late 15c., "one who plays at games of chance," agent noun from adventure (v.). Meaning "one who undertakes commercial ventures" is from c. 1600. Meaning "one who seeks adventures" is from 1660s. Often in a bad sense, "seeker of fortune by rash or underhanded means;" hence adventurism (1843, in early 20c. a term in communist jargon). Fem. form adventuress attested by 1754.