buccaneer

noun

buc·​ca·​neer ˌbə-kə-ˈnir How to pronounce buccaneer (audio)
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
buccaneerish adjective

Example Sentences

buccaneers preyed upon treasure-laden ships in the Caribbean for nearly three hundred years
Recent Examples on the Web The bright red metal canister and buccaneer-esque design bring to mind pirates and adventure. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 The bright red metal canister and buccaneer-esque design bring to mind pirates and adventure. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 The bright red metal canister and buccaneer-esque design bring to mind pirates and adventure. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 The bright red metal canister and buccaneer-esque design bring to mind pirates and adventure. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 The bright red metal canister and buccaneer-esque design bring to mind pirates and adventure. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 The buccaneer Yerofei Khabarov led a gang that slaughtered and raped its way through the Siberian native villages along the river, setting up Russian settlements in their gory wake. Neal Ascherson, The New York Review of Books, 5 Oct. 2022 The bright red metal canister and buccaneer-esque design bring to mind pirates and adventure. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 Most of those plot points involve Guybrush’s archnemesis, the undead buccaneer LeChuck. Jonathan Lee, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of buccaneer was in 1686

Dictionary Entries Near buccaneer

Cite this Entry

“Buccaneer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buccaneer. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

buccaneer

noun
buc·​ca·​neer ˌbək-ə-ˈni(ə)r How to pronounce buccaneer (audio)

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