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Aarrrgh! Enjoy Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19

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The FREE International Talk Like A Pirate Day is annually held on September 19, 2012. This is the day to talk like a pirate, if you like, since it’s officially Talk Like a Pirate Day. The parodic holiday was created in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers who proclaimed that each year on Sept. 19 people should “talk like a pirate.”   What started as a fun concept in which people imitate pirate talk has turned into an event that receives media attention worldwide. (click at bottom for more info)

Both Twitter and Facebook will be alive on Sept 19 with pirate talk in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day 2012. It’s always trends that day on Twitter, some are talking like pirates at work, and the national holiday gets bigger and bigger each year.  Fans can visit the founders Web site at, getting “Pirate advice” from Cap’n Slappy and more. Also, fans can find the Cap’n on Twitter as “thecapnslappy.”      The idea for Talk Like a Pirate Day came about after Summers and Baur were playing racquetball and one of the exclaimed during the game with, “Arrr!” and the concept was created. In 2002, the friends sent a letter about their concocted national day to syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry who liked the idea and promoted the day and growing media converged and spread through social media has helped build the hype in the annual event.

What do people do?  
International Talk Like A Pirate Day is celebrated in more than 40 countries worldwide. It is a fun day that involves people talking like pirates. Some people dress in pirate costumes as well. It is celebrated among fans in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.     International Talk Like a Pirate Day receives media attention closer to and around September 19 each year. Some communities work with organizations such as Childhood Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care to raise funds or increase awareness of cancer support and research.


Public life – International Talk Like A Pirate Day is a growing global observance but it is not a public holiday on September 19.

Background –
John Baur (“Ol’ Chumbucket”) and Mark Summers (“Cap’n Slappy”) are credited for creating the concept of International Talk Like A Pirate Day on June 6, 1995. However, out of respect World War II’s D-Day – the day of the Normandy Landings – on June 6, 1944, Baur and Summers choose not to dedicate International Talk Like A Pirate Day on June 6. Instead, they chose September 19 as the annual date for the event.    International Talk Like A Pirate Day was a low-key event until 2002, when it received media attention via syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry. The event’s popularity spread from that point onwards. International Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated among individuals, work colleagues, and charity and fundraising organizations around the world.


Symbols – Various phrases, such as “Ahoy”, “Arrr”, and “Aye aye”, are spoken on International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Some people dress in pirate costumes that they make, buy or hire. Costumes include pirate swords, hats and eye patches. Some people have images of the skull and bones on hats, costumes or printed material to promote the day.


What, you’re wondering, is the point?  We’re going to be painfully honest here, perhaps fatally so.   The point is, there is no point.  And that’s what’s fun about Talk Like a Pirate Day specifically, and talking like a pirate in general.  We’re talking about the mere image of swaggering pirateness. And while this is a guys’ guide, the comely wench will have fun talking like a pirate, too. It’s powerful, yet harmless. Perhaps, dare we suggest it, the ultimate aphrodisiac. Try it!     When Sept. 19 rolls around and suddenly tens of thousands of people are saying “arrr” and “Weigh anchor or I’ll give you a taste of the cap’n's daughter,” it staggers us. They are talking like pirates — not because two yahoos from the Northwestern United States told them to, but simply because it’s fun.


1)  The basics

Pirate lingo is rich and complicated, sort of like a good stew. There are several other sites that offer glossaries that are pretty good, and you can find some of them on our links page.

But if you just want a quick fix, a surface gloss, a “pirate patina,” if you will, here are the five basic words that you cannot live without. Master them, and you can face Talk Like a Pirate Day with a smile on your face and a parrot on your shoulder, if that’s your thing.


Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, “Whoa! Get a load of that!” which today makes it more of a “Check it out” or “No way!” or “Get off!”

Aye!“Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did.”

Aye aye!“I’ll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over.”

Arrr! – This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. “Arrr!” can mean, variously, “yes,” “I agree,” “I’m happy,” “I’m enjoying this beer,” “My team is going to win it all,” “I saw that television show, it sucked!” and “That was a clever remark you or I just made.” And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!

