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Monday, May 20, 2024 at 2:53 PM
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Talk Like a Pirate Day Sept 19

Talk Like a Pirate Day Sept 19
Stuart Cook, Pirate at Large.

Ahoy, Mateys! It be “International Talk Like A Pirate Day” September 19.

If you were to tell someone that it was “Speak Like a Pirate Day,” they would most likely say, “Arr.” Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “Treasure Island” in 1881. The first time “Arr” was used was in 1950 during the movie “Treasure Island.” The actor was Robert Newton; he thought it made him sound more menacing. 

I have always been interested in pirates. Living at the Jersey Shore as a youth, I went camping on an island called Treasure Island and reading “Treasure Island” led me to become a pirateologist. I have a vast library and many movies on pirates. 

My son was working on family ancestry six years ago when he asked me if I had ever heard of Captain John Cook, who started his pirate career under Bartholomew Sharpe, around 1681. In 1682, he got the crew of a French ship to mutiny and renamed the ship The Revenge. His next ship was the Bachelor’s Delight. He died in 1684 and is buried at Cabo Blanco, Costa Rica. So, I do have pirate blood in my veins. This explains my pirate fascination.

Stuart Cook’s Pirate Dictionary

  • Ahoy - Hello 
  • Any Port in a Storm - Anything will suffice when there’s a need 
  • Amidships - Toward the middle of the ship 
  • Astern - Behind the ship 
  • Avast - Hold fast, an order to cease 
  • Aweigh - Anchor off the bottom 
  • Aye, Aye - Acknowledgement of a higher rank’s order 
  • Ballast - Mainly large rocks placed in the bottom of the ship to hold it upright when empty 
  • Barnacles - Marine growth on the ship’s bottom 
  • Batten - Securely covering the hatches against high seas 
  • Belay - To make a rope fast by throwing turns around an upright belaying pin, also used as a weapon 
  • Below - Beneath the decks 
  • Bucko - The familiar term for a friend
  • Bilboes - Sliding shackles on the deck in which men were chained up for punishment 
  • Brig - Jail on a ship
  • Broadside - Ship maneuver to fire off all guns at once on one side of the ship 
  • Buccaneer - Pirate of the Spanish Main in the 17th and 18th centuries 
  • Booty - Stolen treasure, anything of value, gold, silver, tobacco, sugar
  • Blunderbuss - Short barreled, large bore gun, flared muzzle used for short range 
  • Black Jacks - Large drinking cups made of leather and stiffened with tar 
  • Can Do - Signifies agreement; the negative is “No Can Do” 
  • Careen - To turn the ship on its side on a beach to remove sea growth 
  • Cutlass - A short, broad saber for slashing, excellent for fighting aboard ships 
  • Chow - Food or to eat 
  • Close quarters - Hand-to-hand combat aboard ships 
  • Cook - The ship’s cook and the butt of many jokes, “God made the vittles, but the devil made the cook” 
  • Cut and Run - Hasty departure; cut the anchor line and quickly drop the sails 
  • Davy Jones Locker - The bottom of the sea where everything thrown overboard ends up, including dead pirates 
  • Doubloons - Spanish gold coins, eight doubloons were worth a year’s pay for a British sailor 
  • Dirk - A short dagger with a single sharp edge
  • Dagger - Blade with duel sharp edges 
  • Donkey’s Breakfast - Straw mattress in a pirate’s sleeping bunk 
  • Figurehead - A carving at a ship’s bow, typically a bust of a person 
  • Fireship - A ship loaded with combustibles, set on fire, and sailed among enemy ships 
  • Fo’c’s’le - the pirate and sailor's quarters in the forward part of the ship (forecastle)
  • Founder - A ship that fills with water and sinks 
  • Gangway - “Move!” Get out of my way 
  • Grog - Rum and water drink 
  • Grub - Term for food in general 
  • Grenade - Hand-held bomb with gunpowder encased, mostly in a ceramic shell, thrown on the enemy's main deck 
  • Hardtack - Ship's biscuit made from flour, water, and salt that lasted a long time; pirates did not like eating it
  • Irish Hurricane - Flat, dead calm 
  • Irish Pennant - A loose, dangling end of a rope 
  • Jolly Roger - Skull and crossbones flag flown by pirates 
  • Jonah - One who brings bad luck 
  • Keel Hauling - Punishment of passing a rope under the ship’s bottom and hauling the pirate under the keel from one side to the other; few lived after such an ordeal 
  • Lash - To tie securely using lashing a rope 
  • Landlubber - A non-sailor, a landsman 
  • Look Alive - Get a move on 
  • Loose Cannon - A recklessly and dangerously out-of-control pirate. If a cannon broke loose on a ship, it posed a severe threat to life and limb
  • Manifest - List of items carried in a ship’s cargo 
  • Maroon - To set a person ashore on a deserted island, sometimes given a pistol and one bullet to commit suicide 
  • Musketoon- Wide barreled rifle with a large bore loaded with several musket balls, like a shotgun 
  • Me - A piratical way to say “my” 
  • Musket - Light rifle with a long barrel, smooth bore, muzzle-loading, fired from the shoulder  
  • Parley - This was a code of the Pirate Brethren known as a right entitling bloodthirsty pirates to evoke safe passage to negotiate with the captain, set down by Captains Morgan and Bartholomew 
  • Piracy - Robbery on the high seas 
  • Privateer - Privately owned ship, formally commissioned to take in prize ships of the enemy in time of war
  • Give Quarter - Show mercy or leniency 
  • No Quarter - Pirates would fly the red flag and kill all the crew of a captured ship as “Dead men tell no tales” 
  • Scuttle Butt - A wooden cask of drinking water, a good place to exchange views as men waited for a drink 
  • Shipmate - Pirate or sailor who sails or has sailed on the same ship 
  • Spread Eagle - To tie up a person by the wrist and ankle to be flogged 
  • Sink Me - An expression of surprise
  • Wench - A woman good for fetching food and drink

“Yo-ho-yo" and “Arr” - These are very piratical things to say, whether they means anything or not 

Stuart Cook was a career fireman and served as the civilian federal Fire Chief at NAS Fallon before retirement. Now living in Florida, he can follow his dreams of being a pirateologist.
 


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