Definition of corsair in English:

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Pronunciation: /kɔːˈsɛː/
Pronunciation: /ˈkɔːsɛː/


1A pirate.
Example sentences
  • Reputations spread through any community, and the pirates and corsairs knew who they wanted to work with, as well as who they did NOT want to work with…
  • The old look out towers had to be manned against corsairs but they also earned their keep as observation points for the lucrative and highly organized hunts for the great shoals of tuna fish.
  • Cutthroats, corsairs, and hot-shot pilots we got coming out of our ears.
archaic picaroon, filibuster, sea dog, sea rover, rover, reaver, scummer
rare marooner, sea thief, sea robber, sea wolf, sea rat, water rat
1.1A pirate ship.
Example sentences
  • The Goshawk was probably enough to discourage most pirate corsairs from attacking, but a cruiser was another matter.
  • ‘Or at least a hundred pirate corsairs,’ Garcia added.
  • ‘I'd rather be in my corsair, but thanks for the offer,’ Gualtero said.
1.2A privateer, especially one operating along the southern shore of the Mediterranean in the 16th-18th centuries.
Example sentences
  • French corsairs settled on the western part of the island in the 17th century and Spain recognized the French claims to the area in 1697 in the Treaty of Ryswick.
  • During the Napoleonic wars Reunion, like Mauritius, served the French corsairs as a rallying place from which attacks on Indian merchantmen could be directed.
  • The war at sea was fought mainly by privateers on all sides, and the 2,800 enemy ships taken by French corsairs represent perhaps the greatest consistent success of the war.


Mid 16th century: from French corsaire, from medieval Latin cursarius, from cursus 'a raid, plunder', special use of Latin cursus 'course', from currere 'to run'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cor|sair

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