1. One who commits or practices piracy at sea.
2. One who makes use of or reproduces the work of another without authorization.
3. One who illegally intercepts or uses radio or television signals, especially one who operates an illegal television or radio station.
v. pi·rat·ed, pi·rat·ing, pi·rates
1. To attack and rob (a ship at sea).
2. To take (something) by piracy.
3. To make use of or reproduce (another's work) without authorization.
To act as a pirate; practice piracy.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pīrāta, from Greek peirātēs, from peirān, to attempt, make an attempt on, try for, from peira, attempt; see per-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
pi·ratic (pī-rătĭk), pi·rati·cal (-ĭ-kəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.