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maraud (v.)

"to rove in quest of plunder, make an excursion for booty," especially of organized bands of soldiers, etc., 1711, from French marauder (17c.), from Middle French maraud "rascal" (15c.), a word of unknown origin, perhaps from French dialectal maraud "tomcat," echoic of its cry.

A word popularized in several languages during the Thirty Years' War (Spanish merodear, German marodiren, marodieren "to maraud," marodebruder "straggler, deserter") by punning association with Count Mérode, imperialist general. Related: Marauded; marauding.

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