buc·​ca·​neer | \ˌbə-kə-ˈnir \

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

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Other Words from buccaneer

buccaneer intransitive verb
buccaneerish \-​ish \ adjective

Synonyms for buccaneer


corsair, freebooter, pirate, rover

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Examples of buccaneer in a Sentence

buccaneers who preyed upon treasure-laden ships in the Caribbean

Recent Examples on the Web

Brigands, buccaneers and even mermaids will be around to entertain landlubbers like yourselves, the Liberty ship John W. Brown and the schooner Panther will be open for tours, there’ll be food, drink and grog aplenty. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Privateers, Platinum Comedy and Jewish film: the best of Baltimore's arts and entertainment scene this week," 15 Apr. 2018 The first settlements on Santa Ana Hill, close to the River Guayas, endured fires and attacks by pirates and buccaneers. Allie Almario, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to the Galápagos Islands," 5 Oct. 2016 Sentimental buccaneers and bumbling bobbies will share the stage with an eccentric major general. Tom Titus, latimes.com, "On Theater: Vanguard University schedules shows for summer and its 2018-19 season," 31 May 2018 Palmieri, an aging art buccaneer and former Vietnam draft dodger, remains very much alive today, now in his 70s. Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Last Wild Men of Borneo' is a real-life adventure tale about two expats in the jungle," 27 Mar. 2018 The very first seconds of your buccaneer career are marred with strange, artificial limitations that continue to pockmark the rest of the game. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Sea of Thieves makes a weak, meandering first impression," 24 Mar. 2018 That’s this week’s profile of Elon Musk, tech buccaneer. Marshall Kilduff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Last Word: Elon Musk is a visionary in an era that needs one," 9 Feb. 2018 Answer: Give them a pirate’s eye patch, a buccaneer’s bandana and a tankard of rum. Tom Krasovic, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Raiders game reveals depth of anti-Spanos sentiment for S.D. Chargers fans," 12 Oct. 2017 Besides killing and cooking critters, mariners and buccaneers also brought rats and other pests with them to the islands that decimated the local populations. Sam Schipani, Smithsonian, "The Island Where Scientists Bring Extinct Reptiles Back to Life (Nope, Not That One)," 9 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buccaneer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of buccaneer

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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 + kaʔẽ to be roasted, dried

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Dictionary Entries near buccaneer


buccal mass






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Time Traveler for buccaneer

The first known use of buccaneer was in 1686

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English Language Learners Definition of buccaneer

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


buc·​ca·​neer | \ˌbə-kə-ˈnir \

Kids Definition of buccaneer

: pirate

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More from Merriam-Webster on buccaneer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with buccaneer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for buccaneer

Spanish Central: Translation of buccaneer

Nglish: Translation of buccaneer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about buccaneer

Comments on buccaneer

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a knickknack or trinket

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