Pirate Dictionary (K-Z)

K to Z

Keel – The main framework of a ship that runs from the front to the back at the bottom of the ship.
Keelhaul – To pull somebody under the keel of a ship. Done by using ropes and often as a form of punishment.
Knots – The speed a ship travels. A knot is the same as a nautical mile.

Lad – Young man.
Land ahoy! – ‘I see land.’
Land lubber or lubber – A person who likes being on land, often used as an insult.
Landyard – A short rope that things can be hung from.
Lass – Young woman.
Leg Irons – Wide rings of metal that were attached to each other and fastened around prisoner’s ankles.
Line – Any rope used on a ship, perhaps in the rigging or to tow something.
Log – A daily record written to record where a ship travels and what has happened on it.
Lookout – The person in charge of watching out for signs of land or other ships.
Loot – Gold and riches usually stolen.
Lubber or land lubber – A person who likes being on land, often used as an insult.
Man-of-War – A ship built specifically for fighting.
Marooned – Left alone, usually on a deserted island.
Mast – The upright pole on a ship that the sails and ropes are attached to.
Mate or Matey – Friend
Me – Used instead of ‘my’.
Me beauty – How you would address a pretty lady or something important to you.
Me hearties – Friends.
Merchant – A person who sells things.
Merchant Ship – A ship carrying cargo to be sold.
Mutiny – When a ship’s crew refuse to follow the captain’s orders.

Navigate – To steer and guide a ship from one place to another.
New World - America
Peg leg – An artificial leg, usually wooden.
Pieces of Eight – An old Spanish silver coin.
Pillage – To rob.
Pirate – A ‘robber of the sea’.
Plunder – To steal.
Poop deck – The floor that is also the roof of a cabin built on the upper deck.
Poop cabin – A room built on the top deck of a ship, often the Captain’s.
Port – The left side when facing the ship’s pointy end, also a strong alcoholic drink, and the area of land next to where ships are left when the pirates go ashore.
Pox – Disease.
Pressgang – To force somebody to become a member of a ship’s crew.
Privateer – English, French or Dutch sailors allowed by their Government to attack enemy ships.
Prow – The pointy end of a ship.

Quartermaster – The sailor second-in-charge to the Captain.
Rigging – The ropes, mast and sails on a ship.
Rope’s end – To whip/flog.
Rum – Said to be a pirate’s favourite alcoholic drink.
Rum – To be a little weird or odd.

Sail ho! – ‘I see a sail.’ This also means, ‘I see a ship’ because the sail is always seen first.
Salt or Old Salt – Somebody who has been a sailor for a long time.
Sea dog – Somebody who has been a sailor for a long time.
Sealegs – What you have when you’re used to the sway of boat on the ocean.
Scurvy – A disease many sailors got because they didn’t eat enough vitamin C. Also an insult, as in ‘ye scurvy landlubber’.
Scuttle – To make a hole in a ship’s hull or to sink the ship.
Shantey – The songs pirates sing while they are working. (Also spelt ‘chantey’ or ‘shanty’.)
Shanty – The songs pirates sing while they are working. (Also spelt ‘chantey’ or ‘shantey’.)
Shipshape – To be neat and tidy.
Shiver me timbers – ‘What a surprise.’
Sink me – ‘What a surprise.’
Smartly – Quickly.
Splice the mainbrace – To have an alcoholic drink or two.
Spyglass – A telescope.
Starboard – The right side of the ship (if you are facing the pointed end).
Sutler – The merchant on land who sells pirates all the supplies and things they need to repair their ship.
Swab – To clean something or a name for somebody you don’t like very much.
Swag – Gold and riches.
To be three sheets to the wind – To have drunk too much alcohol.
Titivate – To clean up and make neat.

Walk the plank – To be forced to walk along and off the end of a plank that has been placed over the side of a ship.
Weevil – A kind of beetle that can eat your food before you do.
Weigh anchor – To lift the anchor and be ready to sail.
Wench – A woman.

Ye – Used instead of ‘you’.
Yer – Used instead of ‘your’.

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