• Imagining History

Pirate Slang - Fun Information for Kids

Updated: Oct 5




If you were to meet a Pirate from the 17th and 18th Centuries today, would you have the foggiest idea what he or she was talking about? Me neither.


That's because Pirates had a very particular dialect filled with 'slang' words and phrases.

If you want to talk like a Pirate, best memorise these starter phrases:


"Ahoy" = This means 'hello'. An excellent way to make the acquaintance of some Pirate chums.


"Ye" = You. Not much difference here to conventional English, it just sounds a bit like you're saying 'you' with a head full of cold and a nose full of snot.


"Weigh anchor" = Basically: let's get going. The Captain want's you to raise the anchor (the big lump of metal on a chain that moors the ship and stops it floating away at night) so you can set sail and begin your journey.


"Avast" = If you say it nice and sweetly this means 'stop and listen to me'. Shout it and it's more like saying 'shut up'. Intonation is everything!


"Aye"/"Yargh" = Simple one: 'Yes'. Never actually say 'Yes' though, other pirates will definitely know you're not a real pirate if you do that.


"Me Hearties" = My friends. Makes sense, as you keep your friends close to your heart, so; 'hearties'.


"Savvy?" = Do you understand? This is probably Jack Sparrow's favourite word. Having watched every Pirates of the Caribbean films in the franchise - yes, even the pants ones - we can exclusively reveal the Jack says 'Savvy' four hundred and eighty two times. FACT.


"Thar she blows" = Look over there. Often linked to a big whale and the sight of their humongous tails crashing onto the waves.


"Shiver me timbers" = gracious good golly that was shocking. Or words to that effect.



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