Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shiver My Timbers

Well, shiver my timbers...

it be talk like a pirate day, arghhhhhh.

Wikipedia says:

Shiver my timbers (usually pronounced shiver me timbers) is an exclamation in the form of a mock oath usually attributed to the speech of pirates in works of fiction.

It is employed as a literary device by authors to express shock, surprise or annoyance. The phrase is based on real nautical slang and is a reference to the timbers, which are the wooden support frames of a sailing ship. In heavy seas, ships would be lifted up and pounded down so hard as to "shiver" the timbers, startling the sailors.

Such an exclamation was meant to convey a feeling of fear and awe, similar to, "Well Blow Me Down!", or, "May God Strike Me Dead". Shiver is also reminiscent of the splintering of a ship's timbers in battle - splinter wounds were a common form of battle injury on wooden ships ('shiver' means splinter in some English dialects).


"Shiver my timbers" was most famously popularized by the archetypal pirate Long John Silver in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). Silver used the phrase seven times, as well as variations such as "shiver my sides", "shiver my soul" and "shake up your timbers".

me thinks to watch some Pirates O'caribbean tonight

aye, wit cap'n jack sparrow

he be lookin mighty fine

wot pirate speak grabs ye today?

awww, come now, throw me a word or two

and then drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

* image source

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