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[muh-roon] /məˈrun/
verb (used with object)
to put ashore and abandon on a desolate island or coast by way of punishment or the like, as was done by buccaneers.
to place in an isolated and often dangerous position:
The rising floodwaters marooned us on top of the house.
to abandon and leave without aid or resources:
Having lost all his money, he was marooned in the strange city.
(often initial capital letter) any of a group of blacks, descended from fugitive slaves of the 17th and 18th centuries, living in the West Indies and Guiana, especially in mountainous areas.
a person who is marooned:
Robinson Crusoe lived for years as a maroon.
Origin of maroon2
1660-70; < French mar(r)on, apparently < American Spanish cimarrón wild (see cimarron); first used in reference to domestic animals that escaped into the woods, later to fugitive slaves Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for marooned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Peter remembered the time Charlie was marooned in the Press Club.

    The Boy Grew Older Heywood Broun
  • We have not all dreamed of Treasure-Islands and marooned sailors.

    Visions and Revisions John Cowper Powys
  • He was Allan Hartley, a man of forty-three, marooned in his own thirteen-year-old body, thirty years back in his own past.

    Time and Time Again Henry Beam Piper
  • Dick is marooned on an island, recovers his yacht and foils the kidnappers.

  • They were much more likely to get marooned on the ridge pole of the barn while pursuing some of their adventures.

  • By barrack and camp life the normal civilian intellect is, as it were, marooned.

    Another Sheaf John Galsworthy
  • And with this message the marooned trio on the island had to be content.

  • Just as well, perhaps, but here I was, marooned upon an island!

British Dictionary definitions for marooned


verb (transitive)
to leave ashore and abandon, esp on an island
to isolate without resources
a descendant of a group of runaway slaves living in the remoter areas of the Caribbean or Guyana
(US & Canadian, informal) a person who has been marooned, esp on an island
Word Origin
C17 (applied to fugitive slaves): from American Spanish cimarrón wild, literally: dwelling on peaks, from Spanish cima summit


  1. a dark red to purplish-red colour
  2. (as adjective): a maroon carpet
an exploding firework, esp one used as a warning signal
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: chestnut, marron1
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 marooned



"very dark reddish-brown color," 1791, from French couleur marron, the color of a marron "chestnut," the large sweet chestnut of southern Europe (maroon in that sense was used in English from 1590s), from dialect of Lyons, ultimately from a word in a pre-Roman language, perhaps Ligurian; or from Greek maraon "sweet chestnut."


"put ashore on a desolate island or coast," 1724 (implied in marooning), earlier "to be lost in the wild" (1690s); from maron (n.) "fugitive black slave in the jungles of W.Indies and Dutch Guyana" (1660s), earlier symeron (1620s), from French marron, said to be a corruption of Spanish cimmaron "wild, untamed," from Old Spanish cimarra "thicket," probably from cima "summit, top" (from Latin cyma "sprout"), with a notion of living wild in the mountains. Related: Marooned.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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