maroon

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maroon, term for a fugitive slave in the 17th and 18th cent. in the West Indies and Guiana, or for a descendant of such slaves. They were called marron by the French and cimarrón by the Spanish. Formerly much used in the West Indies and South America, the term later came to be used with particular reference to certain blacks living in W Jamaica. The maroons fled when the British began their conquest of the island from the Spanish in 1655 and maintained a hostile independence until 1739, when a treaty granting them lands of their own and virtual independence was concluded.

See studies by C. Robinson (1969) and R. Price (1976, 1979).

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ma·roon1 / məˈroōn/ • adj. of a brownish-crimson color. • n. a brownish-crimson color. ma·roon2 • v. [tr.] (often be marooned) leave (someone) trapped and isolated in an inaccessible place, esp. an island: a novel about schoolboys marooned on a desert island.

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Ma·roon / məˈroōn/ • n. a member of a group of black people living in the mountains and forests of Suriname and the West Indies, descended from escaped slaves.

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maroon2 negro of Surinam and W. Indies XVII; (in full maroon party), pleasure party, picnic XVIII. — F. marron, † maron — Sp. cimarron wild, untamed, runaway slave, f. cimarra furred coat; see -OON.
Hence vb. † pass. and intr. be lost in the wilds XVII, put ashore on a desolate coast XVIII.

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Maroon a member of a group of black people living in the mountains and forests of Suriname and the West Indies, descended from runaway slaves. The name comes (in the mid 17th century) from French marron meaning ‘feral’, from Spanish cimarrón ‘wild’, (as a noun) ‘runaway slave’.

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maroon1 † sweet chestnut of S. Europe XVI; brownish crimson (as of the nutshell); firework XVIII. — F. marron — It. marrone — medGr. máraon.