When did ‘buccaneering’ become a good word?


UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants Britain to be a “buccaneering, trading, investing nation right around the world”. But despite the word’s roots, he doesn’t mean the UK is a nation of thieves and murderers, writes Trevor Timpson.

Buccaneers were the classic Caribbean pirates.

They were horribly violent, ruthless robbers. Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, went into battle with pieces of burning slow match stuck in his filthy, matted beard and hair.

To some the word still means someone who greedily grabs what they want by force. “Buccaneer capitalism” was blamed by some for the financial crisis of 2008.

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