Definition of lascar in English:


Pronunciation /ˈlaskər/ /ˈlæskər/


  • A sailor from India or Southeast Asia.

    as modifier ‘the manning of British ships by lascar crews’
    • ‘The Merchant Shipping Act of 1823 replaced bonding with a law that confined Lascars to East India Company boarding houses and threatened those who did not board the next ship home with imprisonment for vagrancy.’
    • ‘The British officers were buried in the main part of the cemetery but the bodies of the thirty-one Lascar crew members went to the rear of the cemetery in a mass grave.’
    • ‘The following year, the Lascar crew of the Australia were locked in a shed on a Melbourne wharf under guard until they too were shipped out.’
    • ‘With origins throughout the lands bordering the Indian Ocean, from Mozambique to Malaya, Lascars had been employed by the East India Company for centuries.’
    • ‘Winder provides a backstage version of British history, with fascinating descriptions of how poor immigrants arrived from across the world, including Lascars, Chinese and Gypsies.’


Early 17th century from Portuguese lascari, from Urdu and Persian laškarī ‘soldier’, from laškar ‘army’.