[ kawr-sair ]
/ ˈkɔr sɛər /


a fast ship used for piracy.
a pirate, especially formerly of the Barbary Coast.
(initial capital letter) Military. a gull-winged, propeller-driven fighter plane built for the U.S. Navy in World War II and kept in service into the early 1950s.

Nearby words

  1. corruptionist,
  2. corruptly,
  3. corrèze,
  4. corsac,
  5. corsage,
  6. corse,
  7. corselet,
  8. corset,
  9. corset cover,
  10. corseted

Origin of corsair

1540–50; < Middle French corsaire < Provençal corsar(i) < Upper Italian corsaro < Medieval Latin cursārius, equivalent to Latin curs(us) course + -ārius -ary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for corsair

British Dictionary definitions for corsair


/ (ˈkɔːsɛə) /


a pirate
a privateer, esp of the Barbary Coast

Word Origin for corsair

C15: from Old French corsaire pirate, from Medieval Latin cursārius, from Latin cursus a running, course

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 corsair



1540s, from Middle French corsaire (15c.), from Provençal cursar, Italian corsaro, from Medieval Latin cursarius "pirate," from Latin cursus "course, a running," from currere "to run" (see current (adj.)). Meaning of the Medieval Latin verb evolved from "course" to "journey" to "expedition" to an expedition specifically for plunder.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper