pri·​va·​teer | \ˌprī-və-ˈtir \

Definition of privateer 

: an armed private ship licensed to attack enemy shipping also : a sailor on such a ship

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Other Words from privateer

privateer intransitive verb

Examples of privateer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

El Lago sheltered French pirate and privateer Jean Lafitte in the early 19th century. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "How well do you know Bay Area history?," 7 June 2018 All seven privateer outfits from the MotoGP paddock will enter the new series in 2019. Jonathan Hawkins, CNN, "From a roar to a whirr -- MotoGP goes electric," 14 June 2018 The fourth annual Pirates Ashore at the Mayflower Society House and around Plymouth features reenactors portraying colonists and privateers, cannon fire, a pirate encampment, a sword fight, and even a murder trial., "Five things to do around Boston, May 14-20," 11 May 2018 That was five seconds faster than the non-hybrid, privateer P1 cars that make up the rest of the class for the Super Season and four seconds faster than the last time hybrid P1 cars tested at Paul Ricard. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Faster than an F1 car: Porsche is breaking records with the 919 Hybrid," 9 Apr. 2018 Many see Sheikh Amoudi less as a beneficent local son than a Saudi privateer. Danny Hakim And Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "He Owns Much of Ethiopia. The Saudis Won’t Say Where They’re Hiding Him.," 16 Mar. 2018 Whether truthful or misleading, a state gains plausible deniability by characterizing its nationals as nonofficial military personnel, using such terms as contractors, mercenaries, privateers or volunteers. Austin Carson, Washington Post, "Russia and the U.S. just defused a potential crisis in Syria — and showed us how to back away from a war," 20 Feb. 2018 Ecclestone sold the car to a privateer by the name of Peter Blond in 1956 for the tidy sum of 3500 pounds. Davey G. Johnson, Car and Driver, "A Little Bit Bernie, a Little Bit Rock ’n’ Roll: 1956 Jaguar D-type with an Interesting History Heads to Auction," 11 Jan. 2018 Today, North Korea is allowing its hackers to operate as digital privateers in search of crypto plunder like bitcoin. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Bitcoin: North Korea Targets Cryptocurrency Executives," 17 Dec. 2017

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

circa 1641, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for privateer

The first known use of privateer was circa 1641

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More Definitions for privateer



English Language Learners Definition of privateer

: a ship used in the past to attack and rob other ships; also : a sailor on a privateer


pri·​va·​teer | \ˌprī-və-ˈtir \

Kids Definition of privateer

1 : a privately owned armed ship permitted by its government to make war on ships of an enemy country

2 : a sailor on a privateer

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Comments on privateer

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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