Friday, 1 March 2013



Interjection. E17.
[from Dutch hou'vast, houd vast hold fast]

NAUTICAL. Stop! cease! hold!

Avast, me hearties! With a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, learn ye land-lubbers the etymology of a buxom beauty of a word, that be avast! Aaaaargh! For this day I being ye ...

Oh forget it. I can't keep it up. I'm sure I'd be pretty useless if I ever chose to participate in the International Talk Like a Pirate Day. If you've never heard of it, it's held on the 19th September every year and it's an official holiday for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

If you want to learn to talk like a pirate, the website for the ITLAPD even has a handy (hooky?) guide to teach you, although it mainly consists of pirate pick-up lines which are about as funny as they are likely to work (as if real pirates ever felt the need for pick-up lines). Even so, the top three pirate pick-ups are:
  • That's some treasure chest you've got there
  • Prepare to be boarded
  • I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon
And that's the best of them (coughs). Just imagine what they edited out. And to think there wasn't a single poop deck joke in the whole guide.

Regardless of all of this, avast is a jolly (roger) interesting word, and I had no idea of either its etymology nor its meaning until I read it in the dictionary (I always thought it meant something like 'Ahoy!' or 'You there!'). At least, come the 19th of September, I will know exactly what to say should anyone fire an 'Ahoy matey!' across my starboard bow: "Avast, please ... just ... avast."

If you'd like to see me swing from the yardarm for just not getting down with this whole talk like a pirate thing, do scrimshaw me a message in the comments section. Know ye this, though, ye old blog-lubber: if ye want any moral authority on this here matter, your comment'd better be in pirate talk! Aaaaaaargh!


  1. Uhm *raises hand*... can I be excused from pirate-talk? I'm not even a native English speaker, let alone an English pirate one.

    Ooooh, it's Dutch *makes happy dance* Doesn't come as a surprise, actually, with the United East India Company and all.

    1. RYC: You should grow your hair longer. When it's long (past your shoulders) it doesn't itch as much, because it can't fall into your shirt. Though as a man, you would look a bit like a hippie. But maybe that's your thing, I don't know.

      This negative autoscopy phenomenon is quite fascinating. What do they see, then? Do they fill in the background from memory? Or do they see a big black blob where their body's supposed to be? Going to look for that post. Oh, and thanks for the shout-out! ^^

    2. OK Bibi ... you were granted an ... oh! I mean ... umm ... Aaargh, Bibi, ye wee barnacle! Stay o' execution be granted to ye, not bein' a native speaker an all! Aaargh.