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 some cases, visitors have passed the gates at campgrounds and left trash near closed dumpsters and restrooms, where animals have plundered the garbage. Tom Stienstra,, "County trails, US Forest service campgrounds to open slowly through summer," 30 Apr. 2020 Players need to gain experience, defeat marauding enemies, earn rewards and recognition, and plunder loot. David Nield, Popular Science, "Great online games to play with friends (while keeping your distance)," 17 Apr. 2020 For years, North Korea's Lazarus Group hackers have plundered and pillaged the global internet, scamming and infecting digital devices around the world for espionage, profit, and sabotage. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "North Korea Is Recycling Mac Malware. That's Not the Worst Part," 25 Feb. 2020 The former, Pedit5, consisted of 40 or 50 rooms and adjoining corridors—all on a single level—that players tried to explore and plunder without getting killed by a monster along the way. Richard C. Moss, Ars Technica, "ASCII art + permadeath: The history of roguelike games," 19 Mar. 2020 Mental health professionals say data breaches and other cyber crimes are increasingly taking a heavy psychological toll on the millions of Americans whose personal information is plundered by fraudsters. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Anxiety, depression and PTSD: The hidden epidemic of data breaches and cyber crimes," 21 Feb. 2020 The long delay left the federal government no choice but to plunder funds meant for cancer research, heart disease, and fighting HIV to pay for their response efforts. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "Leave a Comment," 2 Mar. 2020 Four United States senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to close a little-known, but gaping, loophole that allows scammers to plunder commercial insurers by posing as licensed medical providers. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "We Showed How Easy It Is to Commit Health Care Fraud. Now Senators Want to Close the Loophole.," 14 Feb. 2020 Systematic extraction began in the eastern and north eastern part of the country, plundering a plant used by traditional healers for muthi (traditional medicine). William Beinart, Quartz Africa, "The story of the pharma giant and the African yam," 10 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun McFall still is not certain that Asian giant hornets were responsible for the plunder of his hive. Mike Baker,, "‘Murder hornets’ arrive in US for first time," 2 May 2020 One of its favorite foods is the carpenter ant, nests of which the pileated drills into and plunders. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: The sighting of a 'ghost bird' along the Milwaukee River is a double treat," 12 Feb. 2020 Hampered by their haul of plunder, however, the Spanish were too slow in crossing Lake Texcoco. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "Royal Treasures, Lost and Found," 23 Jan. 2020 The real strength of the evening came in the details recalled by survivors, as when Batsheva Dagan described discovering the clothing of her former teacher in mounds of Nazi plunder. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "Auschwitz 75 Years After Liberation," 28 Jan. 2020 The human zoo was gone, but silence about the plunder remained. Adam Hochschild, The Atlantic, "The Fight to Decolonize the Museum," 15 Dec. 2019 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

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

6 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plunder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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

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