Definition of lascar in English:



  • A sailor from India or SE Asia.

    as modifier ‘the manning of British ships by lascar crews’
    • ‘The following year, the Lascar crew of the Australia were locked in a shed on a Melbourne wharf under guard until they too were shipped out.’
    • ‘The Merchant Shipping Act of 1823 replaced bonding with a law that confined Lascars to East India Company boarding houses and threatened those who did not board the next ship home with imprisonment for vagrancy.’
    • ‘The British officers were buried in the main part of the cemetery but the bodies of the thirty-one Lascar crew members went to the rear of the cemetery in a mass grave.’
    • ‘Winder provides a backstage version of British history, with fascinating descriptions of how poor immigrants arrived from across the world, including Lascars, Chinese and Gypsies.’
    • ‘With origins throughout the lands bordering the Indian Ocean, from Mozambique to Malaya, Lascars had been employed by the East India Company for centuries.’


Early 17th century: from Portuguese lascari, from Urdu and Persian laškarī ‘soldier’, from laškar ‘army’.