1690s, from Fr. marauder, from M.Fr. maraud "rascal," probably from Fr. dial. maraud "tomcat," echoic of its cry. A word popularized during the Thirty Years War (cf. Sp. merodear, Ger. marodiren "to maraud," marodebruder "straggler, deserter") by punning association with Count Mérode, imperialist general. Related: Marauder; marauding.