Pirate Sayings

Angry pirate about to spurt a heap of pirate sayings.Having a list of pirate sayings up your sleeve can be a big advantage when organizing a treasure hunt. The vast majority of treasure hunts have a pirate theme and spicing up the riddles with the odd “Avast ye land lubbers!” can help to get players in the mood.

The secret to creating an authentic sounding pirate saying is twofold. The first is to obey some very simple rules.

  1. Drop ‘g’s from the ends of words. Use ‘Sailin’ not ‘Sailing’.
  2. Drop ‘v’s from the middle of words. Use ‘ne’er’ not ‘never’.
  3. Replace ‘am’ and ‘are’ with ‘be’. Use ‘I be’ and ‘you be’ not ‘I am’ and ‘you are’.
  4. Replace ‘I’ and ‘my’ with ‘me’.
  5. Replace ‘you’ with ‘ye’, ‘yer’, or ‘ya’.
  6. Use ‘aye’ and ‘nay’ instead of ‘yes’ and ‘no.
  7. Drop ‘th’ from the ends of words. Use ‘wi” not ‘with’.
  8. Make excessive use of adjectives such as great, vast, grand and considerable.

You will find lots more tips and some pretty good demonstrations of how the pronunciation works here.

The second is to scatter typical pirate words throughout your riddle. There are many sites that include lists of these words and we have included some of the best in our directory under the Pirate Sayings category. Check them out and let us know if we have missed any good ones.

If you need some inspiration then check out the International Talk Like a Pirate Day site. You can get some of the background about the day on Wikipedia.

Don’t take it all too seriously though! It is likely that much of the language that we think of as typical for a pirate was not actually used by real pirates. Most of the credit for pirate sayings is given to Robert Newton as Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

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