Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.


1. an armed, privately owned vessel commissioned for war service by a government
2. a commander or member of the crew of a privateer



(1) A privately owned ship specially armed and allowed by a government to engage in military action against enemy ships. Privateers were known from the 15th to the 18th century in various European and American states.

(2) A private individual who has received special permission from the government to engage in privateering.

References in periodicals archive ?
After coming in second in the LMP1 Privateer Class on November 6 at the Six Hours of Shanghai, the Rebellion team's No.
With more than 18 years of commercial banking experience, Tosetti joined Privateer from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco where he was a commissioned bank examiner.
With a fair wind, and without the intervention of privateers, the 600 miles between Dublin and Bordeaux could be travelled, and letters delivered, in a remarkably short time.
In addition to providing requisite authorization, a letter of marque scheme would regulate the conduct of a prospective cyber privateer and ensure accountability to effect compliance with the letter of marque's mandate.
Michael Auerbach, who has invested in Privateer, has been named the first board member of the private equity firm, Privateer said.
qualified as men-of-war, and privateers intercepted and disrupted
John Hawkins (1532-95) (above) was the first English privateer to realise that the slave trade was very profitable.
Moreover, if the privateer targets the IC's suppliers and customers, those targets are likely to vent their anger at the privateer, not the IC that sold the patents.
In this situation, the merchant would secure a letter of marque and reprisal and arm his ship more heavily than typical of a transport, but, unlike a dedicated privateer, he would also transport goods.
Although widely known as a pirate, he was in fact a privateer, having the backing of the English crown to terrorise the Spanish.
Although widely known as a pirate he was in fact a privateer, having the backing of the English crown to terrorise the Spanish Main.
One of the harder-fought actions was in capturing the American privateer sloop Wasp near Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy in August 1813.