Talk Like a Pirate Day!

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As persons plugged into the beating heart and fevered brow of social trends, visitors to TPV almosts certainly realize the September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a celebratory holiday that, in PG’s bucaneeringly humble opinion, could not exist without the internet.

Should you suffer from thalassoharpaxophobia (thalasso is sea or ocean, harpaxo is robber and phobia is (duh) fear), Your Dictionary has helpfully compiled a list of terms of art frequently used by pirates or people who imagine they understand piratese:

Abaft=Back area of the boat
Ahoy, matey=Hello, friend
Ahoy=Hello
All hands hoay=Everyone get on the deck
Avast ye=Pay attention
Batten down the hatches=A signal to prepare the ship for an upcoming storm
Binnacle=Where the compass is kept on board the ship
Black jack=Large drinking cups
Black spot=Death threat
Blimey!=Something said when one is in a state of surprise
Blow the man down=A command which means to kill somebody
Booty=Treasure
Buccaneer=Name for a pirate
Cackle fruit=Chicken eggs
Coaming=A surface that prevented water on the deck from dripping to lower levels of the ship
Cockswain=The helmsman
Crow’s nest=The place on the ship where the lookout stand is built
Cutlass=Type of sword used by the pirates
Dance the hempen jig=To hang someone
Davy Jones’ Locker=Refers to death
Duffle=A sailor’s belongings
Dungbie=Rear end
Feed the fish=Meaning that an individual or group of individuals will soon die
Flibustier=Pirates of the Golden Age
Freebooter=Refers to an actual pirate
Head=Toilet on board the ship
Heave ho=Instruction to put some strength into whatever one is doing
Hempen halter=The noose used to hang people
Holystone=Sandstone that was used to scrub the ships
Hornswaggle=To cheat
Jacob’s Ladder=Rope ladder that was used to climb aboard ships
Jolly Roger=The famous pirate flag with a skull and crossbones on it
Landlubber=A person who is not incredibly skilled at sea
Man-O-War=The name used for a pirate ship that is all set and ready to go to war
Monkey jacket=Short jacket worn by some of those aboard the ship
Monkey=Small cannon
Old salt=A sailor that has a great deal of experience on the seas
Orlop=Deck where cables are stored away
Poop deck=Deck that is the highest and farthest back
Powder monkey=A gunner’s assistant
Privateer=Pirates who are sponsored by the government
Scallywag=A name that is used as an insult to someone
Scuttle=To sink a ship
Seadog=An old sailor or pirate
Shark bait=Going to die soon
Shiver me timbers=An expression used to show shock or disbelief
Son of a biscuit eater=An insult
Thar she blows!=An expression used when a whale is spotted from the ship
Three sheets to the wind=Someone who is quite drunk
Walk the plank=A punishment which entails someone who walks over the side of the ship off of the plank. Their hands are often tied so that they cannot swim and they drowned.
Yo Ho Ho=There is often used to express some sort of cheer but also can be used to call attention to the speaker.

Link to the rest at Your Dictionary

Or you could cut corners (Ya bilge rat who ortin’ t’ be keel hauled!) and utilize a computerized pirate translator.

6 thoughts on “Talk Like a Pirate Day!”

  1. Or, as I like to call it, “Talk like a West Country farmer Day”.

    Nautical phrases aside, a lot of the pirate “sound” comes from depictions of Long John Silver and Blackbeard, both Bristol men, as portrayed by Robert Newton, a Dorset lad.

    As a friend in a pirate history group once joked, Dorset farmers can have entire conversations almost exclusively with the word “arr”.

  2. PG, I found it a little amusing that your final sentence included the very appropriate keelhauling when this did not make it to the list.

    Also, the list could do with a few more specifically piratical words (maroon for example, the verb not the noun) or you’ll just sound like an old Dorsetshire sailor, or maybe a farmer who was pressed onto one of Hornblower’s ships, rather than a real pirate.

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