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[pluhn-der] /ˈplʌn dər/
verb (used with object)
to rob of goods or valuables by open force, as in war, hostile raids, brigandage, etc.:
to plunder a town.
to rob, despoil, or fleece:
to plunder the public treasury.
to take wrongfully, as by pillage, robbery, or fraud:
to plunder a piece of property.
verb (used without object)
to take plunder; pillage.
plundering, pillage, or spoliation.
that which is taken in plundering; loot.
anything taken by robbery, theft, or fraud.
Origin of plunder
1620-30; < Dutch plunderen
Related forms
plunderable, adjective
plunderer, noun
plunderingly, adverb
plunderous, adjective
unplundered, adjective
unplunderous, adjective
unplunderously, adverb
1. rape, ravage, sack, devastate. 5. rapine, robbery. 6. booty, spoils. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for plunder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To keep these fellows quiet when plunder is in view, were to keep fire in a goat-skin.

    The Arab's Pledge Edward L. Mitford
  • We had hauled our manly tacks aboard, and had no thoughts of plunder.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • But a mob of country louts are drilling in a farmyard up the moorlands, to plunder and destroy us, if they can.

    Slain By The Doones R. D. Blackmore
  • An officer cried directly that he had helped to plunder a house last night.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • Innkeepers harboured and assisted the highwaymen, sympathizing with them, and frequently sharing in the plunder.

British Dictionary definitions for plunder


to steal (valuables, goods, sacred items, etc) from (a town, church, etc) by force, esp in time of war; loot
(transitive) to rob or steal (choice or desirable things) from (a place): to plunder an orchard
anything taken by plundering or theft; booty
the act of plundering; pillage
Derived Forms
plunderable, adjective
plunderer, noun
plunderous, adjective
Word Origin
C17: probably from Dutch plunderen (originally: to plunder household goods); compare Middle High German plunder bedding, household goods
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for plunder

1630s, from German plündern, from Middle High German plunderen "to plunder," originally "to take away household furniture," from plunder (n.) "household goods, clothes," also "lumber, baggage" (14c.; cf. Modern German Plunder "lumber, trash"), which is related to Middle Dutch plunder "household goods;" Frisian and Dutch plunje "clothes." A word acquired by English via the Thirty Years War and applied in native use after the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642. Related: Plundered; plundering. Plunderbund was a U.S. colloquial word from 1914 referring to "a corrupt alliance of corporate and financial interests," with German Bund "alliance, league."


"goods taken by force; act of plundering," 1640s, from plunder (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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