Pirate Dictionary (A-J)

A to J

Able Seaman – A capable and good sailor.
Addled – Crazy, not thinking straight or just plain silly.
Addlepate – A fool, somebody who is always silly.
Adrift – Floating free, without being steered or with anyone in charge.
Afeard – Afraid.
Aft – The back of the ship.
Ahoy! – ‘Hello.'
– Up high, often refers to ship’s masts and rigging.
Ambush – A surprise attack.
Arr – Yes/That’s great/I agree.
Articles – The rules a pirate must follow while on a ship.
Avast! – ‘Stop that now!’ or ‘Who’s there?’
Aye – ‘Yes, definitely.’
Aye Aye – ‘Of course, I’ll do that now.’

Ballast – The weight used to keep a ship steady and upright.
Barbary Coast – Mediterranean coast off of North Africa.
Barnacle – A kind of shell fish which can stick to the hull (bottom) of a ship. They cause the ship to go slower if not scraped off regularly.
Batten down the hatches – Prepare for a storm.
Be – Use instead of ‘am’, ‘are’ or ‘is’.
Becalmed – When a ship can’t move because there’s no wind to fill the sails.
Begad! – ‘By God!’
Belay – ‘Stop that, Now!’
Bilboes – Leg irons attached to the deck of a ship.
Bilge – The dirtiest, smelliest and lowest part of a ship or to talk rubbish.
Bilge rat – A rat that lives in the dirtiest, smelliest and lowest part of a ship. This is not a nice name to call somebody.
Bilgewater – The icky, revolting, disgusting water that covers the bilge floor.
Black Spotted – A person/animal that has had a curse put on them or is sentenced to death.
Blaggard – A man who lies and who you can’t trust.
Blimey – ‘Wow.’
Booty – Riches that have usually been stolen.
Bosun – The officer on the ship in charge of deck crew, rigging and anchors, also called a ‘boatswain’.
Bounty – A reward, usually paid by the Government for the capture of a criminal.
Broadside – Next to another ship, side by side, with the long sides of the ships facing.
Buccanneer – Pirates, usually from Hispaniola, who attacked Spanish ships in the Caribbean.
Bucko – Friend
Cabin – A pirate’s room on a ship.
Cable – A heavy rope.
Cackle fruit – Chicken eggs.
Captain - The person in charge of the ship.
Cap’n – Short for ‘Captain’.
Careen – To clean the hull of a ship.
Careening – Scraping off all the dirt and barnacles that have become stuck to the bottom of a ship so that it sails faster.
Cask – A barrel used to hold liquids, foods, gun powder and other things that need to stay dry.
Cast-away – A person who has been shipwrecked.
Cat’o’nine tails – A whip made up of nine knotted ropes and used as punishment.
Chantey – The songs pirates sing while they are working. (Also spelt ‘shantey’ or ‘shanty’.)
Chart – Map
Compass – A magnetic needle that spins freely in a casing to point out which way is north, south, east or west, and all directions in between.
Contraband – Goods that are smuggled illegally.
Convoy – A group of ships traveling together.
Corsair – Pirates in the Mediterranean.
Cot – A wooden bed, hung from rafters, and is more comfortable than a hammock.
Crow’s Nest – A lookout point at the top of the highest mast of a ship.
Cutlass – A curved sword, often used by sailors.

Davy Jones Locker – The bottom of the ocean.
Deadlights – Eyes.
Deck – The highest floor on a ship.
Deckhand – A person working on a ship, sometimes shortened to ‘hand’.
Dog – A name you might call a friend if you want to insult them (nicely).
Doubloon – An old Spainish gold coin.
Fair Winds – ‘Good Luck.’
Fathom - A length of 6ft (1.8m ish). Is often the distance from fingertip to fingertip when men stretch their arms out sideways.
Flog – To whip. 
Fore – Short for ‘forward’.
Furl – To roll up and tie in place, often done to sails.

Galleon – A large, squarish ship used in war or to carry cargo.
Gangplank – A plank of wood put on the side of a ship and rested on land, so that people can get on and off the ship.
Gangway – ‘Clear a path.’
God’s speed – What you might say when somebody leaves, meaning ‘Travel safe’ or ‘Good luck’.
Grog – Rum mixed with water or any kind of alcohol.
Grub – Food
Hail – To call to another ship.
Hammock – A large piece of material hung from the rafters that a crew member sleeps in.
Hands – Crewmen.
Haven – A safe place.
Head – The toilet on a ship.
Heave to – To change the direction of the ship so it is facing forwards into the wind.
Hold – The space in a ship where cargo or prisoners were kept.
Hornpipe – A dance or a single reeded musical instrument.
Hornswaggle – To cheat. 
Hornswaggler – A person who cheats. 
Hulk – The old, dismantled body of a ship, sometimes used as prisons.
Hull – The body of a ship, not including the masts and rigging.

Irons – Leg irons attached to the deck of a ship (also called ‘bilboes’).

Jack Tar – Sailor
Jolly Roger – The pirate flag - a white skull and crossbones on a black background.

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