Definition of freebooter in English:



  • A pirate or lawless adventurer.

    • ‘The process, compounding the turmoil and collapse of 1979-80, gradually de-professionalized the armed forces and gave power to a variety of ethnic-regional factions, self-serving warlords, and criminal freebooters.’
    • ‘Not long after Ivan the Terrible captured the Tatar city of Kazan in 1552, Russian freebooters acting in the Tsar's name began to penetrate beyond the Urals.’
    • ‘On receiving the report of their scouts, the freebooters determined on the desperate venture.’
    • ‘Shortly after the Civil War, the ‘dispossessed and freebooters,’ as one rancher described them, established sprawling cattle ranches on the rich bottomlands of the Yellowstone River.’
    • ‘Cantankerous, colorful, and roiled by clashing personalities, this eclectic confederacy of dirtbags, freebooters, and aristocrats represents the crowning ambition of working guides all across America.’
    • ‘Mary was to discover he was a ruthless murderer, leader of a gang of freebooters.’
    • ‘Powerful merchant companies drove the process forward, and on the outermost fringe or cutting edge of empire, the aggressive initiative often came from a bizarre mixture of adventurers, freebooters, and pirates.’
    • ‘Hence the term ‘filibuster,’ derived from the Spanish filibustero, or freebooter, meaning ‘pirate.’’
    • ‘In 1891-92 Iran was roiled by protests against a tobacco monopoly granted to a British freebooter, a Major Talbot.’
    • ‘His tales involve a rogue's gallery of European freebooters with names like John Blackthorne, Ian Dunross, and Tab Thumpchest.’
    • ‘Here he arranged for the capture of Bowles, and soon the freebooter was brought to New Orleans in chains, and from thence sent to Madrid, in Spain, where we must leave him for the present.’
    • ‘This is a political freebooter and scoundrel who is fated to end up in the company of sinister and fascist-minded elements.’
    • ‘The very epitome of the 16th-century military freebooter and vagabond, the landsknecht was rightly feared wherever he went.’
    • ‘These whores join a rich cast of freebooters, gamblers and politicians.’
    • ‘Only Sir Francis Drake and other naval freebooters enjoyed success.’
    • ‘His people, leaderless, turned into freebooters and mercenaries, spreading chaos wherever they went.’
    • ‘But other local warlords, who have access to drug money and other resources, continue to expand their forces or draw freebooters to their ranks.’
    • ‘It was the classic behavior of unfettered freebooters, and it ended in the familiar way.’


Late 16th century: from Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrij free + buit booty, + the noun suffix -er. Compare with filibuster.