Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The Somali pirates have renewed some old words.

Pirate (n) - The Greek word pirao (attack) led to the Latin word pirata, meaning sea robber.

Buccaneer (n) - From the French word
boucanier which freely translates to barbecuer. Literally boucanier means someone who smokes meat or fish for food in the fashion of the Arawak Indians. The word came to be applied to Frenchmen in the Caribbean, then to French pirates, and then to freebooters in general.

Freebooter (n) - From a Dutch word for robbery, vrijbuit, that translates literally to free booty.

Booty (n) - The German word, bute, meaning "to distribute" came to apply to the plunder pirates distributed among themselves.
Jolly Roger (n) - Pirate flag. This one is interesting. The first recorded uses of the term is by Bartholomew Roberts, far and away the most ruthless pirate of the 18th century. Some say Jolly Roger comes from the French p
hrase jolie rouge (pretty red). Others say it is a reference to the devil's nickname, Old Roger. The flag above is the design used by Blackbeard.

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness. These words have been out of common vernacular for far too long.