plun·​der | \ ˈplən-dər How to pronounce plunder (audio) \
plundered; plundering\ ˈplən-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce plundering (audio) \

Definition of plunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to take the goods of by force (as in war) : pillage, sack invaders plundered the town
b : to take by force or wrongfully : steal, loot plundered artifacts from the tomb
2 : to make extensive use of as if by plundering : use or use up wrongfully plunder the land

intransitive verb

: to commit robbery or looting



Definition of plunder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of plundering : pillaging
2 : something taken by force, theft, or fraud : loot
3 chiefly dialectal : personal or household effects

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Other Words from plunder


plunderer \ ˈplən-​dər-​ər How to pronounce plunderer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for plunder

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for plunder


spoil, plunder, booty, prize, loot mean something taken from another by force or craft. spoil, more commonly spoils, applies to what belongs by right or custom to the victor in war or political contest. the spoils of political victory plunder applies to what is taken not only in war but in robbery, banditry, grafting, or swindling. a bootlegger's plunder booty implies plunder to be shared among confederates. thieves dividing up their booty prize applies to spoils captured on the high seas or territorial waters of the enemy. the wartime right of seizing prizes at sea loot applies especially to what is taken from victims of a catastrophe. picked through the ruins for loot

Examples of plunder in a Sentence

Verb The village was plundered by the invading army. Thieves had long ago plundered the tomb. The soldiers continued plundering for days. Noun the plunder of the village All evidence suggested that the plunder of the tomb had happened long ago.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In November 2018, for example, a report commissioned by the French president recommended that art plundered from sub-Saharan Africa during the colonial era be returned by the French through permanent restitution. Aisha Salaudeen, CNN, "France is set to end the use of the 75-year-old controversial CFA franc in West Africa," 23 Dec. 2019 Accused of genocide, Omar al-Bashir is found guilty only of corruption FOR NEARLY three decades Omar al-Bashir’s regime butchered and plundered. The Economist, "Mercy for the mighty Two years in a rest home for Sudan’s former tyrant," 18 Dec. 2019 Lebanon has been without a government since Hariri resigned late last month in the face of mass protests against Lebanon’s ruling elite, which demonstrators accuse of mismanaging and plundering the state to the brink of bankruptcy. Samer Al-atrush,, "Lebanon’s President Orders Week’s Delay in Talks to Pick Premier," 8 Dec. 2019 Most analysts thought the more favorable matchup for Northwestern would be Ohio State, given how Maryland had plundered the Buckeyes defense. Teddy Greenstein,, "The ultimate what-if: How 1 play in last year’s Ohio State-Maryland game impacted 4 Big Ten schools and their coaches," 7 Nov. 2019 At the end of the main game, the goose scampers across a model of the village just plundered. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Video Games Are Better Without Game-Play," 22 Oct. 2019 Sectarian parties plunder official resources to build up militias and buy support, while providing little for the people. The Economist, "Protesters in Iraq topple a prime minister but want more," 29 Nov. 2019 Hundreds of artefacts were plundered from Magdala with the emperor’s treasury being emptied and 15 elephants and 200 mules needed to transport the looted assets. Ciku Kimeria, Quartz Africa, "The battle to get Europe to return thousands of Africa’s stolen artifacts is getting complicated," 29 Nov. 2019 The protests have been fueled by dire economic conditions and anger at the political elite accused of mismanagement of funds and plundering state resources for personal gain. NBC News, "Lebanon's Hezbollah leader warns against protests, urges supporters to avoid them," 23 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Weldonville is the site of a federal penitentiary where, two years ago, the most violent occupants executed all the late-shift guards and escaped into the neighboring area to rape, kill and plunder. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: They Murdered Weldonville," 3 Jan. 2020 In celebrating the death of ISIS's leader, Trump shared his vision of America's goal in the Middle East: loot and plunder. Adam Weinstein, The New Republic, "“Blood for Oil” Is Official U.S. Policy Now," 28 Oct. 2019 The Marcos-era martial law was characterized by widespread human rights violations and alleged plunder of state coffers. Washington Post, "Duterte to end martial law in Philippine south after 2 years," 10 Dec. 2019 Since taking power in 2018, Bolsonaro has rapidly pulled off the gloves protecting the Amazon and holds no pretext of preserving it, exacerbating the plunder that has been in progress for generations. Will Meyer, Longreads, "Fire Sale: Finance and Fascism in the Amazon Rainforest," 4 Oct. 2019 In the advertising industry especially, these apps can create serious financial plunders. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How to Kill the Zombie Apps Destroying Your Phone," 18 Sep. 2019 Rising Chinese agricultural investments in Africa have sparked fierce international controversy, excoriated by critics as colonial plunder and hailed in Beijing as productive and beneficial to local farmers. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "Big promises, few results: Chinese farms falter in Uganda," 17 Sep. 2019 Alabama’s three-term state treasurer knew his life of promise and plunder was at an end. al, "Alabama treasurer ‘Honest Ike’ stole $200,000 and fled the state in 1883," 7 Aug. 2019 But the full reality of Nazi plunder was far more mundane, which was perhaps the essence of its cruelty. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Haunting of Paris: Georges Mandel and the Long Legacy of Nazi Violence," 6 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plunder.' 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 plunder


1632, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plunder


German plündern

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Time Traveler for plunder

Time Traveler

The first known use of plunder was in 1632

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Statistics for plunder

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plunder.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for plunder


How to pronounce plunder (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to steal things from (a place, such as a city or town) especially by force



English Language Learners Definition of plunder (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of stealing things from a place especially by force : the act of plundering something
: things that are stolen or taken by force especially during a war


plun·​der | \ ˈplən-dər How to pronounce plunder (audio) \
plundered; plundering

Kids Definition of plunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to rob or steal especially openly and by force (as during war)



Kids Definition of plunder (Entry 2 of 2)

: something stolen by force : loot

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More from Merriam-Webster on plunder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plunder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plunder

Spanish Central: Translation of plunder

Nglish: Translation of plunder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plunder for Arabic Speakers

Comments on plunder

What made you want to look up plunder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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