Avast! September 19 is the One Day a Year to Sanely Talk Like a Pirate

Ahoy! Pirates Raise a Cup O'Grog in New Orleans, April 2008
Ahoy! Pirates Raise a Cup O’Grog in New Orleans, April 2008

Avast, landlubbers! Raise a cup o’grog on September 19 t’ commemorate th’ silly holiday of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

September 19 is the one day a year to sanely talk like a pirate. Get started with five basic pirate words that begin with the letter “A”:

  • Ahoy!
  • Avast!
  • Aye!
  • Aye! Aye!
  • Arrr!

Back in 1995, two average Oregon guys, John “Ol’ Chum Bucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers, invented International Talk Like a Pirate Day. On a racquet ball court they encouraged each other in swaggering pirate speak and decided that once a year, everyone should talk like a pirate. Just for the fun of it and no other reason.

The date was June 6, but since that’s also D-Day, the only other date Summers could remember was September 19, his ex-wife’s birthday. And thus, International Talk Like a Pirate Day was born.

The holiday was low-key until humor columnist Dave Barry propelled International Talk Like a Pirate Day into the spotlight. His September 8, 2002 column supported the holiday of pirate fun by encouraging readers to answer the phone with, “ahoy, me hearty,” rather than a simple, “hello.”

Barry hoped that Hollywood’s who’s who, such as Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise, would read his column and support the holiday with their superstardom. Can you picture Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch yelling, “Ahoy, me hearty! I’m in love with my saucy wench Katie! Arrr!”? To my knowledge, that has not happened, yet. But, stranger things have happened.

“The reality is, pirates were not nice people and they still aren’t,” Baur told listeners of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on September 19, 2002. “But movie pirates and cartoon pirates are fun to talk like.”

Since Dave Barry’s 2002 column, Baur and Summers are collectively known as the Pirate Guys. They have developed and maintain the website, www.talklikeapirate.com. In addition to offering tips on talking like a pirate, the site has an English-to-pirate translator, a list of pick up lines to snag a pirate (or a lady pirate) and a dedicated page with tips on hosting your own Talk Like a Pirate Day party.

How does one go about talking like a swashbuckling pirate? The Pirate Guys have posted a video on YouTube.com offering pronunciation and definition for the five key “A” words in the pirate language:

Ahoy! “Hello.”
Avast! “Hey! Stop, pay attention.”
Aye! “Yes, I agree.”
Aye! Aye! “Yes, I’ll get right on it.”
Arrr! Not to be confused with “argh.” Think of it as a versatile phrase when needing to say something pirate-like.



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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