The definitions on this page, reflect the changes in meanings attributed to the words that are related to piracy
(as well as the word piracy itself) from the middle ages up till now. The Dutch equivalent for each word is mentioned
1250-1300 A. Dictionary of the first, or oldest words...
1626 The English dictionarie: or, an interpreter ...
1656 Glossographia: or a Dictionary, interpreting ...
1676 English Dictionary explaining the difficult ...
1755 A Dictionary of the English language in which ...
1970 The advanced learner's dictionary of current ...
1939 A dictionary of the Low-Dutch element in the ...
1966 The Oxford dictionary of English etymology
1988 The Barnhart dictionary of etymology
A Dictionary of the first, or Oldest Words in the English Language:
from the Semi-Saxon period of A.D. 1250 to 1300. consisting of An Alphabethical Inventory of Every Word Found in the
Printed English Literature of the 13th Century. / By the late Herbert Coleridge, secretary of the Phililogical
Society. - London : John Camden Hotten, Piccadilly, 1863.
- #1 Pirate (Piraat/Zeerover)
- substantive = A kind of ship (in: Kyng Alysander. 6182)
The English dictionairie: or, an interpreter of hard English words: Enabling as well Ladies
and Gentlewomen, young Schollers, Clarks, Merchants , as alfo Strangers of any Nation, to the underftanding of the more
difficult Authors already printed in our Language, and the more fpeedy attaining of an elegant perfection of the English
tongue, both in reading, fpeaking, and writing / By H.C. Gent. - The fecond Edition, revised and enlarged. - London :
Ifaac Iaggard, 1626
. - Printed by Ifaac Iaggard, for Edmund Weaver, and to be fold at his Shop at the great North dore of [Pauls?] Church
- #1 belonging to a Robber by fea
- #2 A Robber by fea (Zeerover)
- #3 Robbery by fea
Glossographia: or a Dictionary, Interpreting all fuch Hard Words Whether, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanifh,
French, Teutonick, Belgick, Britfh or Saxon, as are now ufed in our refined Englifh Tongue : Alfo the Terms of Divinity,
Law, Phyfick, Mathematicks, Heraldry, Anatomy, War, Mufick, Architeîture; and of feveral other Arts and Sciences
Explicated : With Etymologies, Definitions, and Very Ufeful for all fuch as defire to underftand what they read / By
T.B. of the Inner-Temple, Barrefter. - London : Printed by Tho. Newcomb, 1656
. - Printed by Tho. Newcomb, and are to be fold by Humphrey Mofeley, at the Prince's Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard,
and George Swawbridge at the Bible on Ludgate-hil
- #1 Banditi
- (Ital.) Out-laws, Rebels, Fugitives condemned by Proclamation ; Bando in Ital. Fignifying a Proclamation, Thefe
in the Low-countries are called Freebooters, in Germany Nightingales ; in the North of England, Mofs-Troopers ; in
- #2 Free=booting (Vrijbuiten)
- See Banditi
- #3 Piratical (Piraat)
- (piraicus) of or belonging to a pirate or Robber on te Sea, Pirate-like
English Dictionary: explaining the Difficult Terms that are ufed in Divinity, Husbandry, Physick, Phylofophy, Law,
Navigation, Mathematicks, and other Arts and Sciences : containing Many Thousands of Hard Words (and proper names of
places) more than are in any other Englifh Dictionary or Expofitor together with the etymological derivation of them
from their proper fountains, whether Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, or any other Language in a method more
comprehenfive, than any that is extant / by E. Coles. - London, E. Coles, 1676
. - By E. Coles, school-mafter and teacher of the tongue to foreigners. - Printed for Samuel Crouch, at the corner
shop of Popes-Head Ally; on the right hand next Cornhill
- #1 Buckaneers (Boekaniers)
- the rude rabble in Jamaica
- #2 Corfary (Kaper/Kaperskapitein)
- -faire, f. a Courfer, a rover, a Pirates fhip.
