letter of marque
- license or commission granted by a state to a private citizen to capture and confiscate the merchant ships of another nation.
Also letters of marque.
Origin of letter of marque
late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50
Also called letter of marque and reprisal, letters of marque and reprisal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for letter of marque
Shortly afterward the Milford, accompanied by a British letter-of-marque, put in an appearance, and gave chase.The Story of John Paul Jones
Chelsea Curtis Fraser
The ship fell in with an American letter-of-marque, and the first lieutenant was ordered to board the American ship.Historic Boyhoods
Rupert Sargent Holland
In that day, even a French ship-of-the-line was no model of discipline or order, and a letter-of-marque was consequently worse.
The prize proved to be the ship I have mentioned, a letter-of-marque, from Guadaloupe, bound to Nantes.
Well, as if that wern't enough, we ship together again in this vessel, and a time we had of it with the French 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