Ahoy! Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19, and ye need to be sure yer in a Jolly Roger mood. Here be 50 common terms any good pirate should know, fer today or any day. Scroll down fer the list.
photo: Blanka via pixabay
Afeard: Afraid, as in “I am most afeared of crocodiles.”
Arrrrrr: In certain dialects, pronounced “yarrr” and commonly used to start a sentence and emphasize a pirate was about to say something important.
Avast: A command to stop, as in “Avast, mateys! Let’s weigh anchor here.”
Aye: Yes, yes! As in, “Aye, aye, Captain!”
Bilge: Old, stinky, gross water that seeps into the ship’s hull. “Put him in the bilge and make him drink it!” was a form of punishment most foul.
Booty or bootie: spoils won from war, pillaging or plunder. Now used more commonly to denote prizes of any kind.
Buccaneer: A pirate, especially one who raided the Spanish colonies along the American coast in the late 1600s.
Chantey: A song, usually of a seafaring nature. Sometimes also spelled chantie or shanty (usually pronounced shan-tee).
Crow’s Nest: A platform high up on a ship’s mast used for spotting ships from a distance. This allowed a greater advantage for plundering.
Corsair: A pirate from the Barbary Coast of North Africa.
Cutlass: A short, curved sword favored by pirates for its ability to end an argument with one brandish.
Davey Jones’ Locker: The bottom of the sea where sailors and pirates have drowned, Davey Jones being a generic name for a sailor.
Doubloon: A gold coin, originally of Spanish origin but used as a general term for gold coins.
Fer: For. As in, “Blackbeard, fer the win!”
Flotsam: Wreckage from a ship and its cargo found floating on the water.
Freebooter: A person who is searching for plunder aka a pirate. As in, “The lousy freebooter stole my apple again.”
Grog: a mixture of rum and water with a bit of lemon. Also any alcoholic drink.
Hearties: Friends. As in, “Ahoy me harties!”
Hornswaggle: To cheat; (someone who cheats is a hornswaggler) as in, “She was sure to hornswaggle the lot of them while they passed out at the card table.” “Or, don’t play Sorry with him, he’s a real hornswaggler.”
Jetsam: Cargo or goods cast overboard on purpose, to lighten the ship’s load.
Jolly Roger: The infamous skull and crossbones flag, which was flown to warn “here there be pirates.”
Keelhaul: to punish by dragging under the ship and up the other side. As in, “Drink all the grog again and we’ll keelhaul ya.”
Kraken: a legendary sea monster, some what like a large ocotopus or squid, that lives in the waters off the coast of Norway. Can be used to declare mayhem, especially when grade schoolers are set free to recess. As in, “Release the kraken!”
Land lubber: A person who does not have much experience at sea or who cannot sail. Usually meant as an insult.
Lass or lassie: A child.
Lily-livered: weak or cowardly. As in, “The lion once was lily-livered but now has found his cuh-raygh.”
Mutiny: To revolt. For pirates, specifically against a ship’s captain, but can be used to describe any act of rebellion (Warning: It’s possible that the teaching of this word could lead to “mutiny” against brussel sprouts)
Peg leg: A wooden leg. Pirates of olden days lived harsh lives and prosthetic limbs were most often created from salvaged wood and iron hooks.
Pieces of Eight: Silver coins. Originally after the Spanish peso de ocho (worth 8 reales, a Spanish increment of money).
Plunder: To take whatever you want. “My little brother tries to plunder my toys all the time.”
Poop deck: The deck on top of the stern (rear) of the ship. Yep. They get to say poop.
Port: the left side of the ship
Privateer: a pirate for hire; someone hired by the government to pillage enemy ships and weaken their forces
Rapparee: an Irish pirate or freebooter
Scallywag: A scamp or a rascal. Not necessarily an evil do-er, but someone out for their own personal gain. “That scallywag traded me empty coconuts for safe passage to shore.”
Scurvy: Originally, a disease with symptoms that includes swollen gums and spots on the skin, brought on by a lack of Vitamin C. Commonly used to describe someone who is nasty, mean or disliked, as in “You scurvy lass, you’ll get none of this treasure.”
Scuttlebutt: A term used to describe gossip, but originally the drinking fountain on a ship. (Around the water cooler, pirate style).
Sea Dog: A pirate, especially an experienced older one.
Sea legs: The ability to keep from getting seasick when out at sea. As in, “Once the storm passed, Davey managed to get his sea legs for the remaining six weeks of the journey and did not get sick again.”
Shiver me timbers: A reference to the wood of a boat “shivering” or rocking with a sudden, unexpected gust of wind, it is an expression that indicates surprise. As in, “Well, shiver me timbers, it’s the Captain’s ghost after all!”
Skull and Crossbones: A human skull above two crossed bones, used on pirate flags and bottles of poison.
Spanker: the sail on the mast closest to the stern of a square-rigged ship
Starboard: the right side of the ship
Swab: a large mop
Swab the deck: To mop the deck of the ship. As in, “Swab the poop deck, ye land lubber.”
Swashbuckler: A daredevil.
Walk the plank: Walking the ship’s plank until you plunged into the sea. Used as a threat and against mutiny.
Ye/Yer: You/Your, use in place in all sentences. As in, “No dessert until ye finish all yer peas.”
Did we miss yer favorite pirate slang? Share it with us in the comments!