Avast me hearties! This here be the 10th annual Talk Like A Pirate Day, and if you don't join in we'll make you walk the plank!

Er, so our pirate vocabulary is somewhat thin, making this the perfect opportunity to brush up on high seas jargon.

Scroll down for a glossary of pirate terms


While the basics - Ahoy! Avast! Aye!, Aye aye! and Arrr! - are pretty easy to master, the founders of International Talk Like A Pirate Day have compiled a handy "how to" guide (with French, Dutch and German translations).

With special thanks to Capn' Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket, we've collated the ten most useful phrases below, but for a full glossary of terms, take yourself down to the official British HQ.

Just remember to always observe these simple rules:

Double up on all your adjectives and you'll be bountifully bombastic with your phrasing. Pirates never speak of "a big ship", they call it a "great, grand ship!" They never say never, they say "No nay ne'er!"

Drop all your "g"'s when you speak and you'll get words like "rowin'", "sailin'" and "fightin'". Dropping all of your "v"'s will get you words like "ne'er", "e'er" and "o'er".

Instead of saying "I am", sailors say, "I be". Instead of saying "You are", sailors say, "You be". Instead of saying, "They are", sailors say, "They be". Ne'er speak in anythin' but the present tense!

So, brush up on your skills, for as Cap'n Slappy exclusively told The Huffington Post UK: "We love our mates in the UK!

"Keep spreadin' the word - and the word be, 'ARRR!'"

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  • Dead men tell no tales - phrase indicating to leave no survivors

  • Grog - An alcoholic drink, usually rum diluted with water, but in this context you could use it to refer to any alcoholic beverage other than beer, and we aren't prepared to be picky about that, either. Call your beer grog if you want. We won't stop you! Water aboard ship was stored for long periods in slimy wooden barrels, so you can see why rum was added to each sailor's water ration - to kill the rancid taste.

  • Keelhaul - punishment in which a person where dragged underneath the pirate ship from side to side and was lacerated by the barnacles on the vessel

  • Feed the fish - will soon die

  • Batten down the hatches - put everything away on the ship and tie everything down because a storm is brewing

  • Hornswaggle - to defraud or cheat out of money or belongings

  • Landlubber - big, slow clumsy person who doesn't know how to sail

  • Poop deck - the part of the ship farthest to the back, which is usually above the captain's quarters. This is not the bathroom

  • Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! - pull up the anchor and the sail and let's get going

  • Scurvy dog - the pirate is talking directly to you with mild insult

  • Bilge rat - a rat that lives in the worst place on the ship (lowest levels). Pirates, just like their modern-day counterparts (regular guys), love to joke and jibe with their buddies. By all means, pirates will call their buddies "bilge rats.

  • Black spot - to be 'placin' the black spot' be markin' someone for death.

  • Davy Jones' Locker - the bottom o' the sea, where the souls of dead men lie.

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  • Long John Silver - Treasure Island

    The one-legged quartermaster from Treasure Island is your quintessential cunning seadog - a man who appears friendly and kind but will ruthlessly cut down even his own crew if they get in his way. Robert Louis Stevenson's classic also feature several real-life pirates, including Blackbeard and Edward England.

  • Comfortably the most famous pirate in literature, J. M Barrie wrote the stereotype that has inspired countless children and unimaginative adults looking for a fancy dress costume ever since. Peter Pan's hook-handed antagonist, captain of the Jolly Roger, fears nothing but the sight of his own blood and the crocodile that took his hand. In the original play version of the tale, however, Hook was only a bit-part character. IMAGE: PA

  • Ragnar Danneskjöld - Atlas Shrugged

    Comfortably our favourite female pirate, Bêlit is the fearsome but alluring anti-heroine from one of Robert E. Howard's first short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, who becomes the protagonist's lover after sparing him during a massacre.

  • Dread Pirate Roberts - The Princess Bride

    Perhaps the most fearsome and brutal pirate on our list, Dread Pirate Roberts is known across the seven seas as a peerless swordfighter and massacre-happy tyrant. Actually, Roberts is not one character but a persona passed on to each generation's most vicious pirate - something that helps cement his mythical reputation. However the Roberts in William Goldman's 1973 fantasy novel does show some empathy by sparing the life of protagonist Westley.

  • The Salé Rovers - Robinson Crusoe

    Poor old Crusoe's troubles really begin when, having already survived a ship wreck, his second voyage is taken over by Salé pirates and he ends up enslaved by a Moor. Daniel Defoe's 1917 novel is famous for its pirates but features a whole host of nasties, including cannibals and hungry wolves.

  • William Legrand and Captain Kidd - The Gold-Bug

    Edgar Allen Poe's (pictured) 1843 short story followed the adventures of Legrand, a man searching for long-lost treasure buried by the notorious pirate Captain Kidd - a reak-life Scottish sailor who was executed for piracy in 1701. The Gold-Bug was popular among the public but was savaged by critics - a typical experience for Poe, who wasn't truly appreciated as a writer until after his death. IMAGE: PA

  • Ahab - Moby Dick

    Although strictly just captain of a whaling ship, Herman Melville 's Captain Ahab shares many of the traits of the typical pirate. He is also one of the most terrifying, complex and studied characters in American literature. Obsessed with getting his revenge on the giant whale of the book's title, Ahab is a tyrant and monomaniac who dooms his crew in dogged pursuit of his own ends.

  • Ragnar Danneskjöld - Atlas Shrugged

    Ayn Rand's magnum opus from 1957 envisions a America in which creatives goes on strike against taxation and the government. The character of Ragnar Danneskjöld sails the seas reclaiming their income tax - an usual pursuit for a pirate, though it is in the form of gold. Danneskjöld actual appearances in the <em>Atlas Shrugged </em> are relatively brief, but his presence is felt throughout.