Top 34 Slang For Pirate – Meaning & Usage

Ahoy, mateys! Prepare to set sail on a linguistic adventure as we delve into the colorful world of pirate slang. From “ahoy” to “yo-ho-ho,” we’ve scoured the seven seas to bring you the most captivating and authentic terms used by these seafaring scoundrels. So strap on your eye patch, grab your parrot, and get ready to talk like a true buccaneer!

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1. Matey

This term is used to refer to a friend or companion, especially among pirates. It is a way to address someone in a friendly manner or to show camaraderie.

  • For example, a pirate might say, “Ahoy, matey! Let’s set sail and find some treasure!”
  • In a pirate crew, one might hear, “Me and me mateys are the fiercest pirates on the seven seas!”
  • A pirate captain might command, “Gather ’round, me mateys! We have a plan to plunder that ship!”

2. Landlubber

This term is used to describe someone who is not familiar with the sea or sailing. It is often used by pirates to mock or insult someone who lacks maritime experience.

  • For instance, a pirate might say, “Ye landlubbers wouldn’t last a day on the high seas!”
  • In a pirate tavern, one might hear, “Look at that landlubber trying to walk like a sailor!”
  • A pirate captain might taunt a captured enemy, “Ye scurvy landlubber, ye’ll never know the freedom of the open ocean!”

3. Buccaneer

This term refers to a pirate, particularly those who operated in the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a more specific term for a pirate who engaged in acts of piracy along the Spanish Main.

  • For example, a pirate might introduce themselves as, “I’m Captain Jack, a fearsome buccaneer of the Caribbean!”
  • In a pirate tale, one might read, “The buccaneers sailed into port, ready to plunder and pillage.”
  • A pirate crew might chant, “Yo ho, yo ho, a buccaneer’s life for me!”

4. Scallywag

This term is used to describe a mischievous or untrustworthy person, often in a playful or lighthearted manner. It is a way to refer to someone who engages in sneaky or dishonest behavior.

  • For instance, a pirate might say, “Watch out for that scallywag, he’ll steal your treasure when you’re not looking!”
  • In a pirate crew, one might hear, “We’ve got a scallywag among us, keep an eye on your belongings!”
  • A pirate captain might scold a crew member, “Quit being a scallywag and start pulling your weight!”

5. Swashbuckler

This term refers to a pirate or adventurer who engages in daring and flamboyant swordfighting. It is often used to describe someone who is skilled in swordplay and displays a bold and fearless attitude.

  • For example, a pirate might boast, “I’m the greatest swashbuckler to ever sail the seas!”
  • In a pirate duel, one might hear, “Prepare to face the swashbuckler’s blade, ye scurvy dog!”
  • A pirate crew might cheer, “Huzzah for our fearless swashbuckler, the scourge of the Caribbean!”

6. Privateer

A privateer is a pirate who is authorized by a government to attack and capture enemy ships during wartime. They act as mercenaries for their own country, targeting vessels from enemy nations.

  • For example, during the American Revolutionary War, privateers were issued Letters of Marque by the Continental Congress to raid British ships.
  • Privateers would often share their spoils with the government that authorized them, making it a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • One might say, “Privateers played a significant role in naval warfare during the Age of Sail.”

7. Sea dog

A sea dog is a term used to describe an experienced and seasoned pirate. It often refers to someone who has spent a significant amount of time at sea, engaging in piracy and other maritime activities.

  • For instance, a pirate crew might say, “Captain Jack is a true sea dog, having sailed the seven seas for over a decade.”
  • In pirate lore, sea dogs are often portrayed as weathered and tough individuals who have seen it all.
  • A pirate enthusiast might dress up as a sea dog for a themed party or event.

8. Corsair

A corsair is a pirate who operated in the Mediterranean Sea during the Middle Ages. They were known for their swift and agile ships, which allowed them to raid and plunder coastal towns and merchant vessels.

  • For example, the Barbary corsairs were infamous for their attacks on European ships and the enslavement of captured sailors.
  • Corsairs were often sponsored by powerful states, such as the Ottoman Empire, and were seen as a legitimate means of waging war.
  • One might say, “Corsairs were a constant threat to trade in the Mediterranean, leading to the need for naval escorts.”

