Avast, Me Hearties!

Dust off your swashbuckling garb and practice your plank walk because September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

   Florida has a long and storied history with pirates. In the years between 1500 and 1800, pirates from the Caribbean, including Black Caesar and Captain Blackbeard, sailed the South Florida seas in an attempt to pillage fleets. Though their efforts were often thwarted by hurricanes, storms, and shallow shores, they did present a threat to Floridians. Laws were enacted in the early 1600s to end all forms of piracy, but buccaneers continued to travel around Florida into the 1800s.

   Today, Floridian pirates are a thing of the past and have become a source of entertainment. Below, we’ve compiled a dictionary of pirate terms to help you celebrate this fun holiday. Put your pirate talk to use by setting sail with Black Sparrow Pirates. Join the crew on a family-friendly 65-minute adventure, hosted every Saturday and Sunday—including September 19—that departs from the Riviera Beach Marina and tours around Peanut Island and the Intracoastal. While onboard, recruits will learn more nautical lingo, help out on deck, and even defend the ship from enemy pirates.


Pirate Dictionary

Old make-shift pirate ship at the Billy Bowlegs Festival, via State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
  • Ahoy: Hello
  • Arrrr: The most common pirate sound of contentment, enjoyment, or enthusiasm
  • Avast: Stop what you’re doing and pay attention
  • Aye: Yes, I agree
  • Barnacle: Shell fish that sticks to the bottom (hull) of a ship
  • Bilge: Lower part of a ship, often the dirtiest section; also to talk rubbish
  • Booty: Treasure
  • Bounty: A reward for the capture of a pirate or a criminal
  • Cap’n: Short for captain
  • Chantey/Shanty: Song pirates sing while working
  • Crow’s Nest: Lookout point at the top of a ship
  • Davy Jones Locker: Bottom of the sea; also, a place you never want to be sent
  • Grog: An alcoholic beverage; can refer to beer or a rum drink
  • Hornswaggle: To cheat; also hornswaggler, a person who cheats
  • Jolly Roger: The typical pirate flag, i.e. a white skull and crossbones on a black background
  • Knots: Speed at which a ship travels
  • Land Lubber: Person who prefers being on land
  • Lad/Lassie: Term for a young boy/girl
  • Mate: A good friend
  • Me Hearties: Friends
  • Old Salt: An experienced sailor or pirate
  • Plunder: To steal
  • Poop Deck: Floor that doubles as the roof of a cabin on the upper deck
  • Port: Left side of the ship
  • Shipshape: Cleaned up, in good condition
  • Shiver Me Timbers: An expression of shock
  • Starboard: Right side of the ship
  • Swab: To clean the deck
  • Walk the Plank: Pretty self-explanatory
  • Yo Ho Ho: A pirate cheer

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