Friday, July 3, 2009

Pirate Talk 101: One of the Best Parts - Threats, Oaths, Curses and Insults

A threat is a warning that something unpleasant is imminent.

I’ll fly your bloody head as my banner

I’ll have you for my prize

I’ll let out your evil soul by incision of steel

I’ll peel your skin like a mango

I’ll send you with my service to the devil

I’ll slit the veins on your arms and use your blood to warm my rum

I’ll tear out your tongue and let it flap in the sun

I’ll watch you dance the yardarm jig

‘tis a sin to suffer such a <EPITHET> as you live

You’ll go down with the tide

You’ll rue the day your mother ever spawned you

Oaths add emphasis and are used to ‘swear that it is true’. Oaths are used to convey something sharply or deeply felt.



As I am a soul

As I live and breathe

Bloody hell

Used with –what, how, when, who or why

By all that is great and good

By God

Dear heart

My dear / Used for emphasis

I would have my soul fry in hell-fire

I swear


Used to avoid more offensive words

Upon my life

I swear on my own life

Curses are the building blocks of pirate profanity. Curses wish harm on someone or something. A Curse says ‘you’ll suffer’.



Curse you for breathing

Damn you for living

Damn you the depths

Damn you to hell

Devil take you

Go to hell

Flog off

Fuck off

Plague seize you

Express anger, disgust and frustration

Insults identify something bad about the addressee. The insult is substantive and often observational.



Tailor is your trade

You’re not fit to be a pirate.

You’ve a split tongue.


Some phrases need no translation…

Beezelbub himself could hardly desire better company

Here’s fine stuff for the gallows

Hold you tongue and your whinin’ for them that’s at your beck and call, because I ain’t

There is more fire in a small, dead fish that in all your slow body

Yellow was never a pirates color

You always was trouble

You got no more brain than a sea-turtle

You should be more a man and less a fish

Your mind’s unhinged

You’ve neither sense nor memory

This primer was summarized from the book "The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues" by George Choundas and available here.

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