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.
A cylindrical spar, usually tapered at each end, attached to a ship’s mast and from which a sail was hung.
The outer edge of a spar attached to a mast and from which a sail was hung. A pirate or prisoner could also be hung from the yardarm.
An interjection used to get attention or express frustration, as in "Yarrgh, but she's a fast ship" or "Yaargh, that's a sorry lot of pirates as I ever saw".
A ship’s flag, colored yellow, to indicate whether or not there is a disease on board. Infectious diseases could cripple or kill the crew of a ship, so any approaching vessel might steer clear of a ship flying a yellow flag. Of course, a yellow flag could also be used as a ploy to avoid being boarded or captured.
A phrase used mostly in song, mostly in movies about pirates, as in "yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum". It is unclear if any historical pirates used this phrase.