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[buhk-uh-neer] /ˌbʌk əˈnɪər/
any of the piratical adventurers who raided Spanish colonies and ships along the American coast in the second half of the 17th century.
any pirate.
Origin of buccaneer
1655-65; < French boucanier, literally, barbecuer, equivalent to boucan barbecue (< Tupi, variant of mukém) + -ier -eer
Related forms
buccaneerish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for buccaneer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A pretty thing if we were snapped up by a buccaneer and sold in the Plantations!'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It was a fame such as no buccaneer—not even Morgan—has ever boasted, before or since.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • With these he thought he could keep the buccaneer contingent in order and submissive.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • My buccaneer transforms himself, under my very eyes, into an alderman!

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • Drake was a very great sailor, but he was undoubtedly a buccaneer.

  • In them were a score of snares for the buccaneer with money in his pocket and dope in his blood.

    The Affair of the Brains Anthony Gilmore
  • They had always felt sorry for the unfortunate wife of the buccaneer.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
British Dictionary definitions for buccaneer


a pirate, esp one who preyed on the Spanish colonies and shipping in America and the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries
verb (intransitive)
to be or act like a buccaneer
Word Origin
C17: from French boucanier, from boucaner to smoke meat, from Old French boucan frame for smoking meat, of Tupian origin; originally applied to French and English hunters of wild oxen in the Caribbean
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for buccaneer

1660s, from French boucanier "user of a boucan," a native grill for roasting meat, from Tupi mukem (rendered in Portuguese as moquem c.1587): "initial b and m are interchangeable in the Tupi language" [Klein]. For Haitian variant barbacoa, see barbecue. Originally used of French settlers working as hunters and woodsmen in the Spanish West Indies, a lawless and piratical set after they were driven from their trade by Spanish authorities in the 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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