Ahoy there! International Talk Like A Pirate Day is nearly upon us. This Friday, September 19, landlubbers the world over will get their sea legs—or at least sound like they have.
If you want to join in, but don’t quite know how, read on. I talked my curmudgeonly pirate narrator into sharing a few pirate terms, and it only took a little bit of blackmail to do it.
Batten the Hatches Ships are built with hatches in the decking, leading to cargo space and crew quarters. During storms they are “battened” down or secured and made waterproof. “Batten the hatches” is often yelled by landlubbers pretending to be pirates. They generally have no idea what it means, but neither do those at whom it is yelled.
Now that you know what it means, you are at an advantage, perhaps the first in your young life. Do try not to waste it.
Bo’sun Shortened form of boatswain. It was likely shortened because the bo’sun has so much to do that he doesn’t have time to say the whole word. He supervises the deck crew, oversees the ship’s stores and provisions, and inspects the rigging, sails, chains, and anchors. In the case of Mr. Smee, the bo’sun also kept the captain’s clothing in good repair, gave pep talks, and baked cakes—sometimes of the poisoned variety.
Cat-o’-Nine-Tails A lash made from nine knotted ropes. Also the only cat I like.
The Eye of the Wind The direction from whence the wind blows—useful knowledge aboard a vessel propelled by such. Blind Bart tried to make ear of the wind a saying, but it never caught on.
Jolly Roger This phrase refers to more than Captain Hook’s ship and Jocelyn’s happy-go-lucky friend. Jolly Roger is also the name of a pirate flag, generally emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. Jocelyn embroidered a set of Jolly Roger napkins at school and gave them to Miss Eliza for Christmas. They were not much appreciated and never used.
Keep a Weather Eye To watch closely. Jocelyn, sensitive to Blind Bart’s lack of vision (and because she felt bad that his ear of the wind campaign was not a success), amended the phrase to weather ear.
Me Hearty “My friend.” Take note of this. It is the first and last time you will ever find me saying those words to the likes of you.
Offer No Quarter This means that no mercy will be given and no surrender will be accepted. The parties have to fight—to the death! Or, as it was in the Pirate and lost boy Wars, until they got tired and went home.
Poop Deck It may surprise you to learn that this term does not refer to a ship’s bathroom. A ship’s bathroom is called the head. Ships are interesting places.
The poop deck serves as the roof of the back, or aft, cabin. It is also from here that the ship is steered. On the Hook’s Revenge, this was the highest decking area, which made it a good place for Captain Jocelyn to stand and address and/or berate her crew, as they needed and/or desired.
Powder Monkeys Pirates often use the term monkey-sized for any small thing. A powder monkey is a boy, just about your age, who carries gunpowder from the powder magazine, or room where it is stored, to the cannons. The only requirements of the job are being a small size (less easy for the enemy to target) and possessing enough wits to keep from blowing oneself up.
I’d recommend you for a position, but though you are the right size, you are still under-qualified.
About HOOK'S REVENGE:
Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she's sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb's Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn's hopes of following in her father's fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.
So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn't hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she'd bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland's most fearsome beast isn't enough to deal with, she's tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.
The crocodile's clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz's debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?
About Heidi Schulz:
Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, will be published by Disney•Hyperion on Sepetember 16, 2014. A sequel, HOOK'S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in fall of 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in 2016. She lives in Oregon with her husband, their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens.
Heidi is represented by Brooks Sherman of The Bent Agency.