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<   No. 4231   2020-04-13   >

Comic #4231

1 Higgs: I be a bit confused, Miss Wendy. We be plannin’ to raid Martinique?
1 Wendy: Aye.
2 Higgs: Don’t pirates be attackin’ ships?
3 Higgs: Don’t that be belike the definition o’ piracy?
4 Wendy: Ye be worryin’ o’er a trifle, lad, if that be yer biggest concern about our historical accuracy!

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Hmmm. I was going to point to Wikipedia, but its opening sentence on the subject of piracy is:

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties.

Although more traditional lexicographic entities provide definitions backing up my joke (ignoring the newer definitions based on illegally copying digital files and such):

The Cambridge Dictionary: the act of attacking ships in order to steal from them.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary: an act of robbery on the high seas.

The Macmillan Dictionary: the crime of stealing things from ships while they are sailing.

The Collins Dictionary: robbery at sea carried out by pirates.

And even robbery or illegal violence at sea.

And Wiktionary: robbery at sea, a violation of international law; taking a ship away from the control of those who are legally entitled to it.

Not one of these sources mentions attacking coastal areas. I wonder which Wikipedia editor decided, apparently unilaterally, that attacking coastal areas also fell under the definition of piracy? (Yes, I could find out by trawling the article edit history, but I have better things to do.) And why nobody has challenged it? (The article's talk page is silent on the issue.)

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