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See more synonyms for buccaneer on Thesaurus.com
  1. any of the piratical adventurers who raided Spanish colonies and ships along the American coast in the second half of the 17th century.
  2. any pirate.
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Origin of buccaneer

1655–65; < French boucanier, literally, barbecuer, equivalent to boucan barbecue (< Tupi, variant of mukém) + -ier -eer
Related formsbuc·ca·neer·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for buccaneer

rover, corsair, pirate, viking, spoiler, freebooter

Examples from the Web for buccaneer

Contemporary Examples of buccaneer

Historical Examples of buccaneer

  • A pretty thing if we were snapped up by a buccaneer and sold in the Plantations!'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It was a fame such as no buccaneer—not even Morgan—has ever boasted, before or since.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • With these he thought he could keep the buccaneer contingent in order and submissive.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • My buccaneer transforms himself, under my very eyes, into an alderman!

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • Drake was a very great sailor, but he was undoubtedly a buccaneer.

British Dictionary definitions for buccaneer


  1. a pirate, esp one who preyed on the Spanish colonies and shipping in America and the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries
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verb (intr)
  1. to be or act like a buccaneer
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Word Origin for buccaneer

C17: from French boucanier, from boucaner to smoke meat, from Old French boucan frame for smoking meat, of Tupian origin; originally applied to French and English hunters of wild oxen in the Caribbean
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 buccaneer


1660s, from French boucanier "user of a boucan," a native grill for roasting meat, from Tupi mukem (rendered in Portuguese as moquem c.1587): "initial b and m are interchangeable in the Tupi language" [Klein]. For Haitian variant barbacoa, see barbecue. Originally used of French settlers working as hunters and woodsmen in the Spanish West Indies, a lawless and piratical set after they were driven from their trade by Spanish authorities in the 1690s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper