Pirate Lingo

Brush up on your “Pirate Talk” with these helpful pirate phrases. 

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Pirate catch phrase of grumbling or disgust
Ahoy! Hello!
Ahoy, Matey Hello, my friend!
Ahoy, Me Hearties! Hello, my friends, crew members, etc.; addressed to group
All Hands on Deck! Everyone touch the deck!
Avast Ye Pay attention and check this out!
Aye Yes
Aye, Aye A crew member says this to the Captain, meaning “I will get that done right away!”
Batten Down The Hatches Tie everything down and put stuff away for a coming storm.
Bilge-Sucking An insulting expression of disdain
Blimey! Surprise, shock
Blow me down! Phrase of amazement or shock
Blow The Man Down The Captain’s command to get rid of a person
Booty A treasure
Bounty A reward for capturing a known criminal, such as a pirate
Bring a Spring Upon ‘er Turn the ship in a different direction
Broadside The most vulnerable angle of a ship that runs the length of the boat
Buccaneer A pirate
Bucko Friend, a pirate, same as a buccaneer
Carouser Reckless or loud person who drinks excessively
Cat O'Nine Tails A special kind of whip that has 9 strands
Chantey Song sung together by sailors or pirates in unison, while they work
Chase A vessel that is being pursued
Chase Gun The main cannon at the bow of a ship
Clap of Thunder Strong, alcoholic drink, like a shot
Cleave Him to the Brisket An order to kill a man by cutting across his chest from the shoulders to stomach.
Clipper Fast-moving boat or ship
Coffer The treasure chest
Cog Smaller war ship
Corsair Pirates from the Mediterranean
Crack Jenny’s Teacup Term for spending the night with a prostitute
Crow's Nest A small lookout platform near the mast to see long distances
Cutlass A thick, heavy and rather short sword blade for pirates
Davy Jones' Locker A mystical fable about an evil spirit from the bottom of the ocean that draws pirates or sailors down to their death
Dead Men Tell No Tales An expression meaning no survivors left behind
Doubloons Types of Spanish gold coins piratesfind
Fathom Six feet
Feed the Fish About to die
Fire in the Hole Warning given to crew before a cannon is fired
Flogging Severe beating of a person
Galley Flat ship propelled manually by oars
Gangplank Removable ramp between the pier and ship
Go on Account A phrase pirates used to say they were turning into a pirate
Grog Rum or liquor diluted by water
Grog Blossom Someone with a red nose from drinking too frequently, alcoholic
Hands Crew members or sailors of a ship
Hang ‘Emfrom the Yardarm Type of punishment served to a prisoner
Hang the Jib Frown or pout
Head Potty or toilet on a pirate ship
Hearties Friends, fellow comrades or sailors
Heave Ho Put your weight and muscle into it
Heave To Stop!!
Hempen Halter A rope hanging noose
Hornswaggle Cheat or defraud someone out of assets or money
Jack Flag flown at the front of ship to show nationality
Jack Ketch The hangman. “Dance with Jack Ketch” means to hang
Jacob's Ladder A rope ladder used to climb aboard a boat
Jolly Roger Black pirate flag with white skull and crossbones
Keelhaul Painful punishment whereby the pirates drag a person side-to-side under the pirate ship and they get cut up by the planks and barnacles from the bottom of the ship
Killick Small, stone anchor with a wooden frame
Lad, lass, lassie A kid or young person
Landlubber An inexperienced or clumsy person who doesn't have any sailing skills
Letters of Marque Government-issued letters allowing privateers the right to piracy of another ship during wartime
Lookout The pirate who keeps watch for land or oncoming ships
Loot Stolen money or belongings
Man-O-War A pirate ship that is decked out and prepared for battle
Maroon Leave someone stranded on a deserted island with no supplies, which was a common punishment for any crew members who disrespected or dishonored the Captain
Marooned To be abandoned with no food, drink, or possessions
Me My
Mizzen The 3rd mast from the ship’s bow of bigger ships
Mutiny When crew gang up against the Captain of the ship or other authority
No Prey, No Pay The ship’s crew received no wages; however they got a part of the loot or treasure
Old Salt Experienced pirate or sailor
Pieces of eight Spanish coins in pirate treasures
Pillage Rob, ransack or plunder
Piracy Robbery performed at sea, often to another ship
Plunder Take booty or burglarize
Poop deck (Not the toilet!) This is a part of the ship above the Captain’s headquarters at the farthest point back
Privateer Government-appointed pirates
Red Ensign British Flag
Rum Pirate's favorite alcoholic beverage
Run a Rig Play a joke or a trick on someone
Run a Shot Across the Bow Warning shot given to another boat's Captain
Sail, Ho! A warning that another ship is in view
Savvy? A question asking, “Do you get it?” or “Do you understand?”
Scallywag A kidding type of word that a superior pirate might call one of the rookie pirates
Scourge of the 7 Seas Pirate known as the worst kind
Scurvy Dog The pirate is calling you an insulting name
Scuttle Sink a ship
Seadog A veteran sailor or old pirate
Sea Legs When a sailor adjusts his balance from riding on a boat for a long time
Shark Bait This is what you become after you walk the plank
Shipshape The ship is managed and clean, everything is under control
Shiver Me Timbers! Something like, "Holy Cow!" a surprised or shocked expression
Sink Me! Another expression of surprise
Son of a Biscuit Eater A name or insult for someone you dislike
Splice the Mainbrace! Pass a round of drinks out to the crew
Spyglass Telescope
Squiffy Tipsy or intoxicated, shaky footing
Strike Colors Lower a ship’s flag to indicate surrender
Swab Mop or clean the ship’s deck and floorboards
Take a Caulk Take a nap
Tar Sailor, crew member
Thar She Blows! Whale sighting
Three Sheets to the Wind Very drunk, intoxicated
Walk the Plank Prisoner is ordered to walk off the board overlapping the ocean, which results in drowning and presumably a meet-up with Davy Jones Locker.
Weigh Anchor and Hoist the Mizzen! An order to the crew to pull up the anchor and get this ship sailing!
Wench A woman or peasant girl
Ye You
Yellow Jack When a ship flies a yellow flag, it indicates the presence of an ill crew member, such as yellow fever. But this was also a trick that smart pirates used to avoid becoming the target of another ship.
Yo Ho Ho! A cheery expression to get someone’s attention