ETYM Cf. Late Lat. piratia, Greek. Related to Pirate.
Robbery on the high seas; taking a ship away from the control of those who are legally entitled to it; SYN. buccaneering.
The taking of a ship, aircraft, or any of its contents, from lawful ownership, punishable under international law by the court of any country where the pirate may be found or taken. When the craft is taken over to alter its destination, or its passengers held to ransom, the term is hijacking. Piracy is also used to describe infringement of copyright.
Algiers (see corsairs), the West Indies (see buccaneers), the coast of Trucial Oman (the Pirate Coast), Chinese and Malay waters, and such hideouts as Lundy Island, SW England, were pirate haunts for many years. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the Barbary states of N Africa (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli) were called the Pirate States.
Modern communications and the complexities of supplying and servicing modern vessels tend to eliminate piracy, or confine it to the immediate vicinity of a harbor. However, incidents are increasing in the waters of Hong Kong, W Africa, and Brazil, and particularly in the SE Asian region, where piracy cost $200 million in 1990. In Indonesian territorial waters alone, 200 pirate attacks were reported in 1991. A pirate-monitoring and warning center was opened in 1992 by the International Maritime Bureau; however piracy on the high seas almost doubled 1993–94—the number of attempted boardings declined, but the number of successful boardings (60 ships), hijackings, and attacks in anchorages rose. Most targets were dry-cargo vessels.
The US sent a fleet to fight the Barbary pirates 1800–15, its first overseas naval and marine war, which was successfully concluded when Capt S Decatur forced the bey of Algiers to cease the practice of holding US sailors hostage until tribute was paid.
1. Métier de pirate. Exercer la piraterie.
2. Action de pirate. Acte de piraterie.
3. Fait de s'emparer d'un avion ern vol. Piraterie aérienne.
1. The theft of a computer design or program.
2. Unauthorized distribution and use of a computer program.