pi·​ra·​cy | \ ˈpī-rə-sē How to pronounce piracy (audio) \
plural piracies

Definition of piracy

1 : an act of robbery on the high seas also : an act resembling such robbery
2 : robbery on the high seas
3a : the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright
b : the illicit accessing of broadcast signals

Synonyms for piracy


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Examples of piracy in a Sentence

piracy on the high seas many countries have harsh penalties for piracy now
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, Rivkin underscored how piracy runs rampant for films that are released simultaneously on streaming and in theaters. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Apr. 2022 Netflix has historically tolerated password sharing, despite estimates that streamers and pay-TV providers, in total, are missing out on billions in annual revenue because of freeloading and account piracy. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2022 The Russian government has reportedly mulled legalizing software piracy to get around wide-ranging international corporate sanctions. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 30 Mar. 2022 With the sanctions against Russia hitting just about every sector (and forcing Russia to consider software piracy), anyone with an Android device in the country is unable to use Google Play to purchase apps anymore. Matthew Humphries, PCMAG, 30 Mar. 2022 No ransoms had been demanded, and no piracy seemed to be afoot. The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2022 So for anyone thinking of getting into the piracy business, what is Jan van Voorn’s advice? Bob Verini, Variety, 9 Mar. 2022 But Greene went further, arguing that given the timeliness of the piracy debate, the time was now for the music industry to consider wholesale reparations. Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone, 5 Mar. 2022 Created by David Jenkins, the series is loosely — very loosely — based on the real-life exploits of 18th-century pirate Stede Bonnet (Darby), who abandoned a life of privilege to pursue piracy on the high seas. Devan Coggan, EW.com, 2 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of piracy

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for piracy

Medieval Latin piratia, from Late Greek peirateia, from Greek peiratēs pirate

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Piracy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piracy. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for piracy


pi·​ra·​cy | \ ˈpī-rə-sē How to pronounce piracy (audio) \
plural piracies

Kids Definition of piracy

1 : robbery of a ship at sea
2 : the use of another's work or invention without permission


pi·​ra·​cy | \ ˈpī-rə-sē How to pronounce piracy (audio) \
plural piracies

Legal Definition of piracy

1 : an act of robbery especially on the high seas specifically : an illegal act of violence, detention, or plunder committed for private ends by crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft against another ship or aircraft on the high seas or in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state — see also air piracy
2a : the unauthorized copying, distribution, or use of another's production (as a film) especially in infringement of a copyright software piracy
b : the unauthorized use, interception, or receipt of encoded communications (as satellite cable programming) especially to avoid paying fees for use the statute's purpose is to proscribe the piracy of programming signalsUnited States v. Harrell, 983 F.2d 36 (1993)
3 : the crime of committing piracy

More from Merriam-Webster on piracy

Nglish: Translation of piracy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of piracy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about piracy


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