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Definition: A Pirate. One who seeks plunder.

Pronunciation: Free-boo-tr


Originally from the Dutch ‘vrijbuiter’, meaning a ‘plunderer’, or a ‘robber’. In fact, it technically translates as ‘one who seeks ‘free booty” (‘Booty’ incidentally comes from the Low German ‘bute’, referring to commodities – or things that are ‘exchanged’).

Why this word?

September 19th is the International Talk like A Pirate Day. Therefore, publishes a pirate reference shows our importance as a provider of public service…!

What particularly fascinated me about Freebooter, however, is its relation to another word. In the 1860s, American adventurers assisted in the (attempted) overthrow of several Central and Southern American governments. They came to be known by a variant of Freebooter – ‘Filibusterer’. After the 1860s, the term ‘filibuster’ came to mean a political act of ‘pirating’ debate by talking down the clock and making it impossible to vote on things.

Thus – it may be inaccurate to describe politicians as dishonest and self-righteous. But US Senators? Pirates – the lot of them!

How to use the word freebooter in a sentence?

Simple. On International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Senators shall be known as Freebooters


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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