(in Canada and the northern US) a woodsman or trader of French origin.
- ‘As one woman explains, ‘It conjures up images of coarse beaver skins being thrown about some coureur de bois' cabin.’’
- ‘The exploits of the early travellers by canoe, especially the French coureurs de bois, stand among the great adventure stories of all time.’
- ‘A veteran of many government-endorsed programs, I've also worked for a federal agency and highly enjoy those National Film Board shorts about Québecois coureurs de bois.’
- ‘In addition to the habitants, there were the coureurs de bois, traders who negotiated for furs with the Indians in the upper reaches of the Ottawa River and in the Great Lakes.’
- ‘Late in the 1690s, a bunch of coureurs de bois paddled to New Orleans along with a bunch of Jesuits.’
Early 18th century: French, literally wood runner.