9. Freebooter

A freebooter is a pirate who operates independently, without any affiliation to a specific nation or government. They are often considered outlaws and operate outside the boundaries of traditional society.

  • For instance, Blackbeard was a notorious freebooter who terrorized the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy.
  • Freebooters often formed loose alliances with other pirates for mutual protection and shared resources.
  • A historian might describe freebooters as individuals who rejected the constraints of society and sought freedom on the high seas.
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10. Blackbeard

Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, was one of the most notorious pirates in history. He operated in the Caribbean during the early 18th century and was known for his fearsome appearance and ruthless tactics.

  • For example, Blackbeard would tie slow-burning fuses into his beard and light them during battles to create a terrifying image.
  • Blackbeard’s reputation as a fearsome pirate spread quickly, and he became a symbol of the Golden Age of Piracy.
  • One might say, “Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, struck fear into the hearts of sailors throughout the Caribbean.”

11. Jolly Roger

The Jolly Roger is the traditional name for the pirate flag. It usually consists of a white skull and crossbones on a black background, although variations exist.

  • For example, “The pirate ship raised the Jolly Roger to strike fear into their enemies.”
  • In a pirate-themed party, someone might say, “Let’s hang the Jolly Roger and set the mood.”
  • A pirate enthusiast might proudly display a Jolly Roger in their home or on their boat.

12. Booty

In pirate slang, “booty” refers to stolen or looted treasure. It can include gold, jewels, valuable artifacts, or any other valuable items that pirates plundered from ships or coastal towns.

  • For instance, a pirate might say, “We found a ship full of booty, lads!”
  • In a pirate-themed game, a player might exclaim, “I just scored a big pile of booty!”
  • A pirate historian might discuss, “The lure of booty was a major motivation for pirates to take to the seas.”

13. Davy Jones’ Locker

Davy Jones’ Locker is a nautical euphemism for the bottom of the sea. It is often used to refer to the watery grave of sailors or ships that have sunk.

  • For example, a pirate might threaten, “I’ll send you to Davy Jones’ Locker!”
  • In a pirate story, a character might mourn, “Captain Blackbeard met his end in Davy Jones’ Locker.”
  • A sailor might warn, “Beware the stormy seas, or you’ll end up in Davy Jones’ Locker!”

14. Pieces of Eight

Pieces of Eight were Spanish silver coins that were commonly used as currency during the Age of Sail. Pirates often sought these coins as they were valuable and easily recognized.

  • For instance, a pirate might boast, “I’ve got a chest full of Pieces of Eight!”
  • In a pirate-themed movie, a character might say, “Hand over your Pieces of Eight, or I’ll make you walk the plank.”
  • A pirate historian might explain, “Pieces of Eight were a sought-after form of currency in pirate communities.”

15. Shiver me timbers

“Shiver me timbers” is an exclamation used by pirates to express surprise, excitement, or disbelief. It’s a playful expression that adds to the pirate persona.

  • For example, a pirate might exclaim, “Shiver me timbers! We’ve found a hidden treasure!”
  • In a pirate-themed event, someone might say, “Shiver me timbers, this party is going to be a blast!”
  • A pirate enthusiast might use the phrase jokingly in everyday conversation, saying, “Shiver me timbers, that was a close call!”

16. Ahoy

This is a traditional nautical greeting used by sailors and pirates to hail or attract attention. “Ahoy” is often used as a way to say hello or get someone’s attention in a playful or dramatic manner.

  • For example, a pirate might shout, “Ahoy, matey!” when spotting another ship on the horizon.
  • In a pirate-themed event, someone might greet guests by saying, “Ahoy, me hearties! Welcome aboard!”
  • A person jokingly trying to get their friend’s attention might say, “Ahoy there, sleepyhead! Wake up!”

17. Avast

This is a command used to tell someone to stop or cease their current actions. “Avast” is often associated with pirates and is used in a more theatrical or playful manner.

