History of Talk Like a Pirate Day: Ahoy, Matey!


The International Talk Like A Pirate Day began not back in the “Golden Age of Pirates” in days of yore but in 2002. It is celebrated each year on September 19; though it started in the United States, it is now celebrated internationally across the Seven Seas.


The Tale of Talk Like a Pirate Day

The legend goes that its origin was June 6, 1995, during a racquetball game between John Baur and Mark Summers, when Pirate expletives were uttered following an injury.

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“Cap’n Slappy” and “Ol’ Chumbucket,” the “Talk Like a Pirate Day” founders

But because that date is also the observance of D-Day, the celebration was set instead for September 19, the birthday of the ex-wife of one of the two founders. Bellowing like a buccaneer was celebrated in relative obscurity by John, Mark, and their friends until one fateful day.


The Captain’s Log

Dave BarryIn 2002, the American humor writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry wrote a newspaper article about it and promoted the idea. The rest, as they say, is history. Unlike some of the newer Geek Holidays – like Pi Day, Foursquare Day, or Towel Day – this holiday has gained traction among a broader audience with growing media coverage, books, T-shirts, merch, and other booty.

The trademark has been non-restricted and is more what you’d call a “guideline” than an actual rule. The fact that Hermione Granger‘s birthday in the Harry Potter books is on September 19 shows that this parody holiday has gone viral.


Speaking of viruses, a special tee shirt was developed during the COVID pandemic lockdown of 2020 to commemorate the strange year in true pirate style.




No Krispy Kreme for Ye

Back in the days of yore, specifically in 2016, Krispy Kreme offered a free Original Glazed Doughnut for talking like a pirate. If you dressed like a pirate, you would get a dozen free Original Glazed Doughnuts! In 2017, however, the event was canceled, much to the dismay of donut-loving pirate talkers everywhere.


The Ironic History of Talk Like a Pirate Day

Did Pirates actually talk like Talk Like a Pirate? Not likely.

Talking like a pirate is commonly credited to the British actor Robert Newton, from his depiction of Long John Silver in the 1950 RKO-British Disney first live-action film, Treasure Island.

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Robert Newton as Long John Silver

His kind of quasi-Cornish accent of Maritime Pidgin English – pirates were originally recruited from southwest Britain locations like Penzance in Cornwall, England – became popular with subsequent actors who portrayed pirates in film, television, theatre, and radio.

The modern holiday is described on the official site here.

There’s even a Facebook Page about it here.

Q: Why couldn’t the Pirate graduate from 1st grade?
A: Because he only knew one letter… “ARRR!”


Bill Petro, your swashbuckling neighborhood historian, me hearties!


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About billpetro

Bill Petro writes articles on history, technology, pop culture, and travel. He has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.


  1. JohnGoldenberg on September 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    OUTSTANDING!!!!  I got on board in 2003 after a rather large night out in London where I, or so I was told, spoke like a pirate the entire night…arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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