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The Codex: B



Bailiff was a title of a legal officer to whom some degree of authority, care or jurisdiction is committed. A man served as bailiff during Joshamee Gibbs' trial in the Old Bailey.


Jack Sparrow holds a banana.

"Your biggest haul was a boatload of bananas on its way from Jamaica!"
Laura Smith to Torrents[src]

An edible fruit produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa.


"Now, that sounds like a plan you'd come up with. You couldn't trust Beckett to keep that bargain even if you shook on it; he certainly won't if you've already given him what he wants."
Jack Sparrow to Will Turner[src]

Bargain could mean some of the following:

  • The process whereby buyer and seller agree the price of goods or services. See bargaining.
  • An agreement to exchange goods at a price
  • Such an agreement where one of the parties thinks the price is very favourable.


"Please tell Mr. Montgomery that the Honorable Frederick Penwallow, Baron Mayfaire, is here to see him, and that my father, Lord Penwallow, sends his greetings."
Jack Sparrow[src]

A rank of nobility and title of honour.

Batten down the hatches[]

"Batten down the hatches! Stand to your guns. Midship cannoneers, sight the masts."
Joshamee Gibbs[src]

A phrase meaning to cover the topside hatches to the lower decks with canvas covers during a storm to prevent water from getting belowdecks. It can also simply mean beware or get ready for something bad.


Governor Swann using a bayonet.

"Charge your bayonets!"
East India Trading Company lieutenant[src]

A blade adapted to fit the muzzle end of a musket and used as a weapon in close combat.[1] Officers of the British Royal Navy[2] and the East India Trading Company[3] employed bayonets.


"Mr. Sparrow, you will accompany these fine men to the helm and provide us with a bearing to Isla de Muerta. You will spend the rest of the voyage contemplating all possible meanings of the phrase 'silent as the grave'. Do I make myself clear?"
"Inescapably clear.
James Norrington and Jack Sparrow[src]

The horizontal angle between the direction of an object and that of true north; subject to variation and deviation when taken by a magnetic compass. Direction or relative position.

Before the mast[]

"One hundred years before the mast. Losing who you were, bit by bit. 'Til you end up, end up like poor Wyvern here. Once you've sworn an oath to the Dutchman, there's no leaving it. Not until your debt is paid."
Bootstrap Bill Turner[src]

Referring to a common sailor, derived from a sailor's position in the forecastle, forward of the foremast; also used to refer to an unlicensed sailor. [4] It also means to take an oath as a loyal crewman, usually done while standing on deck before the commanding officer.


"Belay that, or we'll be a sitting duck!"
"Belay that 'belay that'!
Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow[src]

To stop what you are doing, commonly given as an order to a ship's crew. Literally means to tie something down or make it fast.[5]


"This bone has been burned by betrayal... This is Sam Johnson...or rather...a part of him!"
"Captain Drake's First Mate?"
"Yes, and as you know, Drake's treasure has never been found!
Tia Dalma and Jack Sparrow[src]

The breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations.


A bicorne hat.

The bicorne or bicorn (two-cornered) was an archaic form of hat widely adopted in the 18th century as an item of uniform by European military and naval officers. It was most notably worn by officers of the East India Trading Company.


"Fool. You think this is all about you. You think the power of the Sword was meant for the likes of you, who are little more than a bilge rat."
"I take offense to that. Were I a rat, I would certainly not reside in a bilge! I am a captain, after all.
Hernán Cortés and Jack Sparrow[src]
  • The rounded portion of a ship's hull, forming a transition between the bottom and the sides;
  • To damage a ship's hull so as to create an entry for seawater.
  • Slang for nonsense or stupid talk.[6]

Bilge rat[]

"You pirates are worse than bilge rats!"
―Unknown citizen of Port Royal to Chevalle[src]

An insulting name given by pirates. It can also refer to a rat living in the bilge of a ship, considered the lowliest creature by pirates, but many pirates take to eating the animals to survive.

Black gold[]

"Ivory, gold, black gold... Afrique is a rich hunting ground for the wolves of the sea."
Christophe-Julien de Rapièr to Jack Sparrow[src]

Another term for a black slave.

Black magic[]

"Mon Dieu! What has happened to your neck?"
"It is... ah... a long story..."
"It looks like black magic.
Jean Magliore, Fitzwilliam P. Dalton III, and Tumen[src]

The use of supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes.


