How to Speak Like a Pirate

Arrr, me hearty! It’s time to jump on deck and learn the sayings of the likes of Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver – otherwise you’ll be walking the plank, matey.
Before we get you hooked on whether or not Polly wants a cracker – here’s a few tips to get your arr’ing on:

  • No longer a time for proper pronounciation – it’s time to drop your “g’s” and “v’s” like you would an anchor and pick up an eye patch instead! So, it’s not “sailing”, it’s sailin’, and it’s not “never”, it’s ne’er.
  • We’re goin’ to leave what we’ve been taught about tenses behind us like we do with the horizon, because pirates only ever speak in the present tense. Instead of saying “I am”, you say “I be”, instead of “you are”, it’s “you be”, and so on…
  • They may be busy swashbucklin’, but they certainly find time to polish up their use of adjectives. Pirates love a good old descriptive monologue (cue Johnny Depp), so always double up on your adjectives. So, he’s not just any pirate, he’s a strong, daunting pirate. Get it?

A Pirate’s Dictionary
Let’s take a look through the alphabet and give you an A-Z of popular bootlegger sayin’s and phrases. Remember, pirates loves the letters R and all of those seven C’s.
A – AHOY! (hey)
B – Booty (treasure)
C – Crow’s Nest (where the ship’s lookout is built)
D – Davy Jones’ Locker (the bottom of the sea, where the souls of the dead men are)
E – Eagle (the name of a punishment where the offender is bound by hands and feet to the ship’s rigging)
F – Fiddlers’ Green (the private pirate heaven)
G – Grog (a pirate’s drink made out of rum and water)
H – Hempen Halter – (the noose used to hang people)
I – Impress (to force someone into service)
J – Jolly Roger (the famous black pirate flag with a white skull and crossbones on)
K – Unleash the KRAKEN! (a fictional sea monster, or is it?)
L – Lily-livered (faint hearted)
M – Matey/Me hearty (a friend or shipmate)
N – No prey, no pay (you won’t get paid unless you capture some ships)
O – Old salt (a sailor that has great experience on the seas)
P – Privateer (a pirate sponsored by the Government)
Q – Quadrant (a tool used to measure the altitude of the sun)
R – Ramshackle (in a state of disrepair)
S – Shiver me timbers! (a saying used to express shock or disbelief)
T – Thar (the opposite of here)
U – Upperdeck (the highest deck which runs the length of the ship)
V – Volley (the simultaneous fire of various weapons)
W – Walk the plank (a way to dispatch members off of the ship)
X – X marks the spot (where the ‘booty’ is buried)
Y – Yo ho ho (a pirate’s cheer/laughter)
Z – Zenith (the point of the sky directly above you)
It’s a Pirate’s Life For Me!
It can get a bit wavey on the blue seas, so let’s lighten up the piracy mood with a few jokes, shall we?

  1. What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck.


  1. What makes a pirate angry? You take away the “p”.


  1. Why did nobody want to play cards with the pirate? Because he was standing on the deck.


  1. What did the pirate say when his wooden leg got stuck in the freezer? Shiver me timbers!


  1. What’s a pirate’s favourite part of a song? The hook.

AVAST! We’re shore you’re set to become the next best swashbuckler. If you have any other pirate sayings or top tips you’d like to share with us, then let us know on Facebook or Twitter, and we can fly the jolly roger flag high together! YO HO HO!

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