[ prahy-vuh-teer ]
/ ˌpraɪ vəˈtɪər /


an armed ship that is privately owned and manned, commissioned by a government to fight or harass enemy ships.

verb (used without object)

to cruise as a privateer.

Nearby words

  1. private trust,
  2. private view,
  3. private viewdata,
  4. private-equity company,
  5. private-line car,
  6. privateering,
  7. privateersman,
  8. privately,
  9. privation,
  10. privatisation

Origin of privateer

1640–50; private + -eer, modeled on volunteer Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for privateering

British Dictionary definitions for privateering


/ (ˌpraɪvəˈtɪə) /


an armed, privately owned vessel commissioned for war service by a government
Also called: privateersman a commander or member of the crew of a privateer


a competitor, esp in motor racing, who is privately financed rather than sponsored by a manufacturer
(intr) to serve as a privateer
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 privateering



1660s, "private man of war," from private (adj.), probably on model of volunteer, buccaneer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper