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[pahy-ruh-see] /ˈpaɪ rə si/
noun, plural piracies.
practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea.
the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.:
The record industry is beset with piracy.
Also called stream capture. Geology. diversion of the upper part of one stream by the headward growth of another.
Origin of piracy
1545-55; earlier pyracie < Medieval Latin pīrātīa < Late Greek peirāteía. See pirate, -acy
Related forms
antipiracy, noun, plural antipiracies, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for piracy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Tried for piracy, probably, and the execution of some, if not all of us.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Outlawry, piracy, smugglery, were all goals too small for such operations.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • I had thought to have done with piracy; thought to have done with it for ever.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Here is a great chance for you, since you declare yourself sick of piracy.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Go back to school, Sir John, to learn that abduction is not piracy.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for piracy


noun (pl) -cies
(Brit) robbery on the seas within admiralty jurisdiction
a felony, such as robbery or hijacking, committed aboard a ship or aircraft
the unauthorized use or appropriation of patented or copyrighted material, ideas, etc
Word Origin
C16: from Anglo-Latin pirātia, from Late Greek peirāteia; see pirate
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 piracy

early 15c., from Medieval Latin piratia, from Greek peirateia "piracy," from peirates (see pirate (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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