September 19th is “Talk Like a Pirate” Day!!


Yo ho ho! Cap’n and Swab on the poop deck!

The GalleyPirates Dictionary
Addled Mad, insane, or just stupid. An “addlepate” is a fool.
Aft Short for “after.” Toward the rear of the ship.
Ahoy Hello!
Arghhh Hmmmm
Arr Yes/That’s great/I agree
Avast! Hey! Could also be used as “Stop that!” or “Who goes there?”
Aye Yes, definitely.
Aye Aye Of course, I’ll do that right away.



Barbary Coast Mediterranean coast off of North Africa.
Be Use instead of ‘am’, ‘are’ or ‘is’.
Begad! By God!
Belay Stop that. “Belay that talk!” would mean “Shut up!”
Bilboes Leg irons attached to the deck of a ship.
Bilge The dirtiest, smelliest and lowest part of a ship.
Bilge rat A rat that lives in the dirtiest, smelliest and lowest part of a ship. This is not a nice name to call somebody.
Bilge! Nonsense, or foolish talk. The bilges of a ship are the lowest parts, inside the hull along the keel. They fill with stinking bilgewater—or just “bilge.”
Bilge-sucking A very uncomplimentary adjective.
Black Spot To “place the Black Spot” on another pirate is to sentence him to death, to warn him he is marked for death, or sometimes just to accuse him of a serious crime before other pirates.
Black Spotted A person/animal that has had a curse put on them.
Blaggard Blackguard. An insult.
Blimey! An exclamation of surprise; WOW!
Booty Loot; Riches that have probably been stolen.
Bosun Boatswain, a petty officer.
Bounty A reward, usually paid by the Government for the capture of a criminal.
Buccanneer Pirates, usually from Hispaniola, who attacked Spanish ships in the Caribbean.
Bucko Familiar term. “Me bucko” = “my friend.”
Cap’n Short for “captain.”
Careen To clean the hull of a ship.
Cat o’nine tails A whip with many lashes, used for flogging. “A taste of the cat” might refer to a full flogging, or just a single blow to “smarten up” a recalcitrant hand.
Chantey A sailor’s work song. Also spelled “shantey” or “shanty.”
Convoy A group of ships traveling together.
Corsair A more romantic term for pirates in the Mediterranean.
Crow’s Nest A lookout point at the top of the highest mast of a ship.
Cutlass A curved sword, often used by sailors.
Davy Jones’ locker The bottom of the sea.
Dead men tell no tales Standard pirate excuse for leaving no survivors.
Deadlights Eyes. “Use yer deadlights, matey!”
Deck – The highest floor on a ship. Deck – The highest floor on a ship.
Deckhand A person working on a ship, sometimes shortened to ‘hand’.
Dog A mild insult, perhaps even a friendly one.
Doubloon An old Spanish gold coin. At different times, it was worth either 4 or 16 silver pesos, or “pieces of eight.”
Fair winds! Goodbye, good luck!
Feed the fish What you do when you are thrown into the sea, dead or alive.
Flog To whip.
Flogging Punishment by caning, or by whipping with the cat.
Fore, or forrard Toward the front end of the ship.
Galleon A large, squarish ship used in war or to carry cargo.
Gangway! “Get out of my way!”
Godspeed! Goodbye, good luck!
Grog Rum mixed with water or any kind of alcohol.
Grub Food.
Hands The crew of a ship; sailors.
Handsomely Quickly. “Handsomely now, men!” = “Hurry up!”
Haven A safe place.
Heave to To change the direction of the ship so it is facing forwards into the wind.
Hold The space in a ship where cargo or prisoners were kept.
Hornpipe A dance or a single reeded musical instrument.
Hornswaggle To cheat.
Hornswaggler A person who cheats.
Hulk The old, dismantled body of a ship, sometimes used as prisons.
Hull The body of a ship, not including the masts and rigging.
Jack Ketch The hangman. To dance with Jack Ketch is to hang.
Jack Tar Sailor
Jolly Roger The pirates’ skull-and-crossbones flag. It was an invitation to surrender, with the implication that those who surrendered would be treated well. A red flag indicated “no quarter.”
Jollyboat A small but happy craft, perhaps even one which is a little dinghy.
Keel The main framework of a ship that runs from the front to the back at the bottom of the ship.
Keelhaul Punishment by dragging under the ship, from one side to the other. The victim of a keelhauling would be half-drowned, or worse, and lacerated by the barnacles that grew beneath the ship.
Kiss the gunner’s daughter A punishment: to be bent over one of the ship’s guns and flogged.
Lad, lass, lassie A way to address someone younger than you.
Land ahoy! ‘I see land.’
Land lubber or lubber A person who likes being on land; a non-sailor, often used as an insult.
Lass Young woman.
Leg Irons Wide rings of metal that were attached to each other and fastened around prisoner’s ankles.
