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privateer

Line breaks: pri¦vat|eer
Pronunciation: /ˌprʌɪvəˈtɪə
 
/

Definition of privateer in English:

noun

1 historical An armed ship owned and crewed by private individuals holding a government commission and authorized for use in war, especially in the capture of merchant shipping: she was captured by a French 44-gun privateer
More example sentences
  • The US navy also took 50 merchant ships, while privateers took a further 450.
  • The basis for the story is that in February 1704, William Dampier, a noted British buccaneer and navigator, arrived at Juan Fernandez with two ships, both licensed privateers.
  • Great names are associated with the privateers and the ships that sailed the waters off the south coast of Ireland including the name of the great John Paul Jones.
1.1A commander or crew member of a privateer, often regarded as a pirate: Francis Drake disliked other privateers poaching prizes he regarded as his own
More example sentences
  • The difference between pirates and privateers was that the pirates were simply sea robbers who captured or looted ships at sea for plunder, without authority.
  • However, American neutral shipping suffered grievous losses at the hands of the Royal Navy and French privateers.
  • Nearly all the slaves were brought to Bermuda from the West Indies or as slaves on ships captured by Bermuda privateers.
2An advocate or exponent of private enterprise: it may be instructive to compare the supposedly wasteful public sector with the supposedly lean privateers
More example sentences
  • The executive of the Scottish Parliament is handing another £100 million of public money over to privateers to ensure the privatisation of Glasgow's council housing goes ahead.
  • But before politicians get too excited, it may be instructive to compare the supposedly wasteful public sector with the supposedly lean privateers.
  • There is a danger that London Underground or the privateers who are due to take over will go to court to try and stop the strike ballot.
3 Motor Racing A competitor who races as a private individual rather than as a member of a team: he finished top privateer in the world championships
More example sentences
  • The starting lineup for every event includes both factory and privateer racing teams competing for overall wins as well as wins in one of four classes of competition.
  • Jeannette, 21, is no stranger to racing Panoz cars, having driven for Panoz Motor Sports in 2002 and for the privateer JML Team Panoz in 2003.
  • Though a privateer racing effort, Krohn-Barbour Racing will be officially affiliated with the Lamborghini factory.

Origin

mid 17th century: from private, on the pattern of volunteer.

Derivatives

privateering

1
noun
Example sentences
  • Much is made of a claim that the growth of St Peter Port was based on privateering rather than trade, but such an interpretation is not especially new.
  • Piracy against the ships of a hostile nation was perfectly legal - privateering, as it was called, was a lucrative industry.
  • In part, English success in penetrating Mediterranean markets was due to the prevalence of war and privateering.

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