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[free-boo-ter] /ˈfriˌbu tər/
a person who goes about in search of plunder; pirate; buccaneer.
Origin of freebooter
1560-70; Anglicization of Dutch vrijbuiter, equivalent to vrij free + buit booty1 + -er -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for freebooter
Historical Examples
  • It was nothing—only the quip of a witty fellow, descendant of a Spanish freebooter.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Nor was the freebooter's conversation more in accord with his surroundings.

    Red Cap Tales Samuel Rutherford Crockett
  • True, the law said it was his, but the law did not mean to reward the freebooter; yet that is exactly what it did.

    Cavanagh: Forest Ranger Hamlin Garland
  • He was a freebooter with most of the virtues and vices of his kind.

    Laramie Holds the Range

    Frank H. Spearman
  • He had the Viking spirit, and he burnt with a freebooter's passion for the sea.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • "Let us enter," said the freebooter, preceding his companions.

    The Bee Hunters Gustave Aimard
  • They thought that his purpose was merely that of a freebooter.

    By-Ways of War

    James Jeffrey Roche
  • She was riding away with a freebooter, a road-agent, to be held for ransom.

    The Border Legion Zane Grey
  • They entertained the freebooter, and like him have long since mouldered to ashes.

    The Little Lady of Lagunitas Richard Henry Savage
  • The taxpayer in him was stronger than the freebooter, after all.

British Dictionary definitions for freebooter


a person, such as a pirate, living from plunder
(informal) a person, esp an itinerant, who seeks pleasure, wealth, etc, without responsibility
Word Origin
C16: from Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrijbuit booty; see filibuster
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 freebooter

1560s, loan-translation of Dutch vrijbuiter "plunderer, robber," from vrijbuiten "to rob, plunder," from vrijbuit "plunder," literally "free booty," from vrij "free" + buit "booty," from buiten "to exchange or plunder," from Middle Dutch buten, related to Middle Low German bute "exchange" (see booty). Cf. filibuster. The back-formed verb freeboot is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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