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corsair

[kawr-sair]
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noun
  1. a fast ship used for piracy.
  2. a pirate, especially formerly of the Barbary Coast.
  3. (initial capital letter) Military. a gull-winged, propeller-driven fighter plane built for the U.S. Navy in World War II and kept in service into the early 1950s.
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Origin of corsair

1540–50; < Middle French corsaire < Provençal corsar(i) < Upper Italian corsaro < Medieval Latin cursārius, equivalent to Latin curs(us) course + -ārius -ary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for corsair

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He considered the corsair a moment with his sunken smouldering eyes.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Yusuf was standing at the corsair leader's elbow speaking rapidly.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • "Pay him, Ali," said the corsair shortly, and he advanced to receive his purchase.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • "I have lived too little with women to be able to give thee an answer," said the corsair.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • He was just, and he had a conscience, as odd a thing as it was awkward in a corsair Basha.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for corsair

corsair

noun
  1. a pirate
  2. a privateer, esp of the Barbary Coast
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French corsaire pirate, from Medieval Latin cursārius, from Latin cursus a running, course
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

Word Origin and History for corsair

n.

1540s, from Middle French corsaire (15c.), from Provençal cursar, Italian corsaro, from Medieval Latin cursarius "pirate," from Latin cursus "course, a running," from currere "to run" (see current (adj.)). Meaning of the Medieval Latin verb evolved from "course" to "journey" to "expedition" to an expedition specifically for plunder.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper