[ buhk-uh-neer ]
/ ˌbʌk əˈnɪər /


any of the piratical adventurers who raided Spanish colonies and ships along the American coast in the second half of the 17th century.
any pirate.

Nearby words

  1. buccal artery,
  2. buccal cavity,
  3. buccal gland,
  4. buccal nerve,
  5. buccally,
  6. buccaro,
  7. bucchero,
  8. buccinator,
  9. bucco-,
  10. buccogingival

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for buccaneer

British Dictionary definitions for buccaneer


/ (ˌbʌkəˈnɪə) /


a pirate, esp one who preyed on the Spanish colonies and shipping in America and the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries

verb (intr)

to be or act like a buccaneer

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper