Definition of buccaneer in English:



  • 1A pirate, originally off the Spanish-American coasts.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the mid-1600s, the French used the buccaneers as mercenaries in an unofficial war against the Spanish.’
    pirate, marauder, raider, sea rover, freebooter, plunderer, cut-throat, privateer, viking, bandit, robber, desperado
    adventurer, swashbuckler
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A daring, adventurous, and sometimes reckless person, especially in business.
      [as modifier] ‘a shrewd and buccaneering businessman’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Businessmen seemed to combine a buccaneer's spirit with a slide-rule mind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To handle their constant calls, the air-mile buccaneers went shopping for cell phones.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Corporate buccaneers have found it difficult maintaining their own pace after the licence raj.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘John was lionised in the business press as a Scottish business buccaneer, who sometimes seemed able to walk on water.’
      • ‘Those unwilling to concede that the corruption is pervasive generally blame rogue buccaneers at a handful of companies.’
      • ‘Easy headlines, a strong balance sheet make for a touch of ‘romance’, the image of a business buccaneer.’
      • ‘By 1994 Murphy had become one of the industry's buccaneers - a software contractor with, he says, ‘the ultimate gun-for-hire mentality.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You decide whether to become a space buccaneer or a bona fide trader.’
      • ‘These Internet buccaneers have apparently figured out how to trick the Internet domain naming system and hijack any old name they like.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.