Donna Perugini Children's Author

Shiver Me Timbers-Talk Like a Pirate Day

Pirate credit OpenThreadsFlickr

Credit Open Threads Flickr


Shiver Me Timbers! Where Did Those Pirate Words Come From?

This post is late for today, but it’s actually International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Did you know that this day has been ongoing since 12 years ago?  Facebook used to translate the words for you if you posted them.  I’m not sure if they still do that.

Shiver Me Timbers

is also a cricket expression that refers to the scattering of wickets…timber is a slang substitute. Originally ‘timbers!’ was an 18th century nautical slang exclamation that had no real meaning to it: “My timbers! what lingo he’d coil and belay.” Novelist Captain Frederick Marryat then embroidered the oath, making it “Shiver me timbers!” in Jacob Faithful (1834).  It became a loud curse that no one had used before this.



Used on pirate ships .  Today it means a tongue-lashing from a superior which hardly compares to a punishment  of keelhauling which was used as a discipline (also for Dutch sailors) in the 16th century. Keelauling is being tied to the yardarm, weighted down and then hauled by a rope under the vessel from side to side.  Sometimes they suffered a more dreaded punishment, being keelraked, or hauled under the ship from stem to stern.


Walk the plank….

This seems to be something that occurs in movies and probably not on pirate ships. The expression most likely originated in the story of an old salt or from the end of a 19th century magazine writer.  Pirates did feed captives to the fishes or told them they were free to “walk home” while far out to sea, but no planks were used. The common practice was to maroon prisoners and pirate offenders on a desert island. The offenders were put ashore without clothes or food.



have been called this since the 14th century.  They took their name from the Latin , pirata, which means “to attack.”  Pirates are sea raiders who operated without any authorization except their own greed.



someone in the movies who is good with sword play. The word means a swaggering show-off and was used in Elizabethan times.  A buckler was a small shield used to catch the sword blows of an opponent and to swash…to dash against. Swashbucklers weren’t always good swordsmen though and often ran when the going go tough.



I think this word is self explanatory.

Hope you enjoyed Talk Like a Pirate Day with all the international followers.

taken from Encyclopedia of Word an Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson

Have any words from pirate talk to share?  Be sure to leave a comment and explanation of the word!

One Response to “Shiver Me Timbers-Talk Like a Pirate Day”

  1. 1

    This was fun! Also, thanks for dropping my blog and leaving some comment love. It is always a pleasure hearing from you. 🙂 Best wishes!
    Brook (Matt5vse6) recently posted..Blessings: You Are InvitedMy Profile

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