Definition of piracy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpʌɪrəsi/


1 [mass noun] The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.
Example sentences
  • Recent examples of Somalian piracy includes raids on ships carrying supplies for the UN World Food Programme.
  • Koizumi told reporters that many incidents of piracy have occurred despite shipping companies' own efforts to protect themselves.
  • She couldn't possibly wear it often, and much less know about ships and piracy.
robbery at sea, freebooting
historical buccaneering
1.1A practice similar to piracy but in other contexts, especially hijacking: air piracy
More example sentences
  • The topic was the arming of airline pilots as a defense against air piracy and terrorism.
  • Nevertheless, Mr. Critton's act of air piracy is very much the context of the crimes for which he is to be sentenced.
  • On May 17, a West German court convicted Mohammad Ali Hamadei of murder and air piracy and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
2The unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work: software piracy
More example sentences
  • Preston also sought the hack printers who actually produced the piracies.
  • Willetts therefore argued that, far from destroying an industry, his piracies had no significant effect at all on existing publishers' sales.
  • Newton learned to exploit the commercial press by secretly publishing his works and disowning them as piracies.
illegal reproduction, plagiarism, illegal copying, copyright infringement, bootlegging, stealing, theft


Mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek pirateia, from peiratēs (see pirate).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pir¦acy

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