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verb (used with object)
  1. to rob of goods or valuables by open force, as in war, hostile raids, brigandage, etc.: to plunder a town.
  2. to rob, despoil, or fleece: to plunder the public treasury.
  3. to take wrongfully, as by pillage, robbery, or fraud: to plunder a piece of property.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to take plunder; pillage.
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  1. plundering, pillage, or spoliation.
  2. that which is taken in plundering; loot.
  3. anything taken by robbery, theft, or fraud.
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Origin of plunder

First recorded in 1620–30, plunder is from the Dutch word plunderen
Related formsplun·der·a·ble, adjectiveplun·der·er, nounplun·der·ing·ly, adverbplun·der·ous, adjectiveun·plun·dered, adjectiveun·plun·der·ous, adjectiveun·plun·der·ous·ly, adverb


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. rape, ravage, sack, devastate. 5. rapine, robbery. 6. booty, spoils.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for plunder

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We had hauled our manly tacks aboard, and had no thoughts of plunder.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • She had money on board (the plunder of Malta) to the amount of L600,000 sterling.

  • It was profusely strewed with the plunder of that unlucky fortress.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Nevertheless, the Danes could not plunder England as easily as before.

    Introductory American History

    Henry Eldridge Bourne

  • An officer cried directly that he had helped to plunder a house last night.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for plunder


  1. to steal (valuables, goods, sacred items, etc) from (a town, church, etc) by force, esp in time of war; loot
  2. (tr) to rob or steal (choice or desirable things) from (a place)to plunder an orchard
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  1. anything taken by plundering or theft; booty
  2. the act of plundering; pillage
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Derived Formsplunderable, adjectiveplunderer, nounplunderous, adjective

Word Origin

C17: probably from Dutch plunderen (originally: to plunder household goods); compare Middle High German plunder bedding, household goods
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 plunder


1630s, from German plündern, from Middle High German plunderen "to plunder," originally "to take away household furniture," from plunder (n.) "household goods, clothes," also "lumber, baggage" (14c.; cf. Modern German Plunder "lumber, trash"), which is related to Middle Dutch plunder "household goods;" Frisian and Dutch plunje "clothes." A word acquired by English via the Thirty Years War and applied in native use after the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642. Related: Plundered; plundering. Plunderbund was a U.S. colloquial word from 1914 referring to "a corrupt alliance of corporate and financial interests," with German Bund "alliance, league."

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"goods taken by force; act of plundering," 1640s, from plunder (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper