from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that roves; a wanderer.
  • n. A crewed or uncrewed vehicle, used especially in exploring the terrain of a planet and its satellites.
  • n. Sports A mark in archery selected by chance.
  • n. A pirate.
  • n. A pirate vessel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A randomly selected target.
  • n. One who roves.
  • n. A vehicle for exploring extraterrestrial bodies.
  • n. Position in Australian Rules football, one of three of a team's followers, who follow the ball around the ground. Formerly a position for short players, rovers in professional leagues are frequently over 183 cm (6').
  • n. A pirate or pirate ship.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who practices robbery on the seas; a pirate.
  • n. One who wanders about by sea or land; a wanderer; a rambler.
  • n. Hence, a fickle, inconstant person.
  • n. A ball which has passed through all the hoops and would go out if it hit the stake but is continued in play; also, the player of such a ball.
  • n.
  • n. Casual marks at uncertain distances.
  • n. A sort of arrow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shoot at rovers; shoot arrows at other marks than the butt; shoot for height or distance.
  • n. A robber, especially a sea-robber; a freebooter; a pirate; a forager.
  • n. One who roves; a wanderer; one who rambles about, or goes at random from point to point.
  • n. Hence A fickle or inconstant person.
  • n. In archery: A person shooting at a mark with a longbow and arrow, or shooting merely for distance, the position of the archer being shifted with every shot, and not confined to a staked-out ground. The flight-arrow was used by the rover.
  • n. An arrow used by a rover. See flight-arrow.
  • n. An irregular or uncertain point to be aimed at; also, a mark at an uncertain or indefinite distance.
  • n. In architecture, any member, as a molding, that follows the line of a curve.
  • n. In croquet: A ball that has gone through all the hoops, and 330 only needs to strike the winning-stake to be out of the game.
  • n. A player whose ball is in the above condition.
  • n. To shoot at random, or without any particular aim.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who leads a wandering unsettled life
  • n. an adult member of the Boy Scouts movement


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, robber, from roven, to rob; see reup- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English roven ("to wander, to shoot an arrow randomly")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle Dutch, roven, to rob. Cognate with Danish and Norwegian røver ("robber, thief, highwayman, brigand"), Swedish rövare



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  • Woods pigs were called razorbacks, painters, rovers, thistle-diggers, prairie sharks, land sharks, land pikes, wind-splitters, <b>hazel-spliters</b>, sapling-splitters, rail-splitters, stump suckers, elm peelers, piney woods rooters, and—puzzlingly, but perhaps because they were so hard to get a grip on—cucumber seeds.
    Mark Essig, Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig (New York: Basic Books, 2015), ch. 11.

    May 9, 2016