Talk like a Pirate!

Avast, matey! How to Please a Pirate just launched. If you don’t want to be taken for a Lubber, you need to bone up on the pirate lingo. Here’s

How to Please a Pirate

Available Now!

a handy little lexicon of essential piratical sayings:

(Note to members of the Red Pencil Thursday circle: Yes, I know every time I use an exclamation point, I kill a kitten, but pirates are not known for subtlety and sometimes a ! is required!)

Ahoy! ~ “Hello!”

Avast! ~  “Hey!”, “Stop!”, “No way!”

Aye ~ “Yes, I most heartily agree.”

Aye aye! ~ “Absolutely, I’ll see to it as soon as I finish my nap.”

Arrr ~  Can mean “yes,” “I’m happy” or “Great beer!” Not to be confused with “Aarg!” (which is the sound you make when you accidentally sit on the sharp pointy end of an anchor!)

Beauty ~ Pirate word for a wench, always preceded by ‘me,’ as in “Why are ye walkin’ away, me beauty?”

Bilge rat ~ A first rate insult, as in “Belay that racket, ye smarmy bilge rat.” The bilge is the lowest deck of the ship, usually filled with slimy water. Of course, if someone made me stay in the bilge, I’d make a racket too!

Grog ~ Watered rum. Since water on board was stored in slimy wooden barrels, it was usually anything but fresh. Grog helped kill the rancid taste.

And several thousand brain cells.

Hornpipe ~  A single reed flute and the wild dance usually done to its music. Not to be confused with the pirate pick up line, “No, me beauty, that’s not a hornpipe in me pocket. I really am happy to see ye!”

Keelhaul ~ A really horrible way to spend an afternoon.  Pirates who violated one of the articles (rules they all voted on and agreed to before the voyage began) might be punished by being tied to a rope that ran under the keel of the ship. The offender was shoved into the water on one side of the ship, dragged against the barnacled-covered hull and hauled out on the other. Rinse, and repeat.

Lubber ~ An insulting word for a landsman. No one wants to be a lubber.

Smartly ~ To do something quickly.  As in “Nip over to Amazon or B& smartly and pick up your copy of How to Please a Pirate!”

Enjoy, me hearties!

What’s your favorite pirate saying?

13 thoughts on “Talk like a Pirate!

  1. Mia says:

    Yes, it’s in September! I’ll let you know when it comes around so you can be sure to “Arrg” with the best of them.

  2. Cate S says:

    Can’t think of anything… but isn’t there a ‘day to talk like a pirate’??

  3. Mia Marlowe says:

    Hornswoggle! What a wonderful word. Let’s make that the word of the day!

  4. Susan in AZ says:


    Rub my belly and hornswaggle me, I believe I could be tipsy as a stack in a storm

  5. Susan in AZ says:

    Whatever happened to “shiver me timbers and rattle me bones, I spy a siren what could lure me from the sea…”

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Excellent pirate saying, Susan!

  6. Melody May says:

    I’m not upto date on my pirate lingo, but this is very helpful. I have to say I like the sentence you used for hornpipe. That gave a chuckle.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Chuckle, smile, coffee shooting out your nose, that’s my goal!

  7. Killin’ brain cells be part a’ the pirate code! I be thinkin’ it may be part a’ the pirate rulebook…

    Do I be havin’ a fav’rite pirate sayin’? Not sure I could be limitin’ meself that way…

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Arrg, Maureen! Is that a parrot on your shoulder or just another fabulous pirate hat?

  8. Jeanne Miro says:

    Hi Mia –

    Ever since my husband and I went to experience Gasparilla Days in Tampa, FL for our honeymoon I’ve loved pirates! Unfortunately I passed this love down to my sons so many sword fights occured in our family room when they were young.

    Having older sisters (no boys) in my family I never got to play “pirates” as a child (definately something you need raising boys) and back then the only “Pirate Speak” I knew was “Aye Matie”!

    I instead would like to share with you my favortie “seafaring” saying since my husband was a Navy man on aircraft carriers during Vietnam and then on P-3’s in the Reserves (submarine hunters of Tom Clancy) fame).

    That saying is:

    To all of you I wish fair winds and following seas!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      “Following seas”… I don’t know what it means, but it sounds like a lovely thing to wish someone.

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