Word of the Day Archive
Saturday August 31, 2013
1. a pirate, especially formerly of the Barbary Coast.
2. a fast ship used for piracy.
3. (initial capital letter) Military. a gull-winged, propeller-driven fighter plane built for the U.S. Navy in World War II and kept in service into the early 1950s.
The cassique of Kiawah is already known to us, and we may well conceive that he bore himself toward the little wife of the famous corsair with all proper kindliness.
-- William Glimore Simms, The Cassique of Kiawah: A Colonial Romance, 1859
We were five days at sea in the situation I have just described, and the captain entertained hopes of making the desired port in two days more, when a vessel was descried bearing down upon us, which proved to be an Algerine corsair…
-- Francis Lathom, The Mysterious Freebooter, or The Days of Queen Bess, 1806
Corsair came to English in the 16th century from the medieval Latin cursus meaning "hostile voyage."