free·​boo·​ter ˈfrē-ˌbü-tər How to pronounce freebooter (audio)
freeboot intransitive verb

Examples of freebooter in a Sentence

the ship was captured by freebooters who were looking for gold
Recent Examples on the Web There is widespread, cross-partisan public support for finally clamping down on these corporate freebooters. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 23 Feb. 2023 In April, 1492, buoyed by the seizure of Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to sponsor the Italian freebooter Christopher Columbus on his initial expedition across the Atlantic. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 2 Nov. 2021 Mr. Bugaev is a dedicated, if largely sedentary, Cossack, a centuries-old fraternity of Slavic warriors, freebooters and freedom-loving rebels. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 14 July 2016 The window of opportunity for freebooters to loom large has closed. Steve Kettmann, WIRED, 2 Nov. 2000

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'freebooter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


by folk etymology from Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrijbuit plunder, from vrij free + buit booty

First Known Use

1570, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of freebooter was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near freebooter

Cite this Entry

“Freebooter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


free·​boo·​ter ˈfrē-ˌbüt-ər How to pronounce freebooter (audio)

partial translation (influenced by English booty) of Dutch vrijbuiter "one who robs people openly and with force," from vrijbuit "plundering," from vrij "free" and buit "stolen property, booty" — related to filibuster see Word History at filibuster

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