Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[prahy-vuh-teer] /ˌpraɪ vəˈtɪər/
an armed ship that is privately owned and manned, commissioned by a government to fight or harass enemy ships.
verb (used without object)
to cruise as a privateer.
Origin of privateer
1640-50; private + -eer, modeled on volunteer Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for privateer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The privateer now came drawing down to where she lay lurching.

  • His own nephew was said to be among them; but him he would not serve, as he had been captured in a privateer.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Becalmed, the privateer and the frigate anchored a quarter of a mile apart.

    The Old Merchant Marine Ralph D. Paine
  • There was no sign of privateer or pirate, as far as the eye could reach.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • The frigate pursued, and sailing nearly as fast as the privateer, for a time made the water foam about him.

  • If I fell in with an enemy's cruiser or a privateer I must expect to be stripped.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • As he expected, this order was instantly echoed on board the privateer, who thought we intended to try and run aboard of him.

British Dictionary definitions for privateer


an armed, privately owned vessel commissioned for war service by a government
Also called privateersman. a commander or member of the crew of a privateer
a competitor, esp in motor racing, who is privately financed rather than sponsored by a manufacturer
(intransitive) to serve as a privateer
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for privateer

1660s, "private man of war," from private (adj.), probably on model of volunteer, buccaneer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for privateer

Scrabble Words With Friends