Definition of buccaneer in English:



  • 1A pirate, originally one operating in the Caribbean.

    ‘the marauding buccaneers who used to terrorize the Mediterranean coasts’
    • ‘In the mid-1600s, the French used the buccaneers as mercenaries in an unofficial war against the Spanish.’
    • ‘These pirates or buccaneers were part of the French fleet as Curacao would have been a rich prize for these pirates who were always on the lookout for rich pickings.’
    • ‘At one time, it used to be said that boys liked books about adventures in strange lands, with plenty of fights, a few buccaneers, hoodlums and cowboys thrown in.’
    • ‘In the 17th and 18th centuries, the islands were feared as the haunt of pirates and buccaneers from Cornwall, France and Spain, who would lie in wait for poorly defended ships.’
    • ‘The most famous buccaneers have been shrouded in legend and folklore for so long that it's almost impossible to distinguish between myth and reality.’
    pirate, marauder, raider, sea rover, freebooter, plunderer, cut-throat, privateer, viking, bandit, robber, desperado
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who acts in a recklessly adventurous and often unscrupulous way, especially in business.
      ‘the company might be a target for an individual buccaneer seeking power and prestige’
      • ‘Businessmen seemed to combine a buccaneer's spirit with a slide-rule mind.’
      • ‘The people she envied were men, the merchant venturers, the buccaneers of capitalism.’
      • ‘But just as the buccaneers moved their sights from building societies to life companies, so too the friendly societies may yet meet their Waterloo.’
      • ‘It mattered not how many soaps were spawned: to get the big bucks from the advertisers who would be drawn to the honeypot, Murdoch and his fellow buccaneers needed sport.’
      • ‘Easy headlines, a strong balance sheet make for a touch of ‘romance’, the image of a business buccaneer.’
      • ‘New studies are out showing that while the pirates of old certainly were not nice guys, they did have a code of ethics that puts today's corporate buccaneers to shame.’
      • ‘By 1994 Murphy had become one of the industry's buccaneers - a software contractor with, he says, ‘the ultimate gun-for-hire mentality.’’
      • ‘Even if most Americans are not aware that subsidy shakedowns debilitate local budgets, they do know the names of the corporate buccaneers who have wrecked retirement plans and kicked the slats out of an already wobbly economy.’
      • ‘Those unwilling to concede that the corruption is pervasive generally blame rogue buccaneers at a handful of companies.’
      • ‘The logo dodgers, the streetfighters who wrecked city centres across the world, the internet buccaneers who saw corporations as monsters stamping down on the little guy, they all fell silent.’
      • ‘To handle their constant calls, the air-mile buccaneers went shopping for cell phones.’
      • ‘These Internet buccaneers have apparently figured out how to trick the Internet domain naming system and hijack any old name they like.’
      • ‘For they define money and value across continents over the heads of political systems and democracies; buccaneers in business suits, they rate the very material we fund and feather our lives with.’
      • ‘She married a man who was erratic, undependable and bad at paying bills - ‘Lots of women like these chaps who are buccaneers, and don't realise they aren't good husband material’.’
      • ‘John was lionised in the business press as a Scottish business buccaneer, who sometimes seemed able to walk on water.’
      • ‘You decide whether to become a space buccaneer or a bona fide trader.’
      • ‘Corporate buccaneers have found it difficult maintaining their own pace after the licence raj.’
      • ‘And I certainly wasn't the first woman to always fall in love with a buccaneer, you know, with someone who's exciting and made me laugh - Ted always made me laugh.’
      daredevil, seeker of adventures, hero, heroine, swashbuckler, knight errant, crusader, venturer, traveller, voyager, wanderer
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century (originally denoting European hunters in the Caribbean): from French boucanier, from boucan ‘a frame on which to cook or cure meat’, from Tupi mukem.