  • For instance, a pirate captain might shout, “Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Stop your plundering!”
  • In a pirate-themed party game, a player might use the word to command others to halt during a treasure hunt.
  • An individual trying to get their friend’s attention might say, “Avast, matey! Quit daydreaming and listen to me!”

18. Walk the plank

This phrase refers to a form of punishment where a person is forced to walk off the edge of a plank and into the water, usually resulting in drowning. “Walking the plank” is often depicted in pirate stories and is used to indicate a severe consequence or punishment.

  • For example, a pirate captain might threaten a captive by saying, “Ye shall walk the plank unless ye cooperate!”
  • In a fictional pirate movie, a character might be forced to walk the plank as a dramatic climax.
  • A person jokingly warning their friend about consequences might say, “If you don’t finish your chores, you’ll have to walk the plank!”

19. Hornswoggle

This slang term means to deceive, cheat, or trick someone. “Hornswoggle” is often used in a playful or humorous context and is associated with pirates and their mischievous nature.

  • For instance, a pirate might say, “I hornswoggled that scallywag out of his treasure!”
  • In a pirate-themed game, a player might use the word to describe a clever move that outwits their opponents.
  • A person jokingly accusing their friend of tricking them might say, “You hornswoggled me into thinking it was my turn to buy lunch!”

20. Scuttlebutt

This term originally referred to a cask of drinking water on a ship, but it has come to mean gossip or rumors among sailors and pirates. “Scuttlebutt” is often used to describe informal conversations or the spreading of news and rumors.

  • For example, a pirate might say, “What’s the scuttlebutt on the latest treasure map?”
  • In a pirate-themed party, someone might start a conversation by asking, “What’s the scuttlebutt on who found the hidden loot?”
  • A person discussing office gossip might use the term to say, “I heard some scuttlebutt about a possible promotion in our department.”

21. Land ho

This phrase is used to announce the sighting of land from a ship. It is often shouted by lookout or crew members to alert others on board.

  • For example, a sailor might exclaim, “Land ho! I see the coastline!”
  • In a pirate movie, a character might yell, “Land ho! We’ve reached the treasure island!”
  • A captain might say, “Keep a lookout for any signs of land ho as we navigate through these waters.”

22. Marooned

To be marooned means to be intentionally abandoned or left behind on a deserted island or isolated place with no means of escape. It is a punishment often inflicted on pirates or mutineers.

  • For instance, a pirate captain might say, “You’ve disobeyed my orders, so you’ll be marooned on that island.”
  • In a pirate story, a character might recount, “I was marooned for months until a passing ship rescued me.”
  • A pirate crew member might warn, “If you cross the captain, you’ll end up marooned and left to die.”

23. Scuttle

To scuttle a ship means to intentionally sink or destroy it, often to prevent it from falling into enemy hands or to make it unusable. Pirates would scuttle captured ships to eliminate any evidence or to hinder pursuit.

  • For example, a pirate might say, “We scuttled the enemy ship to ensure they wouldn’t follow us.”
  • In a historical account, it might be mentioned, “The pirate crew scuttled the stolen vessel to cover their tracks.”
  • A sailor might warn, “If we’re captured, we must scuttle the ship to prevent the enemy from using it.”

24. Swab

A swab is a mop or cleaning tool used to clean the decks of a ship. It is also a term used to refer to a sailor, often in a derogatory or disrespectful manner.

  • For instance, a pirate captain might order, “Get to work, you lazy swab! Clean the deck!”
  • In a pirate movie, a crew member might insult another by saying, “You’re nothing but a useless swab!”
  • A sailor might complain, “I’ve been swabbing the deck all day, and it’s never-ending work.”

25. Plunder

To plunder means to steal or loot valuable items or goods, typically through force or during a raid. Pirates were notorious for plundering ships and coastal towns.

  • For example, a pirate might boast, “We plundered a wealthy merchant ship and took all their treasure.”
  • In a pirate story, it might be mentioned, “The pirates sailed into the harbor and began to plunder the town.”
  • A sailor might warn, “Beware of pirates who seek to plunder your cargo. Stay vigilant and protect your goods.”