- #3 Free-booters (Vrijbuiters)
- Soldiers that make inroads into the enemies Country for Cattel, etc. or that ferve (for plunder) without pay
- #4 Piratical
- Belonging to (a pirate)
- #5 Piracy
- the trade of a (pirate)
- #6 Pirate (Piraat)
- I. a Sea-Robber, (formerly any Sea-Soldier, or the Overfeer of a pira or Haven-peer)
A Dictionary of the English language in which the words are deduced from their originals, illustrated in their
different significations by examples from the beft writers : to which are prefixed, a history of the language, and
an English grammar / by Samuel Johnson, A.M. - London : W. Strahan, 1755
. - Printed for J. and P. Knapton ; T. and T. Longman ; C. Hitch and L. Hawes ; A. Millar ; and R. and J. Dodsley
- #1 Bucani'ers (Boekaniers)
- n.f. A cant word for privateers, or pirates, of America
- #2 Co'rsair (Piraat)
- n. f. [French.] A pirate; one who profeffes to feize merchants
- #3 Freebo'oter (Vrijbuiter)
- n.f. [free and booty.] A robber; a plunderer; a pillager
- #4 Freeboo'ting (Vrijbuiten)
- n.f. Robbery; Plunder; the act of pillaging
- #5 Piracy (piraterij)
- n.f. [grieks, piratica, Lat. piraterie, Fr. from pirate] The act or practice of robbing on the fea
- #6 Pirate (Piraat)
- n.f. [grieks, piratica, Lat. pirate Fr.] I. A fea-robber. II. Any robber;
particularly a bookfeller who feizes the copies op other men.
- #7 To Pirate (vrijbuiten)
- v.n. [from the noun] to rob by fea.
- #8 To Pirate (Plagiaten)
- [pirater, Fr.] To take by robbery
- #9 Piratical (Piraterij)
- adj. [piraticus, Lat. from pirate] Predatory; robbing; confifting in robbery
- #10 Privateer (Kaperschip)
- n.f. [from pirate] A fhip fitted out by private men to plunder enemies
- #11 To privateer
- v.a. [from the noun] To fit out fhips against enemies, at the charge of private perfons
- #12 Ro'ver (rover)
- n.f. [from rove] I. A wanderer; a ranger, II. A fickle inconftant man, III. A robber; a
pirate, IV. At rovers, without any particular aim
- #13 Searo'ver (zeerover)
- [fea and rove] A pirate
The advanced learner's dictionary of current english / by A.S. Hornby, E.V. Gatenby,
H. Wakefield. - 2nd ed., 14th imp. - London (England) : Oxford University Press, 1970
- #1 Buccaneer (Boekanier/Kaper)
- [,bake'nie*] n. pirate; unscrupulous adventurer
- #2 Corsair (Kaper/Kaperskapitein)
- ['ko:sea*] n. pirate or pirateship, esp. of Barbary (N. Africa in olden times), attacking ships of European
- #3 Freebooter (Vrijbuiter)
- ['fri:,bu:te*] n. pirate
- #4 Pirate (Piraat)
- ['paierit] n. I. sea-robber; sea-robbers' ship. II. person who publishes a book, etc. in disregard
of copyright v.t. (VP 1) publish (a book, etc.) in diregard of copyright. Pi rat i cal [pai'raetikel]
adj. of, in the manner of, a ~. Pi rat i cal ly adv. pi ra cy ['paieresi] n. [U] robbery by ~s ;
pirating of books, etc. ; [C] instance of either of these
- #5 Privateer (Kaperschip, Kaperkapitein)
- [,praive'tie*] n. (formerly) armed vessel under private ownership, allowed to attack enemy shipping
in time of war ; commander or member of the crew of such a vessel
- #6 Searover (Zeerover)
- n. pirate; pirate's ship
1939 Etymological Dictionary
A dictionary of the Low-Dutch element in the English vocabulary / by J.F. Bense. - The Hague : Martinus Nijhoff, 1939
- #1 Filibuster (Vrijbuiter)
- sb. a. 1587. 'Forms: 6 flibutor, 8-9 flibustier, 9 filibustier, fillibuster, filibuster. † 1. gen. = freebooter Obs rare. 2. spec. A). One of a class of piratical adventurers who pillaged the Spanish colonies in the West Indies during the 17th c. B) A member of any of those bands of adventurers who betweeen 1850 and 1860 organized expeditions from the United States, in violation of International Law, for the purpose of revolutionizing certain states in Central America and the Spanish West Indies (also attrib.).C). In wider sense: one who resembles a 'filibuster' (sense A and B) in his actions; now esp. one who engages in unauthorized and irregular warfare against foreign states. D) nonce-use. A vessel employed in filibustering; a pirate craft 3.U. S. One who practises obstruction in a legislative assembly: see filibuster vb. 2' (N.E.D.)
