PIONEER, properly a foot-soldier (Med. Lat. pedo, pedonis, through 0. Fr. peonnier, pionnier, cf. " pawn ") who with spade, axe and other implements, precedes an army or smaller military body, and clears or makes a road, digs intrenchments, prepares a camping ground, etc. The word is thus applied to all who, actually or figuratively, are first in exploring or working an undiscovered or undeveloped country or field of inquiry.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)