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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 plunderer
Historical Examples
  • And being within the Union lines no plunderer had dared to touch it.

    The Tree of Appomattox Joseph A. Altsheler
  • The Turk has always been a plunderer and has cursed everything he touched.

    Birdseye Views of Far Lands James T. Nichols
  • The noise they made alarmed the plunderer, and he hurried down the ladder as fast as he could.

    Eric, or Little by Little Frederic W. Farrar
  • plunderer and plundered stare at each other for a moment; and that is all.

    Bramble-bees and Others J. Henri Fabre
  • In 1013 Svend appeared no longer as a plunderer but as a conqueror.

  • The great-coat took the plunderer's fancy; he took it down off the peg, and there stood Carter before him!

    Eric Frederic William Farrar
  • Besides, nothing was more shameful than riches which betrayed into captivity the plunderer whom they were supposed to enrich.

    The Danish History, Books I-IX Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")
  • There is true political economy shaking hands with the plunderer of the Saxon!

    Scottish Loch Scenery Thomas A. Croal
  • What at first was obtained by violence was considered by others as lawful to be taken, and a second plunderer succeeded the first.

  • The unregenerate Teuton was a pirate and a plunderer; the settled Saxon became an oversea trader and trafficker.

    The Annals of Willenhall Frederick William Hackwood
British Dictionary definitions for plunderer


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 plunderer



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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