2) Further develop your pirate vocabulary:
  • Aarrr!: Pirate exclamation. Done with a growl and used to emphasize the pirate’s current
  • feelings.
  • Ahoy: Hello
  • Avast: Stop and pay attention
  • Beauty: a lovely woman,
  • Belaying Pin: a small wooden pin used to hold rigging in place. Sometimes used as a bludgeoning weapon.
  • Cutlass: Popular sword among pirates
  • Davy Jones’ Locker: The bottom of the sea. The final resting place for many pirates and their ships. As far as anyone knows, there was no real person named Davy Jones. It’s just the sprit of the ocean, firmly a part of pirate mythology since at least the middle of the 18th century.
  • Disembark: To leave the ship
  • Embark: To enter the ship in order to go on a journey
  • Foul: Turned bad or done badly, as in ‘Foul Weather’ or ‘Foul Dealings’
  • Grog: A drink that pirates enjoyed
  • Hornpipe: a single reed instrument, also a dance.
  • Keelhaul: Punishment. Usually tying the sailor to a rope and dragging him under the ship from stem to stern.
  • Lubber: Land lover. Someone who doesn’t want to go to sea.
  • Matey: Friend or comrade
  • Ne’er-do-well: A scoundrel or rascal
  • Pieces of eight: Spanish silver coins that could actually be broken into eight pieces, or bits.  Two of these bits were a quarter of the coin, and that’s where we get the expression “two bits” for a quarter of a dollar, as in the cheer, “Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar …” (Do we feel a math lesson coming on?)
  • Plunder: Treasure taken from others
  • Rigging: Ropes that hold the sails in place
  • Saucy Wench: A wild woman
  • Tankard: A large mug, for ale
  • Wastrel: A useless man
  • Weigh anchor: Prepare to leave
  • Yardarm: Extended from the mast and used to hang criminals or mutineers or, more prosaically, to hoist cargo on board ship


Advanced pirate lingo

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’re ready to start expanding your pirate vocabulary. Try these for starters

Beauty – The best possible pirate address for a woman. Always preceded by “me,” as in, “C’mere, me beauty,” or even, “me buxom beauty,” to one particularly well endowed. You’ll be surprised how effective this is.

Bilge rat – The bilge is the lowest level of the ship. It’s loaded with ballast and slimy, reeking water. A bilge rat, then, is a rat that lives in the worst place on the ship. On TLAP Day – A lot of guy humor involves insulting your buddies to prove your friendship. It’s important that everyone understand you are smarter, more powerful and much luckier with the wenches than they are. Since bilge rat is a pretty dirty thing to call someone, by all means use it on your friends.

Bung hole – Victuals on a ship were stored in wooden casks. The stopper in the barrel is called the bung, and the hole is called the bung hole. That’s all. It sounds a lot worse, doesn’t it? On TLAP Day – When dinner is served you’ll make quite an impression when you say, “Well, me hearties, let’s see what crawled out of the bung hole.” That statement will be instantly followed by the sound of people putting down their utensils and pushing themselves away from the table. Great! More for you!

Grog – An alcoholic drink, usually rum diluted with water, but in this context you could use it to refer to any alcoholic beverage other than beer, and we aren’t prepared to be picky about that, either. Call your beer grog if you want. We won’t stop you! Water aboard ship was stored for long periods in slimy wooden barrels, so you can see why rum was added to each sailor’s water ration – to kill the rancid taste. On TLAP Day – Drink up, me hearties! And call whatever you’re drinking grog if you want to. If some prissy pedant purses his lips and protests the word grog can only be used if drinking rum and water, not the Singapore Sling you’re holding, keelhaul him!

Hornpipe – Both a single-reeded musical instrument sailors often had aboard ship, and a spirited dance that sailors do. On TLAP Day – We are not big fans of the capering, it’s not our favorite art form, if you will, so we don’t have a lot to say on the subject, other than to observe that the common term for being filled with lust is “horny,” and hornpipe then has some comical possibilities. “Is that a hornpipe in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? Or both?”

