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privateer

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Definition a privately owned warship commissioned to prey on the commercial shipping or warships of an enemy nation; or a crew member of such a ship
  • Like much of the continent, we were taken in by ruthless capitalist privateers.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Mr Clare also stepped out of line, and began privateering about for the weed.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Tess of the d'Urbervilles
  • Supplying the besieged city by sea had become increasingly difficult because of winter storms and American privateers.
    David G. McCullough  --  1776
  • They say the Jeune Amelie was his, which was taken by the Yankee privateer Molasses.
    William Makepeace Thackeray  --  Vanity Fair
  • Have you seen the privateering resolves?
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • "I've got a bill of lading," said Hooch, "so let's have no privateering by your boys.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Red Prophet
  • I only wish I had the command of a clipping privateer to begin with and could carry off the Chancellor and keep him on short allowance until he gave judgment in our cause.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • The Terrible privateer, Captain Death, stood the hottest engagement of any ship last war, yet had not twenty sailors on board, though her complement of men was upwards of two hundred.
    Thomas Paine  --  Common Sense
  • Before that, before it was ever a hotel at all, five full centuries ago, it was the home of a wealthy privateer who gave up raiding ships to study bees in the pastures outside Saint .
    Anthony Doerr  --  All the Light We Cannot See
  • I have not served much in the royal navy, it is true; but I have served, and that is something; and, in the way of privateering and worrying the enemy in his ships and cargoes, I've done my full share.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Pathfinder
  • Still Mrs. Norris was at intervals urging something different; and in the most interesting moment of his passage to England, when the alarm of a French privateer was at the height, she burst through his recital with the proposal of soup.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • "Now here is Mistress Remarkable Pettibones; just take the stopper off her tongue, and you'll hear a gabbling worse like than if you should happen to fall to leeward in crossing a French privateer, or some such thing, mayhap, as a dozen monkeys stowed in one bag."
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Pioneers
  • Merchant ships are but extension bridges; armed ones but floating forts; even pirates and privateers, though following the sea as highwaymen the road, they but plunder other ships, other fragments of the land like themselves, without seeking to draw their living from the bottomless deep itself.
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • We had a good observation, and the captain judg'd himself so near our port, Falmouth, that, if we made a good run in the night, we might be off the mouth of that harbor in the morning, and by running in the night might escape the notice of the enemy's privateers, who often crus'd near the entrance of the channel.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • I knew that we should either go to the bottom together, or that she would be the making of me; and I never had two days of foul weather all the time I was at sea in her; and after taking privateers enough to be very entertaining, I had the good luck in my passage home the next autumn, to fall in with the very French frigate I wanted.
    Jane Austen  --  Persuasion
  • O, Sir, said he, if that's all, don't be concerned, I don't remember one in these seas these fifteen years, except above a month ago one was seen in the bay of Siam, but he is gone to the southward; neither was she built for a privateer, but was run away with by a reprobate Captain, and some of his men, the right Captain having been murdered by the Malayans.
    Daniel Defoe  --  Robinson Crusoe
  • In May a bill passed empowering United States warships to capture any French privateer or cruiser found in American waters.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • Jacobin clubs—pro-French democratic societies—sprung up along his route, and Genet liberally dispensed money to outfit American privateers.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • "I know her," said Cap decidedly; "she sailed a privateer out of Morlaix in the last war; and good cruises she made of them."
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Pathfinder
  • Her only brother, William Smith, had gone to sea, as a captain of marines on a privateer.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams

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