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How to Talk Like a Pirate

September 18, 2015

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. You don’t want to look like an idiot do you? Here are some pirate words and phrases.

Talk Like a Pirate DayFreebooter. Pirates didn’t generally call themselves pirates. They called themselves a lot of things, including “freebooter.”

Monkey. A small, ship-mounted cannon. (Not to be confused with an actual monkey, which may also be found on a pirate ship.)

Duffle. A sailor’s personal effects.

Hempen halter. Ropes were made of hemp, so a noose used to hang an enemy was a “hempen halter.”

Dance the hempen jig. Hanging an enemy.

Black spot. A death threat.

The Davies. “Davey Jones’ locker” refers to the state of death, at the bottom of the sea. When a black spot arises and the idea of sailing under to Davy Jones’ locker was a possibility, a pirate would be reasonably quite afraid, or “have the Davies” or “have the Jonesies.”

Rumfustian. A pirate breakfast of raw eggs, beer, and any hard liquor onboard.

Arrack. An alcoholic drink made from fermented fruit, molasses, or palm sap.

Black jack. A drinking cup for arrack. They were made out of leather and tar.

Splice the mainbrace. A command to give the crew a bit of arrack.

Avast ye! “Pay attention!”

All hands hoay. A command for the crew to get onto deck.

Blow the man down. A command to kill an enemy.

Drivelswigger. A new pirate who spends two much time trying to learn and then use nautical terms.

Cleave him to the brisket. To slice an enemy with a pirate cutlass, across the chest from one shoulder down to the abdomen.

Old salt. An old pirate.

Seadog. An old pirate.

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