Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A pirate, especially along the Barbary Coast.
  • noun A swift pirate ship, often operating with official sanction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any pirate-bug of the family Reduriidæ.
  • noun One who cruises or scours the ocean with an armed vessel, without a commission from any sovereign or state, seizing and plundering merchant vessels, or making booty on land; a pirate; a freebooter.
  • noun A piratical vessel; sometimes, a privateer.
  • noun A scorpænoid fish, Sebastichthys rosaceus, with smooth cranial ridges, moderate-sized scales, and pale blotches surrounded by purplish shades on the sides.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A pirate; one who cruises about without authorization from any government, to seize booty on sea or land.
  • noun A piratical vessel.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A Californian market fish (Sebastichthys rosaceus).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A French privateer, especially from the port of St-Malo
  • noun A privateer or pirate in general
  • noun The ship of privateers or pirates, especially of French nationality
  • noun A nocturnal assassin bug of the genus Rasahus, found in the southern USA.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a swift pirate ship (often operating with official sanction)
  • noun a pirate along the Barbary Coast

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French corsaire, from Old Provençal corsari, from Old Italian corsaro, from Medieval Latin cursārius, from cursus, plunder, from Latin, run, course; see course.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French corsaire.

Examples

  • That other "corsair" -- as the Spaniards called him -- that other charming and heroic shape in England's chequered chronicle of chivalry and crime -- famous in arts and arms, politics, science, literature, endowed with so many of the gifts by which men confer lustre on their age and country, whose name was already a part of

    History of the United Netherlands, 1590-99 — Complete

  • That other "corsair" -- as the Spaniards called him -- that other charming and heroic shape in England's chequered chronicle of chivalry and crime -- famous in arts and arms, politics, science, literature, endowed with so many of the gifts by which men confer lustre on their age and country, whose name was already a part of

    History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce — Complete (1584-1609)

  • That other "corsair" -- as the Spaniards called him -- that other charming and heroic shape in England's chequered chronicle of chivalry and crime -- famous in arts and arms, politics, science, literature, endowed with so many of the gifts by which men confer lustre on their age and country, whose name was already a part of

    History of the United Netherlands, 1595-96

  • On the 18th of June the Surveillante captures an English corsair, which is a joy, but they learn from her the fall of Charleston and the surrender of Lincoln, which gives food for thought.

    Rochambeau and the French in America. I. From Unpublished Documents. II

  • Still, even if you hadn't, it might have come to the same thing in the long run, for the corsair is a large one, and might have taken us even if you had made her out as she rounded the point. '

    When London Burned : a Story of Restoration Times and the Great Fire

  • But what of the people of the town of Baltimore in Ireland, all carried off by "corsair" raiders in a single night?

    THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS

  • But what of the people of the town of Baltimore in Ireland, all carried off by "corsair" raiders in a single night?

    The Discerning Texan

  • That other "corsair" -- as the Spaniards called him -- that other charming and heroic shape in England's chequered chronicle of chivalry and crime -- famous in arts and arms, politics, science, literature, endowed with so many of the gifts by which men confer lustre on their age and country, whose name was already a part of England's eternal glory, whose tragic destiny was to be her undying shame—Raleigh, the soldier, sailor, scholar, statesman, poet, historian, geographical discoverer, planter of empires yet unborn—was also present, helping to organize the somewhat chaotic elements of which the chief Anglo-Dutch enterprise for this year against—the Spanish world-dominion was compounded.

    PG Edition of Netherlands series — Complete

  • Such was the case; and when the captain did turn out at breakfast time he had heard the first mate’s version of the affair, and as the felucca had now quite disappeared below the horizon, altogether pooh-poohed Tom's account of having recognised Mohammed's "corsair," even although Charley backed him up by his statement of what he had heard say in conversation with the stranger.

    Picked up at Sea The Gold Miners of Minturne Creek

  • She was an outlaw; men called her a "corsair," and spoke of Semmes the captain as though he had been some ruffianly Blackbeard sailing the black flag with skull and cross bones for his grisly ensign.

    Recollections of a naval life : including the cruises of the Confederate States steamers, "Sumter" and "Alabama",

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Though by the repeated bloody chastisements they have received at the hands of European cruisers, the audacity of these corsairs has of late been somewhat repressed; yet, even at the present day, we occasionally hear of English and American vessels, which, in those waters, have been remorselessly boarded and pillaged."

    Moby-Dick, ch. 87

    June 15, 2009

  • Oh, funny! I've only ever known this as a kind of puddle jumper.

    April 3, 2012