Part of speech: noun
Origin: Middle French, 16th century
A fast ship used for piracy
A pirate, usually from the Barbary Coast
Examples of Corsair in a sentence
"The prize in his collection of model ships was a corsair."
"Historically, corsairs ran secret operations on ships along the coast of North Africa."
Popularity Over Time
"Corsair" is quite a romantic synonym for pirate or pirate ship. This word has been used in many contexts, including titles for books, newspapers, music, video games, and even cars. Even the military can appreciate the history of a corsair. Several U.S. military aircraft models have been dubbed with the name corsair.
Did you Know?
Corsair comes from the Middle French word “corsaire,” meaning pirate. Barbary corsairs were rogue pirates, operating off the coast of North Africa, where a large population speaks French. But the French corsairs were privateers, sanctioned by the French government. They would capture other ships and cargo and receive a portion of the proceeds, with the rest going back to the government.