The word is also used as averb, and from this a new sb. filibusterer 'one who filibusters' has been derived. other derivatives are filibusterism and filibusterous.
According to Skeat (dict 804) and N.E.D. (s.v.) there is no doubt that the ultimate source of the word is Du. vrijbuiter. In M. Du. occurs the word vribuyt, meaning 'taking of free (i.e. retaining as free property by him who takes) booty'. The expression was op vribuyt (vrijbuidt) gaan, hence the sb. vrijbuiter (Kil. vribueter, praemiator; praedo cui quicquid ab hoste capitur, in praemium cedit et pirata)(Mnl. Wdb.).
Though dissimilation may account for the change of r in Du. vrijbuiter to l in Eng. flibutor, Fr. flibustier and Sp. filibusters (Skeat, Princ. Etym. I. 376), yet we think the possibility, as suggested by N.E.D., of the l being due to the influence of Du. vlieboot (eng. flyboat, Fr. flibot, Sp. Flibote) very likely, considering that vlieboot is recorded by N.E.D. in the form flyboat as occuring some ten years earlier than flibutor. Fr. fribustier is older than flibustier (Littré).
A more difficult matter it is to account for the s in the French and Spanish words cited above, whether derived direct from Du. vrijbuiter, or indirectly from du. through the English doublet of filibuster freebooter.
- #2 Freeboot (Vrijbuiten)
- Freeboot sb. 1647-1654. 'Obs. Plunder, robbery.' N.E.D. considers it to be a comb. of free and boot, q.v. supra, after freebooter, but like freebooter it may ad. Du. vrijbuit (v. Dale), M. Du. vribuyt, occurring in the collocation op vribuyt gaen, from which the M. Du. words vribuyten (-buuten, -bueten) vb., and vribueter Du. vrijbuiter, praeminator, praedo cui quicquid ab hoste capitur, in praemium cedit et pirata (Kil.; Mnl. Wdb.).
- #3 Freeboot (vrijbuiten)
- vb. 1592. According to N.E.D. a back-formation from freebooter, which is possible; but equally possible is a borrowing of the Du. vb. vrijbuiten; see prec.
Hence free-booting vbl. sb., and ppl. adj. 1596.
- #4 Freebooter (vrijbuiter)
- sb. 1570. 'Also 6 frebetter, fribooter, 7 frybuter. A pirate or piratical adventurer. Also used transf. and fig.' (N.E.D.). This is ad. M.Du. vribueter, or Du. vrijbuiter (see † Freeboot sb., supra). Cf. also Eng. flibutor, s.v. filibuster, supra.
This word was also used as a vb., now obs. (see 1659 quot. in N.E.D.), and has a derivative freebootery, the practice of freebooters (1822).
- #5 Freebooty (vrijbuit)
- sb. 1623-1749. Obs. A comb. of free and booty (q.v. ante), formed after freebooter. Senses: '1. Plunder or spoil (to be) taken by force; 2. taking of booty, plundering' (N.E.D.).
