• synonyms


  1. an armed ship that is privately owned and manned, commissioned by a government to fight or harass enemy ships.
  2. privateersman.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to cruise as a privateer.
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Origin of privateer

1640–50; private + -eer, modeled on volunteer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for privateering

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for privateering


  1. an armed, privately owned vessel commissioned for war service by a government
  2. Also called: privateersman a commander or member of the crew of a privateer
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  1. a competitor, esp in motor racing, who is privately financed rather than sponsored by a manufacturer
  2. (intr) to serve as a privateer
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper