Etymology
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privateer (n.)

1660s, "private man of war, armed vessel owned and officered by private persons, usually acting under commission from the state," from private (adj.), probably on model of volunteer (n.), buccaneer. From 1670s as "one commanding or serving on a privateer." As a verb, 1660s (implied in privateering) "to cruise on a privateer, to seize or annoy an enemy's ships and commerce."

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Definitions of privateer

privateer (n.)
an officer or crew member of a privateer;
Synonyms: privateersman
privateer (n.)
a privately owned warship commissioned to prey on the commercial shipping or warships of an enemy nation;
From wordnet.princeton.edu