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.

Nearby words

  1. piquet,
  2. piquillo,
  3. piqué,
  4. pir,
  5. piracicaba,
  6. piraeus,
  7. piragua,
  8. pirandello,
  9. pirandello, luigi,
  10. piranesi

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

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