American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A ship privately owned and crewed but authorized by a government during wartime to attack and capture enemy vessels.
- n. The commander or one of the crew of such a ship.
- v. To sail as a privateer.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An armed vessel owned and officered by private persons, but acting under a commission from the state usually called letters of marque. It answers to a company on land raised and commanded by private persons, but acting under regulations emanating from the supreme authority, rather than to one raised and acting without license, which would resemble a privateer without commission.
(Woolsey, Introd. to Inter. Law, § 121.)
- n. The commander of, or a man serving on board of, a privateer.
- To cruise in a privateer for the purpose of seizing an enemy's ships or annoying his commerce. Privateering was abolished by the treaty of Paris of 1856, and this article has been assented to by nearly all civilized nations; the most prominent exception is the United States.
- n. nautical A privately owned warship that had official sanction to attack enemy ships and take possession of their cargo.
- n. An officer or any other member of the crew of such a ship.
- n. motor racing A private individual entrant into a race or competition who does not have the backing of a large, professional team.
- v. To function under official sanction permitting attacks on enemy shipping and seizing ship and cargo; to engage in government-sponsored piracy.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An armed private vessel which bears the commission of the sovereign power to cruise against the enemy. See Letters of marque, under marque.
- n. The commander of a privateer.
- v. To cruise in a privateer.
- n. a privately owned warship commissioned to prey on the commercial shipping or warships of an enemy nation
- n. an officer or crew member of a privateer
- From private + -eer, on the model of volunteer. (Wiktionary)
“Almost at once news came of war being declared between England and France with Spain, so Bonnet hurried back to Topsail, and was granted permission to take back his sloop and sail her to St. Thomas's Island, to receive a commission as a privateer from the French Governor of that island.”
“A Confederate privateer is reported sixty miles south-east of Sandy”
“It is during this time that the term privateer and the term pirate become blurred together.”
“The Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, The Epic Battle For the Americas, And the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaw’s Bloody Reign” by Stephen Talty (Crown, 2007) « The BookBanter Blog
“A privateer was a-- was a ship that was given a legal license by the -- the new state of”
“The privateer was a schooner, called the Eagle, commanded by Captain Potter.”
“The captain of the privateer was a man of violent and ungovernable temper and drunken habits.”
“A privateer was a vessel which under commission from one country, carried on war with the ships of other countries.”
“A privateer was a vessel authorized to capture an enemy's property, but the privateersmen often were little better than pirates, as in this case.”
“The privateer was the more formidable ship and faster on the wind, forcing Captain Sterling of the Savage to accept the challenge.”
“In the hold of the privateer was a considerable sum of money in gold coin, the existence of which was known only to the captain and his body-servant, a bright negro.”
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