pri·​va·​teer ˌprī-və-ˈtir How to pronounce privateer (audio)
: an armed private ship licensed to attack enemy shipping
also : a sailor on such a ship
privateer intransitive verb

Examples of privateer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The ambitious privateer also managed to persuade Rolls to provide a degree of factory support. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 2 Aug. 2023 The next tier down from the Hypercar class in the FIA World Endurance Championship series, the LMP2 category is highly standardized as far as configuration and performance specs, and is intended for privateers. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 2 June 2023 Featuring mostly privateers—riders who pay their way to race—these guys and girls have nothing to lose, meaning the races often feature pretty nasty takeouts and a healthy amount of contact. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 21 June 2023 John, who had won his own freedom in a local lottery in 1773, died in 1779 while serving as a privateer during the Revolutionary War; he was believed to have been trying to earn money to buy his wife and surviving children’s freedom. Victoria Marin, Washington Post, 16 June 2023 When Darwin arrived, the islands were little more than a stopover for privateers, whalers and other sailing vessels, although at the time, at least one island was a penal colony. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 22 May 2023 He was given a scene involving Sturmhond, a famous privateer that Alina (Jessie Mei Li) meets in her mission to find more amplifiers. Nick Romano,, 1 Mar. 2023 The power train, which includes a sequential seven-speed transmission, enables the $2.9 million racer (the price includes tech and engineering support for privateers) to exceed 205 mph. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 18 Feb. 2023 John Quamino won a lottery in 1773 and was able to buy his own freedom, then attended the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) before becoming a privateer during the Revolutionary War to earn money to buy freedom for his wife and children. Alexa Gagosz,, 13 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'privateer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1641, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of privateer was circa 1641

Dictionary Entries Near privateer

Cite this Entry

“Privateer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: an armed private ship permitted by its government to make war on ships of an enemy country
: a sailor on a privateer


2 of 2 verb
: to cruise in or as a privateer
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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