- #6 ?Norman
- sb. 1769. 'A short wooden bar, thrust into one of the holes of the windlass in a merchant-ship, whereon to fasten the cable' (Falconer Dict. Marine, as cited in N.E.D., s.v.).
N.E.D. states that it is identical with Du. noorman, G. normann, Swed. normand, but we have failed to find the word in this sense in any Du. dictionary, nor is it in Grimm.
- #7 Rove (zeeroven)
- vb. a 1548-1698. 'Obs. Also 6-7 roue. intr. To practise piracy; to sail as pirates' (N.E.D.) s.v. Rove v.2). According to N.E.D. 'ad. M. Du. or M.L.G., roven to rob, but perh. not clearly distinguished from rove = to wander about or over.
Though the word may be either ad. M.Du. or M.L.G., we are surprised at not finding any earlier records of this verb, for the phrase 'rovers of the sea' certainly dates back to the 15th c., and throughout the 14th and 15th centuries we hear of robberies at sea people of Russia and Flanders. About the middle of the 15th c. the Hollanders helped the English to clear out a nest of pirates from Friesland (Bense, A.-Du. Rel. 63-6).
Though Plant. (1573) has rooven opt zee 'mare infestare', yet we have some idea that the Eng. verb Rove is a backformation on the Du. loan-word Rover, which dates back to the end of the 14th c., rather than ad.M.Du. or M.L.G. roven vb.
That confusion should have arisen between the verb to rove = to wander about and this verb is but natral, the more so, as both of them date back to about the same time, a 1548 and 1536 respectively. See rover sb., infra.
- #8 Rover (Kaper[schip])
- sb. 1390. 'Also 4 rovere, 5 rovare, rowar, 5-7 rouer. 1. A sea-robber, pirate. † 2. A marauder, robber. Obs.' (N.E.D.) s.v. Rover). According to N.E.D. 'a M. Du. or M.L. G. rover f. roven to rob'. As the oldest from in English is rovere -- see quot. 1390 in N.E.D. s.v. -- Used by Gower, 'esquier de Kent' (D.N.B. 22: 299-304), and M. Du. rover also had the by-form rovere, which M.L.G., rover does not appear to have, we think borrowing from M. Du. more likely than from M.L.G. Mnl. Wdb. also quotes from Voc. Cop. een zeerovere pyrata.
M. Du. rover(e) has the senses raptor, predo, predator, depredator; spoliator, exspoliator, virpilio (Voc. Cop., as cited in Mnl. Wdb. s.v. Rover(e), senses which e. mod. Du. roover also has (Plant.; Kil.), but it is only in the combination roover opt zee 'rover of the sea' that the English have borrowed the word, though there are a few obsolete cases in which Du. roover robber, is represented by rover in English: see quots. in N.E.D. s.v. Roover 2.
It would have been better, if N.E.D. had stated that the loan-word rover means 'pirate' only when used in the phrase rovers of the sea, or if from the context it is clear that rovers of the sea are meant. In Dutch the word zeerover is also used in the sense 'privateer' or pirate ship
- #9 Rovery (piraterij)
- db. 1600-1610. 'Obs. rare. Piracy' (N.E.D. s.v. rovery). Both in Du. and in M.L.G. there is the form Roverie. Considering the great intercourse between Britain and the United Provinces in the early years of the 17th c., we regard is as an e. mod. Du. rather than an e. mod. L.G. loan-word, esp. as both Plant. and Kill. record rooverij, whereas Br. Wtb. does not record the L.G. equivalent, though Sch.L. gives roverie.
Du. rooverij, like roover -- see prec. -- is only used in the sense 'robbery', so that it is necessary to say zeeroverij when piracy is meant.
