Argh—The first word in any pirate’s vocabulary. This word is used to punctuate any sentence and should be liberally sprinkled throughout the dialogue.
Buccaneer—Pirates who menaced the Spanish of the Caribbean.
Corsair— Pirates of the Mediterranean.
Privateers—Government sanctioned pirates, with permission in the form of a letter of marque.
Aye—Yes or any other affirmative reply.
Ye— Used in place of “you”.
Me—Used in place of “my”.
Pieces of Eight—Spanish coins found in pirate hoards.
Doubloons—Spanish coins found in pirate hoards.
Keelhaul—A method of punishment aboard pirate ships in which the victim was tied to the ship, thrown overboard and dragged underwater along the length of the keel.
Letter of Marque—License by government to attack and loot enemy ships.
American Main—Eastern coast of North America.
Spanish Main—Mainland taken by Spain, from Mexico to Peru plus the Caribbean islands.
Cat O’Nine Tails—a nine thonged whip.
Gibbet Cage—Chains in which the corpses of pirates were hung and displayed in order to discourage piracy in others.
Hulk—British prison ships that captured pirates and privateers
Red Ensign—British flag.
Cackle Fruit—Hen’s eggs.
Marooned—To be stranded, particularly on a desert isle.
Chain Shot—Two cannonballs chained together and aimed high to destroy masts and rigging.
Scallywag—A villainous or mischievous person.
Scurvy Dog—A prolific pirate.
Bring ‘em Near—A telescope.
Heave-To—To come to a halt.
Black Jack—A leather tankard.
Barbary Coast—The Mediterranean coastline of North Africa, from Egypt to the Atlantic coastline.
Hempen Halter—The hangman’s noose.
Jolly Roger—Flag declaring piracy, usually black with a white skull and crossbones or crossed swords.
Broadside—All the guns on one side of a ship, also shots fired by that line of guns.
Pirate Round—Route from North America to the Indian Ocean
Careen—To beach a ship and tip her on her side so the bottom can be cleaned and painted.
Cutlass—A short heavy sword with a curved blade used by pirates and sailors.
Fire Ship—A ship loaded with powder and tar then set afire and set adrift against enemy ships to destroy them.
Gold Road—Road across the Isthmus of Panama used to transport gold by train of pack mules.
Man-of-War—A vessel designed and outfitted for battle.
Overhaul—To come up next to.
Plate Fleet—Fleet of Spanish ships used to carry silver and gold to Europe.
Admiral of the Black—Title of the leader of the Brethren of the Coast, an organization of buccaneers.
“Ahoy, Matey”—Hail, fellow sailor.
“No prey, no pay”—Crew received no wages, but shared in whatever loot was taken.
“Bring ‘er alongside”—Command to bring ships side to side for boarding.
“Hang ‘im from the yardarm”—Pirate phrase for punishment for shipmates of captured prisoners.
“Dance the hempen jig”—To hang.
“Measure ye fer yer chains”—To be outfitted for a gibbet cage.
“Shiver me timbers”—phrase expressing surprise.
“Scourge of the seven seas”—An extremely evil pirate.
“Blow the man down” – To kill someone.
“Run a shot across the bow”—Command to fire a warning shot.
“Run a rig”—To play a trick.
“Hang the jib”—To pout or frown.