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privateer

[prahy-vuh-teer]
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noun
  1. an armed ship that is privately owned and manned, commissioned by a government to fight or harass enemy ships.
  2. privateersman.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to cruise as a privateer.
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Origin of privateer

1640–50; private + -eer, modeled on volunteer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for privateering

privateer

noun
  1. an armed, privately owned vessel commissioned for war service by a government
  2. Also called: privateersman a commander or member of the crew of a privateer
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verb
  1. a competitor, esp in motor racing, who is privately financed rather than sponsored by a manufacturer
  2. (intr) to serve as a privateer
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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 privateering

privateer

n.

1660s, "private man of war," from private (adj.), probably on model of volunteer, buccaneer.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper