Definitions

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

  • n. A person who pillages and plunders, especially a pirate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An adventurer who pillages, plunders or wages ad-hoc war on other nations.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who plunders or pillages without the authority of national warfare; a member of a predatory band; a pillager; a buccaneer; a sea robber.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who wanders about in search of plunder; a robber; a pillager; a plunderer.
  • n. Synonyms Marauder, etc. See robber.

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

  • n. someone who takes spoils or plunder (as in war)

Etymologies

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

Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrijbuit, plunder : vrij, free; see prī- in Indo-European roots + buit, booty (from Middle Dutch būte, of Middle Low German origin).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Calque of Dutch vrijbuiter (literally "free booty-er"), from vrij ("free") + buit ("booty") + -er ("agent"), whence also filibuster.

Examples

  • A certain Dutch freebooter, however, Simon Danzer by name, a native of Dordrecht, who had been alternately in the service of Spain,

    Life and Death of John of Barneveld, Advocate of Holland : with a view of the primary causes and movements of the Thirty Years' War, 1610b

  • Captain Thomas Randall, described as a freebooter of the seas, who commanded the "Fox," and sailed for years in and out of New Orleans, where he sold the proceeds of his voyages and captures.

    Fifth Avenue

  • The honest captain had caught this word from a recent treatise against agrarianism, and having an acquired taste for orders in one sense, at least, he flattered himself with being what is called a Conservative, in other words, he had a strong relish for that maxim of the Scotch freebooter, which is rendered into English by the comely aphorism of "keep what you've got, and get what you can."

    Homeward Bound or, the Chase

  • However he had been driven to consort with outlaws, and to live a kind of freebooter's life, his natural sweetness was unspoiled, and was reinforced by solemn veneration for the sanctity of the Lord's anointing, which he reverenced all the more because himself had received it.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and First Book of Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, and Second Kings chapters I to VII

  • It enters, for instance, with grave humour into the strong distinction taken in the debatable land between a "freebooter" and a "thief," and the difficulty which the inland counties had in grasping it, and paints for us, with great vivacity, the various Border superstitions.

    Sir Walter Scott (English Men of Letters Series)

  • The French adventurers, however, seem always to have restricted the word "boucanier" to its proper signification, that of a hunter and curer of meat; and when they developed into corsairs, by a curious contrast they adopted an English name and called themselves "filibustiers," which is merely the French sailor's way of pronouncing the English word "freebooter." [

    The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century

  • a new scheme for holding up travellers for the purpose of robbery, and many of them evidently thought me a kind of freebooter, who ought to be suppressed by law.

    The old Santa Fe trail The Story of a Great Highway

  • As one former apple-selling "freebooter" put it, "Yeah, business is better now.

    Freakonomics

  • To-morrow I would be an oyster pirate, as free a freebooter as the century and the waters of San

    Chapter 7

  • So that thing before him was Big Ivan -- Big Ivan the giant, the man without nerves, the man of iron, the Cossack turned freebooter of the seas, who was as phlegmatic as an ox, with a nervous system so low that what was pain to ordinary men was scarcely

    Lost Face

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