Talk Like a Pirate Day is a thing and these books will give you all the lingo
Arrrrr! Ahoy me-hearties! Ye scallywags ‘av plundered ye’selves some crackin’ booty ‘ere, eh?! ….
Phew! Talking like a pirate is hard work! But yes, Talk Like a Pirate Day really is a thing. So it looks like I need to get in training!
The first steps to release your inner Long John Silver include saying “arrrrr” at all possibly opportunities and sailing a stolen ship through the high seas. No ship? No problem. We landlubbers will master the lingo and pass as pirates all the same!
In order to learn this language, here are some great words and phrases to get you started:
aye – yes
avast! – A command meaning stop or desist.
booty – treasure
Davy Jones’ Locker – A fictional place at the bottom of the ocean. In short, a term meaning death. Davy Jones was said to sink every ship he took over. Thus, the watery grave that awaited all who were sunk by him was given his name. To die at sea is to go to Davy Jones’ Locker.
fire in the hole – A warning issued before a cannon is fired.
grog blossom – A redness on the nose or face of persons who drink ardent spirits to excess.
hang the jib – To pout or frown.
heave to – An interjection meaning to come to a halt.
ho – Used to express surprise or joy, to attract attention to something sighted, or to urge onward.
hornswaggle – To cheat.
motherload – The largest amount of booty discovered.
plunder – To take booty; rob.
run a rig – To play a trick.
Sail ho! – An exclamation meaning another ship is in view. The sail, of course, is the first part of a ship visible over the horizon.
scuttlebutt – Gossip.
Shiver me timbers! – An expression of surprise or strong emotion.
splice the main brace – To have a drink or perhaps several drinks.
walk the plank – Perhaps more famous than historically practiced, walking the plank is the act of being forced off a ship by pirates as punishment or torture. The victim, usually blindfolded or with bound hands, or both, is forced to walk along a plank lying over the ship’s side and fall into the water below. The concept first appeared in nineteenth-century fiction, long after the great days of piracy. History suggests that this might have happened once that can be vaguely documented, but it is etched in the image of the pirates for its dastardly content.
Now, to cement these words and learn other such gems you need to read some pirating manuals!
By which, I do of course mean books containing some pretty crackin’ pirates.
Some are adults books, and many are for children, so share them with your crew of all ages!
THE THREE LITTLE PIRATES by Georgie Adams
Trixy, Tammy and Trig are three little girl pirates who live aboard the ‘Lucky Lobster’ with their pets Mullet the dog, Kipper the cat and a seagull called Gulliver. Their friends include some boy pirates and a friendly sea-monster. Whenever they need to buy teabags or telescopes, all they need to do is to go to kind old Mr Spoons at Harbour Stores. When they hear about a nasty pirate who has been catching all the mermaids in the sea, they set sail to rescue the last mermaid left – tiny Miney-Mo.
PIRATE PRINCESS: PANDORA PANCAKE by Judy Brown
Princess Pandora is in urgent need or rescuing – from a boring marriage to Prince Norman of Moronia. She’s being held captive and the wedding day is drawing near – time to call for Portia the Pirate Princess!
THE HICCUP HORRENDOUS HADDOCK SERIES VOLUME 3: HOW TO BE A PIRATE by Cressida Cowell
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was a Viking Hero – dashing, brave and ever so clever – but even Viking heroes have to begin somewhere. In this adventure, he recounts his early days – when he still had a lot to learn about sword fights, shipwrecks and homicidal dragons.
FLINT AND SILVER by John Drake
After pirates stormed his merchant’s ship, they found one opponent who wouldn’t go down: John Silver. So with six men dead at his hand, Silver is made an offer he can’t refuse: join them or die. On the other side of the world, the legendary Captain Flint is the meanest, most dangerous bandit on the high seas. He fears no other man – until he meets fellow freebooter ‘Gentleman’ John Silver. Together, they forge a formidable partnership as villains-in-arms. But there’s more to piracy than rum and the lash. There’s gold, hundreds of thousands of pieces of it, enough for everyone, in fact – until the arrival of Selina, a beautiful runaway slave, triggers a violent jealousy that turns these best of friends into sworn enemies. And as Flint schemes to secure the vast loot for himself, the legend of Treasure Island begins. CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE AND/OR ADULT THEMES.
THE GHASTLY MCNASTYS: THE LOST TREASURE OF LITTLE SNORING by Lyn Gardner & Ros Asquith
Pirates ahoy! An island-of-treasure adventure starring the nastiest pirates ever to sail the seven seas! The McNasty twins are horrible. Even fish put their fingers over their eyes when they see the twins coming in their ship, The Rotten Apple! But when the despicable pirates’ never-ending quest for treasure takes them to the island of Little Snoring and brings them up against honest youngsters Tat and Hetty, they find they’ve more than met their match.
HENRY HUNTER AND THE CURSED PIRATES by John Matthews
Henry Hunter’s friend Charlie is desperate for help: his parents have gone missing in the Caribbean Ocean, and no one will believe him that something sinister is afoot. It’s up to super-sleuth Henry and his friend Dolf to investigate, but their only leads are local legends about the Sword of Columbus and the feared pirate Blackbeard…
JAKE JELLICOE AND THE DREAD PIRATE REDBEARD by Joanna Nadin
When Jake Jellicoe signs up as cabin boy aboard the Flounder, Captain Dreadnought promises him a share of the loot. But he soon discovers that the captain isn’t all that he seems and, before he knows it, Jake is caught up in a race for the Dread Pirate Redbeard’s treasure!
TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson
When Jim Hawkins sets off as a cabin boy on the Hispaniola he looks forward to the excitement of searching for buried treasure. But spine-chilling adventures and murderous struggles with Long John Silver and his cut-throat pirate band await him on Treasure Island.
THE INDOOR PIRATES ON TREASURE ISLAND by Jeremy Strong
Captain Blackpatch takes the pirates on a camping holiday. Then they get the idea that there’s treasure buried on an island in the middle of a lake. But how can they get to it when none of them like water?
PETER PAN by J. M Barrie
When Peter Pan flies into the night nursery of Wendy, John and Michael Darling, he takes them on the journey – and the adventure – of a lifetime. Mermaids, wolves and Indians weave their spell in the magical Never Never Land – where also lurks the wicked Captain Hook…
What is your favourite pirate book? Or even your favourite pirate word or phrase?
I like ‘grog blossom’ and ‘scuttlebutt’, and am definitely going to try to fit them into as many conversations as I can!
All books listed here are available in the Listening Books library for members to borrow.
This post was written by Holly Newson