Is there a verb that combines the sense of explore as well as transforming that which you are exploring? For instance, if I want to describe an explorer who also changed the lands he visited, is there a way to combine that into a single word? The closest I can think of is 'plunder' or perhaps 'raid', but they have negative connotations, and imply taking what isn't yours. I want one that is morally neutral.

The word 'quarry' is close, but again implies taking things. But what I want is more general, that could apply to Johnny Appleseed (who made the world better), but also to a marauder who takes things.

  • I thought the whole point of exploration was transformation! And to misquote Heisenberg, to observe something is to change it.
    – user63230
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 23:05
  • @andy :) Think about a directory structure on your computer. You can explore it (click around the file structure) without changing it. But what is the word for clocking around to explore, and to change the different filenames and such?
    – neuronet
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:19

3 Answers 3


Probably pioneering may fit what you looking for:

  • ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle.
  • exploration, or settlement into a new land, region, etc
  • 1
    Good one! That might be it, I'll have to think on it, it seems so close to 'explore' versus 'transform' and I want the weights to be more equal between the two senses, if that makes sense. That said, pioneer reminds me of some others: 'bore' or 'dig' and synonyms may be even closer: thesaurus.com/browse/dig.
    – neuronet
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:05

From a religious point of view, the purpose of a mission or missionary activities is usually to both explore and proselytize at the same time. Famous example is Dr. Livingston in Africa.

  • Really good one...
    – neuronet
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:18

exploitation covers the second part when used it its positive sense. It might be weaker on the 'exploration' sense you want to get.

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