Lubber – (or land lubber) This is the seaman’s version of land lover, mangled by typical pirate disregard for elocution. A lubber is someone who does not go to sea, who stays on the land. On TLAP Day – More likely than not, you are a lubber 364 days of the year. But not if you’re talking like a pirate! Then the word lubber becomes one of the more fierce weapons in your arsenal of piratical lingo. In a room where everyone is talking like pirates, lubber is ALWAYS an insult.

Smartly – Do something quickly. On TLAP Day “Smartly, me lass,” you might say when sending the bar maid off for another round. She will be so impressed she might well spit in your beer.

How to make the most of TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY

  1. Red and black is in. Not your colors? That’s okay! Pirate complexions invariably tended toward more sallow hues due the high incidence of scurvy. This is also your opportunity to incorporate any acne outbreaks or hairy moles into your overall ensemble. Use this day to display them with pride. Don’t be afraid to put your comb away for the day, either. Plundering the high seas leaves little time for involved daily hygiene routines.
  2. Accessorize. Pirates favored shiny metallic accents, preferably the timeless look of gold. The bolder the better… feel free to improvise! Pirates rarely consulted popular fashion, preferring instead to pioneer their own trends. If you’re male, this is a prime opportunity to try jewelry while maintaining your masculinity. Just think of it as wearing your trophies. A natural look works as well – you can’t go wrong with a good skull and crossbones. Hats are also important, but can be tailored to your individual taste. Scarves combine fashion and function; flattering headgear for many, they also serve to wipe off any unfortunate stains. It’s also recommended you invest in a sturdy, preferably thigh-length, boot.
  3. Consider carefully your pirate name. Tired of being Jane? Here’s your chance for a colorful change. Try putting an adjective or descriptive phrase in front of your name, first or last. For example, Rufus is now Bloody Red Rufus, or Mad Dog Rufus. The more visually evocative the title, the better. Alliteration slips off the tongue easier and makes your name, and therefore you, more memorable. (Try this at job interviews and you’ll get results).
  4. Talk with flair. Have fun with this! Change your “you” to “ye” and your “my” to “me.” Pepper your sentences with “scurvy,” “bloody,” and “smarmy”. End at least every other sentence with “argghh” and begin the other sentences with “aye.” Show affection by assigning nicknames to others, such as “bilge rat” or “bastard.” This is a great trick at work or cocktail parties if you can’t recall someone’s name. Remember, everyone finds an accent attractive.
  5. Don’t be afraid to advertise yourself! Let others know you’re coming, and that it’ll be on your terms. Create a personalized flag that relates to you (in red or black, of course), and attach it to your vehicle’s radio antenna. Make sure the flag is easily detachable for those times you’d prefer to drive incognito.
  6. Keep your mind active – challenge yourself! Create a treasure map for your office on pay week while you search for your check. Use your co-workers’ desks as landmarks. Invite your colleagues to join in the challenge by telling them to “find their own treasure, or walk the plank!”
  7. Delegate – it’s important you take care of yourself at home and in the workplace. Refer all inquiries and requests to your pet parrot. This works whether the parrot is live or stuffed. Either way, optimal parrot placement is on the left shoulder. (Be sure it is securely anchored – no one trusts an unsteady parrot). Insist others treat your parrot with respect and as your representative, or risk your wrath. It may be necessary for you to engage in hand-to-hand combat or swordplay at least once before your wishes are respected. Be firm, and your co-workers/family members will follow your lead. (You may wish to substitute a monkey or ferret).
  8. Value your assets. Don’t hesitate to bring your hooked hand to Human Resources to request your 50 pieces of silver for losing your appendage while fixing the copier.
  9. Offer to pioneer a new training series for your company based on piratical theory. Ideas for topics: “Walking the Plank: The How-To in Merging Companies and their Personnel,” “Pillage and Plunder: Strategizing Sales Techniques,” “Davy Jones’s Locker: You and your 401(k)”, and “Pirates are People Too: Mediation and Interpersonal Relationships.”
  10. Mutinies happen. When you’re escorted from your workplace, take it in stride. Pirates never worked well when accepted in the general population, anyway.


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