Lights Lungs. A pirate might threaten to “have someone’s lights and liver.”
Line A rope in use as part of the ship’s rigging, or as a towing line. When a rope is just coiled up on deck, not yet being used for anything, it’s all right to call it a rope.
Lookout Someone posted to keep watch on the horizon for other ships or signs of land.
Loot See ‘Booty’
Maroon A  common punishment for violation of a pirate ship’s articles, or offending her crew. The victim was left on a deserted coast (or, island) with few supplies. That way, no one could say that the unlucky pirate had actually been killed by his former brethren.
Marooned Left alone, usually on a deserted island.
Mast The upright pole on a ship that the sails and ropes are attached to.
Matey A piratical way to address someone in a cheerful, if not necessarily friendly, fashion.
Me A piratical way to say “my.”
Me beauty How you would address a pretty lady or something important to you.
Me hearties Typical way for a pirate leader to address his crew.
Merchant Ship A ship carrying cargo to be sold.
Mutiny When a ship’s crew refuse to follow the captain’s orders.
New World America
No quarter! Surrender will not be accepted.
Peg leg An artificial leg, usually wooden.
Piece of eight A Spanish silver coin worth one peso or 8 reales. It was sometimes literally cut into eight pieces, each worth one real.
Pillage To raid, rob, and sack a target ashore.
Pirate A seagoing robber and murderer. Contrast with privateer.
Plunder To steal.
Poop cabin A room built on the top deck of a ship, often the Captain’s.
Poop deck The highest deck at the aft end of a large ship. Smaller ships don’t have a poop; the highest part aft is the quarterdeck.
Port The left side when facing the ship’s pointy end, also a strong alcoholic drink, and the area of land next to where ships are left when the pirates go ashore.
Poxy, poxed Diseased. Used as an insult.
Privateer English, French or Dutch sailors allowed by their Government to attack enemy ships.
Prow The pointy end of a ship.
Quartermaster The sailor second-in-charge to the Captain who is responsible for all rations and provisions
Rigging The ropes, mast and sails on a ship.
Rope’s end Another term for flogging. “Ye’ll meet the rope’s end for that, me bucko!”
Rum (adjective) Strange or odd. A “rum fellow” is a peculiar person, the sort who won’t say “Arrrr!” on Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Rum (noun) Traditional pirate drink.
Sail ho! “I see a ship!” The sail, of course, is the first part of a ship visible over the horizon.
Salt, old salt An experienced seaman.
Scurvy (1) A deficiency disease caused by lack of vitamin C, often afflicting sailors;
Scurvy (2) A derogatory adjective for an epithet, as in “Ye scurvy dogs!”
Scuttle To make a hole in a ship’s hull or to sink the ship.
Sea dog An experienced seaman.
Shanty Another spelling for “chantey” – a sea song.
Shark bait (1) Your foes, who are about to feed the fish (q.v.).
Shark bait (2) A worthless or lazy sailor; a lubber who is no use aboard ship.
Shipshape To be neat and tidy.
Shiver me timbers! An expression of surprise or strong emotion.
Sink me! An expression of surprise.
Smartly Quickly. “Smartly there, men!” = “Hurry up!”
Splice the mainbrace To have a drink. Or, perhaps, several drinks.
Spyglass A telescope.
Starboard The right side of the ship when you are facing toward her prow.
Sutler A merchant in port, selling what a ship needed for supplies and repairs.
Swab (noun) A disrespectful term for a seaman. “Man that gun, ye cowardly swabs!”
Swab (verb) To clean something. “Swabbing the decks” would be a mild penalty for a disobedient pirate.
Swag Loot.
Titivate To clean up and make neat.
Three sheets to the wind To have drunk too much alcohol.
Walk the plank To be forced to walk along and off the end of a plank that has been placed over the side of a ship.
Weevil. A kind of beetle that can eat your food before you do.
Weigh anchor To lift the anchor and be ready to sail.
Wench An individual of the female persuasion. “Saucy” is a good adjective to add to this, and if ye can get away with “Me proud beauty,” more power to ye!
Ye You; your
Yer Used instead of ‘your’.
Yo-ho-ho A very piratical thing to say, whether it actually means anything or not.

2 thoughts on “September 19th is “Talk Like a Pirate” Day!!

  1. Ye forgot Bucko Mate. The term applied to the mate of a sailing trading ship of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who drove his crew by the power of his fists.
    Aloha Capt. Buzz

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