noun, plural pi·ra·cies.

practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea.
the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.: The record industry is beset with piracy.
Also called stream capture. Geology. diversion of the upper part of one stream by the headward growth of another.

Origin of piracy

1545–55; earlier pyracie < Medieval Latin pīrātīa < Late Greek peirāteía. See pirate, -acy
Related formsan·ti·pi·ra·cy, noun, plural an·ti·pi·ra·cies, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piracy

Contemporary Examples of piracy

Historical Examples of piracy

  • Tried for piracy, probably, and the execution of some, if not all of us.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Outlawry, piracy, smugglery, were all goals too small for such operations.

  • Here is a great chance for you, since you declare yourself sick of piracy.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • I had thought to have done with piracy; thought to have done with it for ever.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • We will then, sirs, with your concurrence, say no more of the piracy.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for piracy


noun plural -cies

British robbery on the seas within admiralty jurisdiction
a felony, such as robbery or hijacking, committed aboard a ship or aircraft
the unauthorized use or appropriation of patented or copyrighted material, ideas, etc

Word Origin for piracy

C16: from Anglo-Latin pirātia, from Late Greek peirāteia; see pirate
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 piracy

early 15c., from Medieval Latin piratia, from Greek peirateia "piracy," from peirates (see pirate (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper