Etymology
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plunder (v.)

"take goods or valuable forcibly from, take by pillage or open force," 1630s, from German plündern, from Middle High German plunderen "to plunder," originally "to take away household furniture," from plunder (n.) "household goods, clothes," also "lumber, baggage" (14c.; compare Modern German Plunder "lumber, trash"), which is related to Middle Dutch plunder "household goods;" Frisian and Dutch plunje "clothes." A word said to have been acquired by neighboring languages from German during the Thirty Years' War, "in which many foreign mercenaries were engaged, and much plundering was done" [Century Dictionary]. Applied in native use after the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642. Related: Plundered; plundering. Plunderbund was a U.S. colloquial word from 1914 referring to "a corrupt alliance of corporate and financial interests," with German Bund "alliance, league."

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plunder (n.)

"goods taken from an enemy by force; act or action of plundering," 1640s, from plunder (v.).

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predation (n.)

late 15c., predacioun, "act of plundering or pillaging," from Latin praedationem (nominative praedatio) "a plundering, act of taking booty," from praedari "to rob, to plunder," from praeda "plunder, booty, prey" (see prey (n.)). Zoological sense recorded from 1907.

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prey (v.)

c. 1300, "to plunder, pillage, ravage," from prey (n.) and in part from Old French preer, earlier preder (c.1040), from Late Latin praedare, collateral form of Latin praedari "to take booty, plunder, pillage; catch animals as game," from praeda "booty, plunder; game hunted." Its sense of "to kill and devour" (an animal) is attested in English from mid-14c. Related: Preyed; preyer; preying.

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depredate (v.)

1620s, "consume by waste;" 1650s, "consume by pillage or plunder," from Latin depredatus, past participle of depraedare "to pillage, ravage," from de- "thoroughly" (see de-) + praedari "to plunder," literally "to make prey of," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)).

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predatory (adj.)

1580s, "involving plundering or pillaging," from Latin praedatorius "pertaining to plunder," from praedator "plunderer," from praedor "to plunder," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)). In zoology, "habitually preying upon other animals," from 1660s.

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marauder (n.)

"a rover in quest of booty or plunder," 1690s, agent noun from maraud (v.).

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piller (n.)

"plunderer," mid-14c., pilour, from obsolete verb pill "to plunder, to pillage" (see pillage (v.)). Related: Pillery "robbery, plunder" (mid-15c.).

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predacious (adj.)

also predaceous, "living by prey, disposed to prey or plunder, predatory," 1713, from stem of predation (Latin praedari) + -acious.

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freebooter (n.)

1560s, loan-translation of Dutch vrijbuiter "plunderer, robber," from vrijbuiten "to rob, plunder," from vrijbuit "plunder," literally "free booty," from vrij "free" (from Proto-Germanic *frijaz, from PIE root *pri- "to love") + buit "booty," from buiten "to exchange or plunder," from Middle Dutch buten, related to Middle Low German bute "exchange" (see booty).

The English word, Danish fribytter, Swedish fribytare, and German Freibeuter were formed on the model of the Dutch word, which is the source of filibuster (q.v.). The back-formed verb freeboot is recorded from 1590s. Related: Freebooting; freebootery.

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