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"Irish freebooter," 1680s, originally "pikeman," from Irish rapairidhe, plural of rapaire "half-pike." Kind of soldier prominent in the war of 1688-92.
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.