Pirates are always popular. From children's stories like Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson to classic swashbuckling films with Errol Flynn, or the recent Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies, pirates fascinate and captivate. They also have their own way of talking, and live in a world very different from our own. That's where this dictionary comes in. Here you'll find all the common words and phrases pirates used, and the stories of many famous pirates too.
walk the plank
A practice of urging someone off a boat via a flat board. Though no documented evidence of pirates actually inflicting this punishment exists, it may have, according to some sources, been performed at least once by Stede Bonnet. Otherwise it exists only among the pirates of film, including Pirates of the Caribbean, and novels, and has been imitated in movies like Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
William Kidd, Captain
Sometimes Robert Kidd or Kid, William Kidd is among the best known pirates, though he was not a very good one. He took only a few ships, and were lawful prizes in his legal capacity as a privateer. Born in Scotland around 1655, he arrived at St. Nevis in the West Indies in August, 1689, in command of a 16-gun ship. While on shore in 1691, he crew stole away with his ship, though the government of New York and others gave him other commands. In 1695 Kidd was in London, and on October 10 signed the articles that led to his death, in which King William III and others arranged for him to hunt other pirates. Outfitted with the ship the <em>Adventure</em> galley, Kidd sailed off. Ugly rumors of piracy by him led to a warrant, and he was arrested in May, 1699 when he showed up in New York. His trial back in London was a scandal, as he was made the scapegoat for aristocratic company privateers. He was found guilty and put to death on May 23, 1701.
The direction or side toward the wind, as opposed to leeward.