Buccaneer'

means sellers of smoke-dried meat, from the Caribbean word boucan, smoke-dried meat. The term was first given to the French settlers in Hayti, whose business it was to hunt animals for their skins. The flesh they smoke-dried and sold, chiefly to the Dutch.

When the Spaniards laid claim to all America, many English and French adventurers lived by buccaneering, and hunted Spaniards as lawful prey. After the peace of Ryswick this was no longer tolerated, and the term was then applied to any desperate, lawless, piratical adventurer.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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