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 buccaneerish (audio) \ 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

By then, the island had long been associated with buccaneers. Rich Cohen, WSJ, "The Hidden History of Liberty Island," 11 July 2019 Pirates Cove Playground has a huge pirate ship for buccaneer and swashbuckler adventures. Jennifer Boehm, sun-sentinel.com, "Beat the heat: South Florida’s best water parks, pools, splash parks," 23 July 2019 The dress is modern, but in a fanciful way with amusingly gaudy getups for the courtiers and lots of vests and buccaneer boots among Susan Szegda’s costumes. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: Charming SF Shakes’ ‘As You Like It’ has a secret musical weapon," 10 July 2019 Whereas buccaneers in the Gulf of Guinea and South-East Asia stole cargo, the Somalis seized crews and often the ships themselves, hauling them back to the ungoverned coast of their lawless state. The Economist, "The Gulf of Guinea is now the world’s worst piracy hotspot," 29 June 2019 Coastal towns from Charleston to Boston hosted pirate ships and waterfront buccaneer communities. Rinker Buck, WSJ, "‘Black Flags, Blue Waters’ Review: To Live and Die a Pirate King," 26 Sep. 2018 Merl could easily be a buccaneer’s grandmother, with her heavy gold earrings and delighted laugh. Horatio Clare, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why You Should Go to Belize Now," 21 Dec. 2018 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

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






Statistics for buccaneer

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for buccaneer

The first known use of buccaneer was in 1686

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More Definitions for buccaneer



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

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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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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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