N: 1. 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” (cognates: 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.
2. One who commits or practices piracy as a robber on the high seas.
3. Pirates have naturally operated throughout history from small, fast ships which could overhaul their prey at sea, out of reach of interference by other ships, and capture it in boarding. As gunnery developed, pirates also equipped their ships with naval guns, usually captured from other ships, so that they resembled a small warship. Pirates must be distinguished from privateers and buccaneers, though in the latter case the distinguishing line was often perilously thin. When captured, pirates were usually hanged in chains on prominent headlands, where they could be seen as a warning by passing ships or, in England, staked to the ground at Execution Dock, Wapping, to be drowned by a rising tide. The last pirate was executed in England in 1840, in the U.S.A. in 1862.
4. A sea-robber, who, to enrich himself, by subtlety or open force, setteth upon merchants and others trading by sea, despoiling them of their loading, and sometimes bereaving them of life and sinking their ships.
5. Cultural Interrelation: Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, commandeered a reign of terror on the Caribbean Sea that lasted from 1716 to 1718. The sailor began as a privateer for Britain during the War of Spanish Succession, honing his craft as a sea robber before moving on to pirating. A fierce fighter, Blackbeard was as famous for his wild mane of hair as the way he captured ships.
S: 1. OED – https://bit.ly/2Bq8Pwz (last access: 6 February 2019). 2 & 3. GDT – https://bit.ly/2HWnpS5 (last access: 6 February 2019). 4. TERMIUM PLUS – https://bit.ly/2SBrGP2 (last access: 6 February 2019). 5. LSC – https://bit.ly/2SXSzJV (last access: 6 February 2019).