buccaneer


buc·ca·neer

noun \ˌbə-kə-ˈnir\

: a person who tries to become wealthy or powerful by doing things that are illegal or dishonest

Full Definition of BUCCANEER

1
:  any of the freebooters preying on Spanish ships and settlements especially in 17th century West Indies; broadly :  pirate
2
:  an unscrupulous adventurer especially in politics or business
buccaneer intransitive verb
buc·ca·neer·ish \-ish\ adjective

Examples of BUCCANEER

  1. <buccaneers who preyed upon treasure-laden ships in the Caribbean>

Origin of BUCCANEER

French boucanier woodsman, pirate (in the 17th century West Indies), from boucaner to smoke meat, from boucan wooden frame for smoking meat, from Tupi mokaʔẽ́, mbokaʔẽ́, from mo-, mbo- causative marker + kaʔ to be roasted, dried
First Known Use: 1686

buccaneer

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of the British, French, or Dutch sea adventurers who chiefly haunted the Caribbean and the Pacific seaboard of South America during the latter part of the 17th century, preying on Spanish settlements and shipping. Though inspired by such privateers as Englishman Francis Drake, the buccaneers were not legitimate privateers (the commissions they held were seldom valid), but neither were they the outlawed pirates who flourished in the 18th century. Usually escaped servants, former soldiers, or loggers, they ran their ships democratically, divided plunder equitably, and even provided a form of accident insurance. They influenced the founding of the South Sea Co., and stories of their adventures inspired more serious voyages of exploration as well as the tales of writers Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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