pirate


pirate
pirate, freebooter, buccaneer, privateer, corsair basically mean one who sails in search of plunder.
Pirate suggests a person or a ship or its crew that without a commission from an established civilized state cruises about in quest of ships to plunder. Since pirate in this sense is seldom used of contemporary life, the word has been extended to name one who wanders over a wide territory in search of plunder
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a band of 400 desert pirates ... raided the bazaar section and fled back across the river with their loot— Time

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or one who infringes upon a right legally restricted to another
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English books published by American pirates

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pirates of wavelengths in radio

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or one known for predatory business practices
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now my grandfather there who made the money . . . was a hard-boiled man of business. From your point of view he was a pirateEdmund Wilson

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Freebooter often suggests a maritime plunderer who pursues his occupation without the excuse that his country is at war and then differs from pirate only in its connotations of membership in a less closely organized band and of use of less violent methods
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English freebooters who made life merry hell on the high seas for Spanish galleons waddling home from the Americas heavy-laden with gold— Dodge

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In extended use freebooter is often applied to one who seizes rights, privileges, and property on a large scale without regard to the restraints of law or of order
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many empire builders have been mere freebooters

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an era of comparably good feeling and incomparably good pickings. He took things easy, and his fellow freebooters took almost everything easily— Hodding Carter

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Buccaneer, primarily applied to early French residents of Haiti, is more generally used of these people and others who preyed, sometimes with the tacit consent of their own governments, on Spanish ships and settlements in the New World
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in the reign of Charles II, the buccaneers of the West Indian Islands were in the heyday of their romantic glory, as the unofficial maintainers of England's quarrels along the Spanish Main— Trevelyan

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The term is often extended to an unscrupulous adventurer (as in business or politics); in such use it need not be wholly disparaging but does regularly imply disregard of the rules observed by ordinary men
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one of the great building enterprises of the famous buccaneer out of which he is reputed to have made many millions— Strunsky

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there still exist outright buccaneers, men who will steal anything that isn't tied down— Sat. Review

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Privateer and corsair primarily apply to a ship privately owned but commissioned by its government (as in the 17th and 18th centuries) to prey upon other ships, usually those of an enemy, but in practice either term may designate a ship, its commander, or one of its crew. Corsair is applied chiefly to a ship, a commander, or a sailor of North African origin. Neither term has extensive extended use, but when so used they are quite distinct: privateer then applies to one doing in a private capacity what would normally be undertaken by a public official
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illegal [wire] taps by law enforcers and privateers continued unprosecuted— Westin

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but corsair attributes fury and rapacious cruelty to the one so-called
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corsairs among the reptiles— Swinton^

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had lately attacked, in corsair fashion, the Greek philosophers and had disembowelled Plato, Aristotle, and the rest of them, to his complete satisfaction— Norman Douglas

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pirate — [ pirat ] n. m. • 1213; lat. pirata, gr. peiratês 1 ♦ Anciennt Aventurier qui courait les mers pour piller les navires de commerce. ⇒ boucanier, corsaire, écumeur, flibustier, forban. « purger les mers des pirates qui les infestaient » (Bossuet) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • pirate — pi‧rate [ˈpaɪərət ǁ ˈpaɪrət] noun [countable] LAW 1. a person or organization that dishonestly copies and sells films, tapes etc for which the copyright (= legal ownership) belongs to others: • Manufacturers fear that the city may emerge as a new …   Financial and business terms

  • pirate — pi·rate 1 / pī rət/ n: a person who commits piracy pirate 2 vb pi·rat·ed, pi·rat·ing vt: to take or appropriate by piracy; esp: to copy, distribute, or use without authorization esp. in infringement of copyright the pirated software piratin …   Law dictionary

  • Pirate — Pi rate, n. [L. pirata, Gr. ?, fr. ? to attempt, undertake, from making attempts or attacks on ships, ? an attempt, trial; akin to E. peril: cf. F. pirate. See {Peril}.] 1. A robber on the high seas; one who by open violence takes the property of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pirate TV — was a show on MTV that premiered January 26, 1990. Set on a boat that beamed illegal television signals, Pirate TV consisted of skits and parodies of commercials and television programs, including Rastapiece Theater , a takeoff of Masterpiece… …   Wikipedia

  • pirate — (n.) mid 13c., from O.Fr. pirate, from L. pirata sailor, sea robber, from Gk. peirates brigand, pirate, lit. one who attacks, from peiran to attack, make a hostile attempt on, try, from peira trial, an attempt, attack, from PIE root *per try (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • pirate — ► NOUN 1) a person who attacks and robs ships at sea. 2) (before another noun ) denoting a text, film, recording, etc. that has been reproduced and used for profit without permission: pirate videos. 3) (before another noun ) denoting an… …   English terms dictionary

  • Pirate — Pi rate, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Pirated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Pirating}.] [Cf. F. pirater.] To play the pirate; to practice robbery on the high seas. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pirate — Pi rate, v. t. To publish, as books or writings, without the permission of the author. [1913 Webster] They advertised they would pirate his edition. Pope. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pirate — Pirate, m. p. Est un mot pur Grec, mais nous n escrivons et ne prononçons la diphtongue Grecque {{t=g}}éi,{{/t}} que par i. ce qui monstre l erreur de ceux qui l escrivent par y. et signifie celuy qui va flottant sur la mer pour essayer son… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse


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