an armed Irish freebooter or plunderer, especially of the 17th century.
any freebooter or robber.

1680–90; < Irish rapaire

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World English Dictionary
rapparee (ˌræpəˈriː)
1.  an Irish irregular soldier of the late 17th century
2.  obsolete any plunderer or robber
[C17: from Irish rapairidhe pike, probably from English rapier]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"Irish freebooter," 1690, originally "pikeman," from Ir. rapairidhe, pl. of rapaire "half-pike." Kind of soldier prominent in the war of 1688-92.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


any of the dispossessed native Irish who employed guerrilla methods to resist the English from the time of the English Civil Wars (1642-51) and more especially after the regular Irish army had surrendered in the Jacobite war (1689-91) in Ireland. They were termed rapparees after their weapons, short pikes (Irish: rapaire). The elusiveness of the rapparees confounded the British for a time, but superior forces, plus Britain's ability to insulate Ireland from foreign, particularly French, support, ended the insurgency.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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