- #10 Sea-rover (zeerover)
- sb. 1579-80. '1. A pirate, = rover 1. (Now often apprehended as meaning one who "roves" over the sea: see rover 3.) 2. "A ship or vessel that is employed in cruizing for plunder" (Webster 1828-32). Hence sea-roving vbl.sb. and ppl.a.' (N.E.D.). This is undoubtedly a. e. mod. Du. seeroover pirata, praedo marinus (Kil.), pirate, escuemeur de mer (Plant.) The mod. Du. word zeeroover occurs in both senses (pirate and privateer): see rover sb., supra. This was not the case in e. mod. Du., as we have just seen, for Mnl. Wdb. gives seeroverschip and
Kil. gives 'zeeroverschip naius praedatoria, nauis piratica, paro, myoparo, piraticus myoparo', so that searover in sense 2 can only be a. mod. Du., as is proved by the fact that it occurs only in American English.
Webster (1890) has 'Sea rover. One that cruises or roves the sea for plunder; a sea robber; a pirate; also, a piratical vessel'. Webster here uses the verb to rove in the sense of Eng. to rove = to wander, and not in that of Du. rooven 'to rob, plunder', which may be misleading to those who do not know the Dutch origin of rover in sea-rover. A better definition of Sea-rover, if one wants to throw light on the origin of the word, would be 'a robber who plies his trade on the sea'. Though the Du. loan-word rover in the sense of sea-rover 'pirate-ship, privateer' occurs in English literature from 1590 to 1726, after which it seems to have become obsolete, the Du. equivalent zeerover does not appear to have been borrowed in tis form at all, except in American English. It may have been imported into America by the first Dutch colonists.
1966 Etymological Dictionary
The Oxford dictionary of English Etymology / edited by C.T. Onions ; with the assistance of G.W.S. Friedrichsen
and R.W. Burchfield. - Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1966
- #1 Buccaneer (Boekanier)
- bakenie'r † curer of flesh on a barbecue; sea-rover. XVII. - F. boucanier, f.boucaner cure flesh on a
boucan or barbecue (Tupi mukem, mocaém). The sb. and vb. boucan, buccan (from the F. sb. and vb.)
appear earlier in XVII. The orig. application was to French and English hunters of Oxen and Swine in San
Domingo and Tortugas, who dried the flesh of their prey on a wooden framework called by a name reported by
a name reported by De Léry (16..) as boucan, the Haitian equiv. of which is barbacóa Barbecue. The
name was transf. to the pirates of the Spanish Main whose habits were similar
- #2 Corsair (Kaper/Kaperkapitein)
- kersear privateer XV. Not in gen. use in this form before XVII, current early forms being corsale, cursarie,
corsario, cursaro. -F. corsaire, † coursaire, † cursaire, Pr. corsari, Sp. corsario, It. corsale,
-are, † -aro, † -ario :- Rom. (medL.) cursarius, f. cursa and cursus course. See courser.
- #3 Freebooter (vrijbuiter)
- fri'bu:ter piratical adventurer. XVI. - Du. vrijbuiter, † -bueter; cf. Filibuster
- #4 Norman
- nor.man pl. -mans native of Normandy XIII (Lat.);adj. XVI (N. English XVI, N. French XVII; (archit.) XVIII). orig. in pl. - (O)F. Normans, -anz, pl. of Normant (mod. -mand) - ON. Nordmaor, pl. -menn, which was adopted as OE. Norpmann, pl. -menn, *Norman, pl. Normen, OHG. Nordman (Du. Noorman, G. Normanne); see NORTH, MAN. ¶ The scand. word is repr. in mod. times (from XVII) by Northman.
- #5 Pirate (Piraat)
- paie'rat sea-robber XV (Lydg.); marauder XVI; fig. of literary or other plundering XVIII. - L. pirata - Gr.
peirates, f. peiran attempt, attack, peira attempt, trial :- *perja, f. *per-, as in experiment, peril. So
piracy paie'resi. XVI. - AL. piratia - Gr. peirateia. piratical pairae'tikl XVI. f. L. piraticus - Gr.
peiratikos. Of CEur. range
- #6 Privateer (Kaperschip/Kaperkapitein)
- praivitier vessel owned and officered by private persons holding letters of marque, commander of this. XVII; after volunteer ; earlier called private man of war.
