plunder

verb
plun·​der | \ ˈplən-dər \
plundered; plundering\ ˈplən-​d(ə-​)riŋ \

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

plunder

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from plunder

Verb

plunderer \ ˈplən-​dər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for plunder

Synonyms: Verb

despoil, loot, maraud, pillage, ransack, sack

Synonyms: Noun

booty, loot, pillage, spoil, swag

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for plunder

Noun

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some of those graves were plundered centuries ago, largely by enemy tribes seeking to stake a claim on the territory by desecrating the Scythians’ burial sites. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Satellites watch over the graves of ancient steppe nomads," 26 Dec. 2018 The department has continued to encounter a series of scandals, from police officers planting evidence to a gun task force that conducted false searches and actively plundered city residents. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "The latest viral video of Baltimore police shows that the department’s reform efforts have a long way to go.," 13 Aug. 2018 Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. Alex Ward, Vox, "The US is evacuating diplomats from an Iraqi consulate citing credible threats from Iran," 28 Sep. 2018 This is another costly fantasy detached from the real-world use case, engineered to plunder the pockets of the naive. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S: More Car Than Anyone Could Ever Enjoy," 5 Dec. 2018 No promise to clean up corruption and then plunder away. Libby Nelson, Vox, "Read the full transcript of Obama’s fiery anti-Trump speech," 7 Sep. 2018 No better example of what Brexiters actually want - the right to plunder all planetary resources with no let or hindrance by regulation or reason. Sam Webb, Fox News, "British fisherman call on Navy to protect them from aggressive French rivals in 'Scallop Wars'," 30 Aug. 2018 His newest title has a hoary theme: plundering a pharaoh's tomb for treasure. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "A quick look at the nominees for 2018’s “Board Game of the Year”," 21 July 2018 The government has estimated that the family plundered $10 billion, of which some $4 billion has been recovered. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Imelda Marcos’s Graft Conviction Deals Blow to Philippine Dynasty’s Newfound Popularity," 9 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The powerful family has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, of human rights abuses and wanton plunder of national assets, during Marcos’ reign, which finally ended in 1989. Washington Post, "Sara Netanyahu preceded by avarice of other first wives," 21 June 2018 That is unusual: Centuries of plunder by treasure hunters and professional tomb raiders have spoiled many ancient Egyptian burial sites. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Sarcophagus Found. Contents Unknown. (‘No Guessing, Please.’)," 13 July 2018 Whether for leisure, business, exploration, colonization, exploitation or plunder, humans have traveled the world for centuries and recorded their impressions in books and artworks. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Travel-Themed Exhibit 'Wish You Were Here' In New Haven," 23 June 2018 The powerful family has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, of human rights abuses and wanton plunder of national assets, during Marcos' reign, which finally ended in 1989. Fox News, "Sara Netanyahu preceded by avarice of other first wives," 22 June 2018 The passive nature of reading allows a space for distance from the realities of slavery, violence, rape, plunder, mass incarceration and the daily toll of tightrope walking. Angela Helm, The Root, "Kamilah Forbes’ Beautiful Struggle: Bringing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me to the Stage," 10 Apr. 2018 In Maeve's understanding, the Ghost Nation showed up in the name of violence, to attack, pillage and plunder. refinery29.com, "Westworld Season 2, Episode 8: Forget What You Think You Know," 11 June 2018 That was not surprising, given that the whole operation was overseen by an administration that holds government in contempt, seeing it as a source of obstruction or an opportunity for plunder, rather than a collection of vital services. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "After hurricane struck Puerto Rico, a second disaster was man-made," 2 June 2018 Given the massive scale of the plunder of black America, scholars have proposed reparations plans that are similarly wide-sweeping. Anne Branigin, The Root, "Cynthia Nixon Catches Heat for Calling Cannabis Licenses in Black Community a ‘Form of Reparations’," 8 May 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of plunder

Verb

1632, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plunder

Verb

German plündern

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plunder

Statistics for plunder

Last Updated

29 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plunder

The first known use of plunder was in 1632

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plunder

plunder

verb

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

plunder

noun

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

plunder

verb
plun·​der | \ ˈplən-dər \
plundered; plundering

Kids Definition of plunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

plunder

noun

Kids Definition of plunder (Entry 2 of 2)

: something stolen by force : loot

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on plunder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plunder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!