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See also: Rover, rôver, and røver



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Etymology 1Edit

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


Mars rover
(Image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

rover (plural rovers)

  1. (archery, usually in the plural) A randomly selected target.
    1890 "By my hilt! no. There was little Robby Withstaff, and Andrew Salblaster, and Wat Alspaye, who broke the neck of the German. Mon Dieu! what men they were! Take them how you would, at long butts or short, hoyles, rounds, or rovers, better bowmen never twirled a shaft over their thumb-nails." — Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company, Chapter 22.
  2. One who roves, a wanderer, a nomad.
    1846 But these islands, undisturbed for years, relapsed into their previous obscurity; and it is only recently that anything has been known concerning them. Once in the course of a half century, to be sure, some adventurous rover would break in upon their peaceful repose. and astonished at the unusual scene, would be almost tempted to claim the merit of a new discovery. — Herman Melville, Typee, Chapter 1.
    • 1902, John Masefield, Sea Fever
      I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
      To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
      And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
      And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
  3. A vagabond, a tramp, an unsteady, restless person, one who by habit doesn't settle down or marry.
    She is a rover and dislikes any sort of ties, physical or emotional.
    1954 Give him the word, that I'm not a rover, and tell him that his lonely days are over. Mr. Sandman, song by Pat Ballard, recorded by the Chordettes
  4. A vehicle for exploring extraterrestrial bodies.
    The Mars Exploration Rovers will act as robot geologists while they are on the surface of Mars. NASA site.
  5. (Australian Rules football) A position that is 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').
  6. (American football) A defensive back position whose coverage responsibilities are a hybrid of those of a cornerback, safety and linebacker.
    • 2011, Frank Beamer, Always a Hokie: Players, Coaches, and Fans Share Their Passion for Virginia Tech Football[1]:
      I went to Coach Beamer and, because we had a lot of outside linebackers, ask him if I could play rover.
  7. (croquet) 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.
  8. (baseball) The tenth defensive player in slow-pitch softball.
  9. (obsolete) A sort of arrow.
    • Ben Jonson
      All sorts, flights, rovers, and butt shafts.

Etymology 2Edit

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


rover (plural rovers)

  1. A pirate or pirate ship.
    1719 The first was this: our ship making her course towards the Canary Islands, or rather between those islands and the African shore, was surprised in the grey of the morning by a Turkish rover of Sallee, who gave chase to us with all the sail she could make. — Daniel Defoe, Robinnson Crusoe, Chapter 2.
    • Holland
      Yet Pompey the Great deserveth honour more justly for scouring the seas, and taking from the rovers 846 sail of ships.



From roven +‎ -er.


  • (file)


rover m (plural rovers, diminutive rovertje n)

  1. robber

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


Old FrenchEdit

Alternative formsEdit


First known attestation 881 in The Sequence of Saint Eulalia. From Latin rogāre, present active infinitive of rogō.



  1. to order (give an order)


This verb conjugates as a first-group verb ending in -er. The forms that would normally end in *-v, *-vs, *-vt are modified to f, s, t. This verb has a stressed present stem ruev distinct from the unstressed stem rov, as well as other irregularities. Old French conjugation varies significantly by date and by region. The following conjugation should be treated as a guide.

Related termsEdit