\ \ [17] A buccaneer was originally ‘someone who dried meat on a wooden frame over a fire’. The word comes ultimately from mukem, the term for such a frame in the Tupi language of the Caribbean islands, which in the mouths of early French settlers became boucan (the Haitian term was barbacoa, from which we get barbecue). French boucanier thus came to be applied in the 17th century to a woodsman in the West Indies who prepared his food in such a way; such men were fairly lawless, and took to piratical ways, bringing their name with them in the late 17th century.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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