verb (used with object)

to put ashore and abandon on a desolate island or coast by way of punishment or the like, as was done by buccaneers.
to place in an isolated and often dangerous position: The rising floodwaters marooned us on top of the house.
to abandon and leave without aid or resources: Having lost all his money, he was marooned in the strange city.


(often initial capital letter) any of a group of blacks, descended from fugitive slaves of the 17th and 18th centuries, living in the West Indies and Guiana, especially in mountainous areas.
a person who is marooned: Robinson Crusoe lived for years as a maroon.

Origin of maroon

1660–70; < French mar(r)on, apparently < American Spanish cimarrón wild (see cimarron); first used in reference to domestic animals that escaped into the woods, later to fugitive slaves Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for marooning

isolate, strand, leave, beach, desert, forsake

Examples from the Web for marooning

Historical Examples of marooning

  • To desert the ship or their quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning.

  • Now it lay astern, and Moran could see the planet that had been chosen for his marooning.

    Planet of Dread

    Murray Leinster

  • It was by my instructions that Goff didn't appear in the marooning mix-up.

    Pirates' Hope

    Francis Lynde

  • First of all upon the list of pirates stands the bold Captain Avary, one of the institutors of marooning.

  • Ducking from the bowsprit end, towing in a rope astern, and marooning, were also practised as punishments for the pilferer.

    On the Spanish Main

    John Masefield

British Dictionary definitions for marooning



verb (tr)

to leave ashore and abandon, esp on an island
to isolate without resources


a descendant of a group of runaway slaves living in the remoter areas of the Caribbean or Guyana
US and Canadian informal a person who has been marooned, esp on an island

Word Origin for maroon

C17 (applied to fugitive slaves): from American Spanish cimarrón wild, literally: dwelling on peaks, from Spanish cima summit




  1. a dark red to purplish-red colour
  2. (as adjective)a maroon carpet
an exploding firework, esp one used as a warning signal

Word Origin for maroon

C18: from French, literally: chestnut, marron 1
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 marooning



"very dark reddish-brown color," 1791, from French couleur marron, the color of a marron "chestnut," the large sweet chestnut of southern Europe (maroon in that sense was used in English from 1590s), from dialect of Lyons, ultimately from a word in a pre-Roman language, perhaps Ligurian; or from Greek maraon "sweet chestnut."



"put ashore on a desolate island or coast," 1724 (implied in marooning), earlier "to be lost in the wild" (1690s); from maron (n.) "fugitive black slave in the jungles of W.Indies and Dutch Guyana" (1660s), earlier symeron (1620s), from French marron, said to be a corruption of Spanish cimmaron "wild, untamed," from Old Spanish cimarra "thicket," probably from cima "summit, top" (from Latin cyma "sprout"), with a notion of living wild in the mountains. Related: Marooned.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper