a person who goes about in search of plunder; pirate; buccaneer.

Origin of freebooter

1560–70; Anglicization of Dutch vrijbuiter, equivalent to vrij free + buit booty1 + -er -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for freebooter

Historical Examples of freebooter

  • It was nothing—only the quip of a witty fellow, descendant of a Spanish freebooter.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Nor was the freebooter's conversation more in accord with his surroundings.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

  • True, the law said it was his, but the law did not mean to reward the freebooter; yet that is exactly what it did.

  • He was a freebooter with most of the virtues and vices of his kind.

    Laramie Holds the Range

    Frank H. Spearman

  • He had the Viking spirit, and he burnt with a freebooter's passion for the sea.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

British Dictionary definitions for freebooter



a person, such as a pirate, living from plunder
informal a person, esp an itinerant, who seeks pleasure, wealth, etc, without responsibility

Word Origin for freebooter

C16: from Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrijbuit booty; see filibuster
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 freebooter

1560s, loan-translation of Dutch vrijbuiter "plunderer, robber," from vrijbuiten "to rob, plunder," from vrijbuit "plunder," literally "free booty," from vrij "free" + buit "booty," from buiten "to exchange or plunder," from Middle Dutch buten, related to Middle Low German bute "exchange" (see booty). Cf. filibuster. The back-formed verb freeboot is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper