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Pronunciation: Pik-a-rune

Definition: A (small time) pirate. A sea thief. As a verb: To act like a pirate.


Picaroon comes to us from the Spanish language. The word is derived from ‘Picaro’, meaning a ‘rogue’. One school of thought says it came from the vulgar Latin ‘piccare’, meaning to ‘pierce’ – a reference perhaps to the use of a weapon.

Why This Word?

September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Now is the time to brush up on your pirate talk, dust off your eye patch and use so many ‘arrrr’s’ that you don’t know them from your elbow.

Pirates have entered modern folklore. We have all heard pirate stories and heard pirate talk. It’s time now to expand our horizons and revive a few old timey Pirate words.

How to use the word picaroon in a sentence?

On September 19th, you will not eat food. But you may find yourself hankerin’ for some ‘Belly Timber’ (Yes – this is a genuine pirate term …). You will refer to people you disdain as a ‘Bilge Rat’. And, of course, you will complain to your boss that “Mike in accounting picarooned  me idea. Lets keelhaul ‘im’.

And why are some pirates called ‘pirates’ and some called picaroons? They just arrrrrrrr.


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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