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Shiver me timbers! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

September 19, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • A pirate (Michael Kane, of Costa Mesa) in the surf at Huntington Beach.
A pirate (Michael Kane, of Costa Mesa) in the surf at Huntington Beach. (Allen J. Schaben )

Argh, mateys! It's that time again: National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

How to talk like a pirate? The Johnny Depp movies are a guide, the Disney ride they were based on, and the Talk Like A Pirate Day website. But readers know the best reference for pirate talk -- invented, yes, but still iconic -- is Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure tale, "Treasure Island."

Here are some lines from the book. Feel free to borrow from them for pirate-speak to brighten up your day. There must be a way to work the expressions "smart as paint" or "I'll stake my wig" into that meeting you've got this afternoon.

"Keel-hauling, was you? and a mighty suitable thing, too, and you may lay to that. Get back to your place for a lubber, Tom."

"You're a lad, you are, but you're as smart as paint."

"Three goes o' rum! Why, shiver my timbers, if I hadn't forgotten my score!"

"I've taken a notion into my old numskull."

"Why, what a precious old sea-calf I am!"

"Now, treasure is ticklish work; I don't like treasure voyages on any account; and I don't like them, above all, when they are secret, and when (begging your pardon, Mr. Trelawney) the secret has been told to the parrot....It's a way of speaking. Blabbed, I mean."

"Pieces of eight! pieces of eight! pieces of eight!" [That's the parrot talking.]

"Avast there!"

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest— Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!"

"Here it is about gentlemen of fortune. They lives rough, and they risk swinging, but they eat and drink like fighting-cocks, and when a cruise is done, why it's hundreds of pounds instead of hundreds of farthings in their pockets. Now, the most goes for rum and a good fling, and to sea again in their shirts."

"Here's to ourselves, and hold your luff, plenty of prizes and plenty of duff."

"Huzza, mates!"

"I don't know about treasure, but I'll stake my wig there's fever here."

"Why, in a place like this, where nobody puts in but gen'lemen of fortune, Silver would fly the Jolly Roger, you don't make no doubt of that."

"If I die like a dog I'll die in my dooty."

"Here are two of us with a brace of pistols each."

"Have I lived this many years to have a son of a rum puncheon cock his hat athwart my hawser at the latter end of it?"

"Dead men don't bite."

"You mark me, cap'n, it won't do twice, by thunder! We'll have to do sentry-go, and ease off a point or so on the rum. Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the wind's eye. But I'll tell you I was sober; I was on'y dog tired."

"This is as dull as the doldrums."

"I'll take a drain myself... I need a caulker, for there's trouble on hand."

"Ungrateful scamp."

"Many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese — toasted, mostly — and woke up again, and here I were."

"By thunder, but I wanted some o' that!"

 "Off to sea like jolly companions."

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum to ya.


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