noun bio·pi·ra·cy \¦bī-(ˌ)ō-¦pī-rə-sē\

Definition of biopiracy

  1. :  the unethical or unlawful appropriation or commercial exploitation of biological materials (such as medicinal plant extracts) that are native to a particular country or territory without providing fair financial compensation to the people or government of that country or territory The 60-year-old scientist was dwelling in semi-isolation, having … lost his job at a Brazilian research institute and been charged with a raft of offenses, including misusing government property and violating Brazil's biopiracy laws. — Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian, February 2008 Turmeric is a poster child for one of the most noted intellectual-property cases on biopiracy, which pitted an Indian government-supported research organization against a 1995 patent issued to the University of Mississippi for the use of the spice for wound healing. — Gary Stix, Scientific American, February 2007


\¦bī-(ˌ)ō-¦pī-rət\ play noun, plural


Indigenous people are at the mercy of biopirates who steal their traditional knowledge of medicinal plants. — Stephen Leahy, New Scientist, 28 Feb. 2004

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First Known Use of biopiracy


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feeling or affected by lethargy

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