- #7 Rover (zeerover)
- rou'ver sea-robber, pirate. XIV (Gower). - MLG., MDu. rover, f. roven rob, reave
- #8 Viking
- vai.kin, vi.kin Scandinavian sea-rover. XIX. First appears in Icel. form vikingr (G. Chalmers, 1807) or var. of this , vikinger, -ir, later viking (Longfellow), also wiking (E.A. Freeman). - ON. (Icel.) vikingr (x), commonly held to be f. vik creek, inlet + -ingr -ING, as if 'frequenter of inlets of the sea'; but the existence of the word in Anglo-Frisian (in OE. as early as VIII in wicingsceapa 'piraticus', in OFris. witsing, wising) suggests that it originated in that linguistic area, in which case it was prob. f. OE. wic, OFris. wik (see WICK) in the sense of 'camp', the formation of temporary encampments being a prominent feature of viking raids.
1988: Etymological Dictionary
The Barnhart dictionary of Etymology / Robert K. Barnhart, ed. - [Bronx, N.Y.] : Wilson, 1988
- #1 Buccaneer (Boekanier)
- n. 1661, a French settler employed as a hunter of wild oxen on the Spanish coasts of America,
borrowed from French boucanier one who dries and smokes meat on a boucan, a barbecue, after
the manner of the Indians, from an Indian word of the Caribbean area (perhaps Tupi mocaém,
transcribed as mukem in a Portuguese travel account, 1587); for suffix see -eer. By 1690 the word
was applied to French and then to British piratical rovers who were driven from their business of
hunting wild oxen by the Spanish authorities and turned to plundering goods. In the 1800's it was
extended to any pirate or sea rover
- #2 Corsair (Piraat)
- n. 1549, borrowed from Middle French corsaire pirate, from Italian corsaro, from Medieval Latin
cursarius runner, from cursus hostile excursion, booty, from Latin cursus (genitive cursus) a race,
journey, from past participle of currere to run; see current. Doublet of Hussar.
- #3 Freebooter (Vrijbuiter)
- n. pirate. 1570 frebetter, borrowed from Dutch vrijbuiter, from vrijbuiten to rob, plunder (vrij free +
buit booty, from buiten to exchange or plunder, from Middle Dutch buten, related to Middle Low
German bute exchange; see free and booty). Doublet of Filibuster
- #4 Filibuster (vrijbuiter)
- n. deliberate hindering of legislation by making long speeches, etc. About 1851, in American English
Fillibustier, Flibuster; later Filibuster (1855) any American who engaged in uprisings in Latin America,
especially Cuba and later in Mexico and Nicaragua; borrowed from Spanish Filibustero a freebooter,
and from French Flibustier. The word is recorded earlier in English Flibutor pirate or adventurer, again
in reference to activities of such individuals in the region of the Caribbean (before 1587); borrowed
from Dutch vrijbuiter freebooter. The relationship of borrowing from Dutch to French and Spanish and
English is unclear. Perhaps French Flibustier came from English Flibutor, and earlier directly from the
Dutch in the form of Fribustier. The distinction of nomenclature among the adventurers in the Caribbean
area during the 1500's and 1600's is confused by the activities they engaged in. The French settlers
hired as hunters for the Spanish (buccaneers), were driven out and turned to plundering so that the
Bucaner took on the new meaning of pirate; this overlapped with the Freebooter or Filibuster (Flibuster)
or common rover. Doublet of Free-booter.
Though the meaning of an act or instance of obstructing legislation by prolonging debate, is first
recorded in 1890 in the Congressional record, it is implied earlier in the sense of legislator who prolonged
debate, first recorded in 1853. This latter sense has been replaced in the form of Filibusterer (1855).
