Historical adventurers

Modern adventurers

Fictional adventurers


adventurer in Danish: Eventyrer
adventurer in German: Abenteuer
adventurer in Japanese: 冒険者
adventurer in Slovenian: Avanturist
adventurer in Swedish: Äventyrsspel
adventurer in Chinese: 冒險者

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adventuress, alpinist, astronaut, betting ring, bettor, big operator, boneshaker, bounder, bourgeois gentilhomme, brazenface, cad, camper, cardshark, cardsharp, cardsharper, charlatan, cheat, climber, comers and goers, commuter, compulsive gambler, condottiere, cosmopolite, crap shooter, cruiser, daredevil, devil, excursionist, explorer, fare, fire-eater, free lance, gambler, gamester, globe-girdler, globe-trotter, goer, gun, gunman, gunslinger, hajji, harum-scarum, hazarder, hellcat, hero, heroine, hired gun, hired killer, hireling, hotspur, jet set, jet-setter, journeyer, knave, lame duck, madbrain, madcap, margin purchaser, mariner, mercenary, mountaineer, name-dropper, newly-rich, nouveau riche, nouveau roturier, operator, opportunist, palmer, parvenu, passenger, passerby, pathfinder, petty gambler, philanderer, pig in clover, piker, pilgrim, pioneer, player, plunger, professional killer, punter, rantipole, rogue, rubberneck, rubbernecker, sailor, scalper, scoundrel, sharp, sharper, sharpie, sightseer, smart operator, social climber, soldier of fortune, speculator, sport, sporting man, sportsman, sprout, stag, status seeker, straphanger, swashbuckler, swindler, tinhorn, tipster, tourer, tourist, tout, trailblazer, trailbreaker, transient, traveler, trekker, trickster, tripper, tufthunter, upstart, venturer, viator, visiting fireman, voortrekker, voyager, voyageur, wagerer, wayfarer, wild man, world-traveler, would-be gentleman
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