1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Corsair

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CORSAIR (through the Fr. from the Med. Lat. cursarius, a pirate; cursus, or cursa, from currere, to run, being Late Latin for a plundering foray), the name given by the Mediterranean peoples to the privateers of the Barbary coast who plundered the shipping of Christian nations; they were not strictly pirates, as they were commissioned by their respective governments, but the word came to be synonymous, in English, with “pirate.” The French word corsaire is still used for “privateer,” and guerre de course is applied to the use in naval warfare of “commerce-destroyers.” (See Pirate, Barbary Pirates and Privateer.)