--v. to engage in a legislative filibuster. 1853, in American English; from the noun
- #5 Norse
- n. people of ancient Scandinavia, especially Norwegians or a Norwegian. 1598, probably borrowed from earlier modern Dutch Noorsch, adj., Norwegian (now Noors), from noordsch (now noords) northern, from noord (NORTH); also perhaps in some instances borrowed from modern Danish or Norwegian norsk (reminiscent of Shakespeare's use of Dansker for "Dane").
A parallel form northman has existed in English since the time of Alfred (before 899) and has had a discontinuous history, appearing in the record of Old English until about 1000 and then reappearing in 1605. During the Middle English period the form was altered to northern man, appearing before 1200. -adj. of ancient Scandinavia, its people, or their language. 1768, in Thomas Gray's Odes; from the noun.
- #6 Pirate (Piraat)
- n. Probably before 1300, in Kyng Alisaunder; earlier as a surname Pyrot (1254); borrowed from Old French
Pirate, and directly from Latin pirata sailor (in Medieval Latin piratus sea robber, 1328) from Greek
peirates brigand or pirate; literally, one who attacks, from peiran to attack, make a hostile attempt on,
try, from peira trial, experience, an attempt, attack; see fear. The transferred meaning of a person who
appropriates or reproduces the work or invention of another without right or permission is first recorded
in 1701, in Defoe's works.
- #7 Piracy (Piraterij)
- n. Before 1552 borrowed from Medieval Latin piratia, from Medieval Greek *peirateia, from Greek peirates
Pirate; fro suffix see -cy. --Piratical adj. 1565, obtained by piracy (but implied earlier in
piratically by piracy, 1549); 1579-80, of or like a pirate; formed in English from Latin piraticus (from
Greek peiratikos, from peirates pirate) + English -al
- #8 Privateer (Kaperschip/Kaperkapitein)
- (pri'vetir) n. privately owned armed ship holding a government commission to attack and capture enemy
ships. 1664, formed from English private, adj. + -eer, probably patterned after volunteer; originally an
informal term for private man of war (1646)
- #9 Rove
- v. 1536, wander about, roam; of uncertain origin. Early modern English rove may be a dialect variant of
earlier northern British English and Scottish dialect rave to wander, stray, rove; developed from the
Middle English Raven (probably about 1380), probably borrowed from a Scandinavian source (compare
Icelandic rafa to wander, rove
This word is connected by the OED with the verb rove, a term in archery meaning to shoot arrows at
random marks, on the basis of an earlier (1474) citation for the archery term. However, the difference
in meaning between the two words makes such a connection doubtful. A more plausible relationship may be
found in the obsolete verb rove to sail as pirates, roam the seas as rovers (implied in roving, 1513),
which was probably a back formation from rover
- #10 Rover (zeerover)
- n. sea robber, pirate. Before 1393 rovere, in Gower's Confessio Amantis; borrowed from Middle Dutch
rover, rovere, robber, predator, plunderer (especially in zeerovere sea robber, pirate), from roven to
rob; for suffix see -er
- #11 Viking
- or viking n. 1807 vikingr one of the Scandinavian pirates who raided the coasts of Europe from the 700's to the 900's; borrowed from Old Icelandic vikingr (possibly with the sense of one who came out of the inlets of the sea, and formed from Old Icelandic vik creek, inlet, bay + -ingr -ing). The modern Icelandic form is vikingur. The spelling viking is first recorded in English in 1840. The word is not found in Middle English , but came into use in modern historical writings. However, cognates of the Old Icelandic word are found in Old English wicing (occurring in compounds as early as the 700's) and Old Frisian wizing, wising, which, according to the OED, is "from a date so early as to make its (viking) Scandinavian origin doubtful ... because evidence for vikingr in ... Old Icelandic is doubtful before the latter part of the 10th cent." Thus, Old English wicing was probably derived from wic village, camp, from Latin vicus; see VICINITY.
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