letter of marque

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license or commission granted by a state to a private citizen to capture and confiscate the merchant ships of another nation.
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Also letters of marque .
Also called letter of marque and reprisal, letters of marque and reprisal.

Origin of letter of marque

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use letter of marque in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for letter of marque

letter of marque

letters of marque

a licence granted by a state to a private citizen to arm a ship and seize merchant vessels of another nation
a similar licence issued by a nation allowing a private citizen to seize goods or citizens of another nation
Also called: letter of marque and reprisal
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