26. Plank

To force someone to walk off a plank extended over the side of a ship as a form of punishment or execution. This phrase is often associated with pirates and their methods of discipline.

  • For example, in pirate stories, a captain might say, “Ye shall walk the plank for yer crimes, matey.”
  • In a discussion about pirate history, someone might mention, “Walking the plank was a feared punishment among pirates.”
  • A person jokingly threatening a friend might say, “If ye don’t buy me a drink, I’ll make ye walk the plank!”

27. Parrot

A type of bird often associated with pirates, known for its ability to mimic human speech. Parrots were sometimes kept on ships as pets or mascots.

  • For instance, in pirate tales, a captain might have a parrot perched on their shoulder.
  • In a conversation about pirate imagery, someone might say, “A pirate without a parrot just doesn’t feel complete.”
  • A person dressing up as a pirate for Halloween might say, “I need to find a parrot to complete my costume!”

28. Treasure map

A map that indicates the location of hidden or buried treasure. In pirate lore, treasure maps were often depicted with X marks to indicate the spot where the treasure was buried.

  • For example, in pirate movies, a character might say, “We need to find the treasure map to locate the pirate’s loot.”
  • In a discussion about pirate legends, someone might mention, “The search for hidden treasure is a common theme in pirate stories.”
  • A person planning a pirate-themed party might say, “I’ll create a treasure map for the scavenger hunt!”

29. Hornpipe

A lively dance that was popular among sailors and pirates during the 18th century. The hornpipe is characterized by quick movements and intricate footwork.

  • For instance, in pirate-themed events, a performer might showcase a traditional hornpipe dance.
  • In a conversation about pirate culture, someone might say, “The hornpipe was a way for sailors to entertain themselves during long voyages.”
  • A person learning historical dances might say, “I’m practicing the hornpipe for a pirate reenactment.”

30. Scurvy

A disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Scurvy was a common ailment among sailors and pirates due to their limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables during long sea voyages.

  • For example, in pirate history discussions, someone might mention, “Scurvy was a major health issue for pirates and sailors.”
  • In a conversation about nutrition, a person might say, “Eating citrus fruits can help prevent scurvy.”
  • A person jokingly complaining about their diet might say, “I feel like a pirate with all this canned food. I hope I don’t get scurvy!”

31. Arrr

This is the most iconic phrase associated with pirates. It is often used to express excitement, agreement, or simply as a way to sound like a pirate.

  • For example, a person might say, “Arrr, matey! We be sailin’ the high seas!”
  • In a pirate-themed party, someone might greet others by saying, “Arrr, me hearties! Welcome aboard!”
  • A pirate captain might use the phrase to command their crew, “Arrr, ye scurvy dogs! Raise the anchor and set sail!”

32. Grog

Grog is a type of alcoholic drink that was commonly consumed by pirates. It typically consists of rum mixed with water or citrus juice.

  • For instance, a pirate might say, “Pour me a mug of grog, matey!”
  • In a pirate-themed bar, the menu might feature a specialty drink called “Pirate’s Grog.”
  • A person attending a pirate reenactment event might ask, “Where can I get a taste of authentic grog?”

33. Land ho!

This phrase is used by pirates to announce the sighting of land or to indicate that land is within view.

  • For example, a pirate lookout might yell, “Land ho! We’ve reached our destination!”
  • In a pirate-themed play, a character might exclaim, “Land ho! The treasure must be buried on this island!”
  • A person on a pirate-themed cruise might use the phrase to signal excitement, “Land ho! Let’s go explore the shore!”

34. Avast ye

This phrase is used by pirates to get the attention of their crew or to command them to stop what they are doing.

  • For instance, a pirate captain might shout, “Avast ye, me hearties! Prepare for battle!”
  • In a pirate-themed escape room, a clue might instruct players to “Avast ye, mateys! Look for the hidden treasure.”
  • A person dressing up as a pirate for Halloween might use the phrase to greet others, “Avast ye, landlubbers! Trick or treat!”