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

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 \ ˌbə-​kə-​ˈnir-​ish How to pronounce buccaneer (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for buccaneer


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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 Don’t miss your opportunity to talk and dress like a real buccaneer as International Talk Like a Pirate Day comes but once a year. cleveland, 16 Sep. 2021 Or Joseph Duveen, the eccentric buccaneer art dealer played by Adrien Brody in the same story. Susan Morrison, The New Yorker, 5 Sep. 2021 Garrett Basch and Dan Halsted also serve as executive producers along with Taika Waititi, who will direct the pilot as well in addition to playing Blackbeard, the infamous buccaneer. Mónica Marie Zorrilla, Variety, 20 Aug. 2021 In Yetnikoff’s day, a buccaneer didn’t have to explain himself to anyone. Jordan Michelman, Los Angeles Times, 13 Aug. 2021 Over the following years, the buccaneer captains fell one by one. National Geographic, 2 July 2020 Margot Robbie is sailing into new blockbuster waters, veering from Harley Quinn's girl gang to having her own Disney buccaneer squad. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 26 June 2020 The sinister Buena Festa invites all buccaneers to a Pirate Festival, with a chance to acquire a fabulously valuable relic belonging to Gol D. Roger, King of the Pirates. Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times, 23 Oct. 2019 Human habitation: Though Spanish sailors, buccaneers, and whalers soon followed in Berlanga’s wake, the islands’ inhospitable terrain discouraged permanent habitation. National Geographic, 7 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for buccaneer

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The first known use of buccaneer was in 1686

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Buccaneer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buccaneer. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce buccaneer (audio) \

Kids Definition of buccaneer

: pirate

More from Merriam-Webster on buccaneer

Nglish: Translation of buccaneer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about buccaneer


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