- a person who robs or commits illegal violence at sea or on the shores of the sea.
- a ship used by such persons.
- any plunderer, predator, etc.: confidence men, slumlords, and other pirates.
- a person who uses or reproduces the work or invention of another without authorization.
- Also called pirate stream. Geology. a stream that diverts into its own flow the headwaters of another stream, river, etc.
verb (used with object), pi·rat·ed, pi·rat·ing.
- to commit piracy upon; plunder; rob.
- to take by piracy: to pirate gold.
- to use or reproduce (a book, an invention, etc.) without authorization or legal right: to pirate hit records.
- to take or entice away for one’s own use: Our competitor is trying to pirate our best salesman.
verb (used without object), pi·rat·ed, pi·rat·ing.
- to commit or practice piracy.
- a person who commits piracy
- a vessel used by pirates
- (as modifier)a pirate ship
- a person who illicitly uses or appropriates someone else’s literary, artistic, or other work
- a person or group of people who broadcast illegally
- (as modifier)a pirate radio station
- (tr) to use, appropriate, or reproduce (artistic work, ideas, etc) illicitly
n.c.1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), from Latin pirata “sailor, corsair, sea robber” (source of Spanish, Italian pirata, Dutch piraat, German Pirat), literally “one who attacks (ships),” from Greek peirates “brigand, pirate,” literally “one who attacks,” from peiran “to attack, make a hostile attempt on, try,” from peira “trial, an attempt, attack,” from PIE root *per- “try” (cf. Latin peritus “experienced,” periculum “trial, experiment; attempt on or against; enterprise;” see peril). An Old English word for it was sæsceaða. Meaning “one who takes another’s work without permission” first recorded 1701; sense of “unlicensed radio broadcaster” is from 1913. v.1570s, from pirate (n.). Related: Pirated; pirating.