Ever wondered what words or slang that pirates used? Here are some of the most common pirate slang words used during the peak of piracy.

Ahoy was used as an exclamation to hail a ship or a person, or to attract attention. Avast! – Avast was a command that meant to stop or desist, and is derived from the Italian word “basta” which means stop.

Aye (or ay) was the standard way to say Yes for pirates.

Becalmed was the circumstance that occured when a sailing vessel could not move due to a lack of wind.

Belay means to secure a rop by winding on a pin or cleat, most often used as a urgent command

Bilged on her anchor happened when a ship was pierced inadvertently by its own anchor.

Blimey was a common exclamation of surprise and is the shortened version of “God blind me!”, which is still very common in England today.

Blow the man down was a command to kill someone.

Crack Jenny’s teacup is one of the naughtier slang words that was used if a pirate spent a night in a house of ill repute or brothel.

Crimp meant to obtain pirates by trickery or coercion.

Dance the hempen jig meant to be hanged.

Davy Jone’s Locker is a slang term that was focused on the belief that Davy Jones was to blame for the sinking of any ship that went down, and was a fictional place at the bottom of the ocean that meant death was imminent.

Dead men tell no tales simply meant leave no survivors behind.

Deadlights were strong shutters or plates fastened over a ship’s porthole or cabin window in during rough seas.

Fire in the hole was a common warning for sailors and pirates alike that a cannon was about to be fired.

Give no quarter meant to refuse to spare the lives of opponents. Pirates often raised a red flag to warn other ships that no quarter will be given.

Haul wind meant to direct a ship into the wind.

Heave down is common sailing term used by sailors and pirates alike that meant to turn a vessel on its side for cleaning.

Ho is a very popular pirate word used to express surprise or joy, or to attract attention.

Marooned meant to be stranded, particularly on a desert isle.

No prey, no pay was a common pirate law that loot would be shared equally between pirate crew members, but no regular wages were expected.

Parley (sometimes incorrectly “parlay”) was taken from the french word  parler which means “to speak.” When two parties having a disagreement attempted a truce they were said to parley.

Piracy is the act of robbery when committed at sea.

Sail ho! was an exclamation meaning another ship is coming into view.

Scupper that! was angrily used to indicate  “Throw that overboard!”

Sea legs are the ability to find one’s balance amongst the constant rocking and motion of a ship, especially difficult in rough seas. When a pirate first came on board and was clumsy, he was said to be lacking his “sea legs”. After reaching land, a pirate or sailor would sometimes have trouble regaining his “land legs” and would consequently swagger on land.

Shiver me timbers! Was used by pirates to express surprise or strong emotion.

Show a leg!  Was cheekily used if you wanted to wake up a sleeping pirate.

Sink me! Is an expression of surprise that pirates used to exaggerate or emphasize their point of view.

Now you know some of the most common pirate phrases. Which is your favorite?