Hector Barbossa to Jack Sparrow[src]

Alternatively spelled as "Blaggard", it could mean a scoundrel, an unprincipled contemptible person, or an untrustworthy person. Some people, like Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones, were called blackguards by their actions. It is also a verb, meaning to revile or abuse in scurrilous language.


John Brown's blacksmith shop in Port Royal.

"Mister Turner, you are not a military man; you are not a sailor. You are a blacksmith."
James Norrington to Will Turner[src]

The profession of a person who creates objects from iron or steel by "forging" the metal (by using hand tools to hammer, bend, cut and otherwise shape it in its non-liquid form). Blacksmiths work in forges or smithys,[7] such as John Brown's smithy, where Will Turner worked as Mr. Brown's apprentice.[2]


Ragetti after seeing the Farthest Gate[src]

A British term used to express wonder or surprise.

Blood money[]

"This is Aztec gold. One of 882 identical pieces they delivered in a stone chest to Cortés himself. Blood money paid to stem the slaughter he wreaked upon them with his armies. But the greed of Cortés was insatiable. So the heathen gods placed upon the gold...a terrible curse."
Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann[src]

Money paid by a killer, or on his behalf, to one of his victims' next of kin.

Blow me down[]

"Well, blow me down! The legends are true—there it is!"
Bo'sun concerning the Aztec Idol[src]

A saying after being told of something surprising, shocking or unexpected.


Board could mean the following:

  • The side of a ship;
  • One leg, or tack, of the course of a ship beating to windward;
  • The act of "boarding", or entering, a ship ("board"; "on board"; "aboard");
  • For a ship to come up alongside another, commonly to attack;
  • To "go by the board", to go over the ship's side[8]


"Puts a chill in the bones how many honest sailors have been claimed by this passage."
Joshamee Gibbs[src]

A bone is a rigid organ that constitutes part of the vertebrate skeleton. Bones support and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals, provide structure and support for the body, and enable mobility. However, little or no calcium can weaken the bones, endangering the organs.

In many religions, bones are considered symbols of death, which is why bones are commonly seen in Jolly Rogers.


"David Williams - Much Feared Bootlegger"
David Williams' tombstone[src]

Another name for rum-running,[9] derived from the practice of keeping small bottles of rum hidden in boots.


Jack Sparrow had a wanted poster listing him for bounty of two hundred pounds.

An amount of money given to somebody for their services to someone.


The forward end of a vessel; opposite to aft or stern.[10]


Blackbeard's pirate flag flies from the topmast at the end of the bowsprit of the Queen Anne's Revenge.

"Now, Lieutenant Shepherd, a full report."
Sir, our bowsprit's been hit by cannon fire from the Misty Lady. We are not sure how much damage was sustained.
Lawrence Norrington and Shepherd[src]

A pole (or spar) extending forward from the vessel's prow.


Jack Sparrow's bribe for the Harbormaster.

"You know my father was an admiral—and a traitor. He patrolled these very waters, took bribes from pirates—gold and silver—allowed them to sail with impunity!"
Armando Salazar[src]

Money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust.


The term "brig" can refer to several things: a type of two-masted vessel square-rigged on both masts; also used to refer to a place of confinement aboard a ship.[11]


"What were you doing in a Spanish convent, anyway?!"
"Mistook it for a brothel. Honest mistake.
Angelica and Jack Sparrow[src]

A brothel is an establishment dedicated to prostitution, providing the prostitutes a place to meet and to have sexual intercourse with clients.


Brujería is the Spanish word for witchcraft, also referring to a mystical sect of male witches in the southernmost part of Argentina. Both men and women could be brujos and brujas, respectively. Having studied Voodoo to his own ends, the infamous pirate Blackbeard became a brujo.[12]


Henry Morgan, the most notorious buccaneer of the 17th century

"You know, for having such a bleak outlook on pirates, you are well on your way to becoming one. Sprung a man from jail...commandeered a ship of the fleet, sailed with a buccaneer crew out of Tortuga...and you're completely obsessed with treasure."
Jack Sparrow to Will Turner[src]

Another term for a Caribbean pirate, commonly any pirate and privateer who raided Spanish colonies and ships along the American coast in the second half of the 17th century.[13] The most common buccaneer haunts were Tortuga, Jamaica and Hispaniola.


"Mr. Beckett, did you know you can smell a slaver coming for miles, if the wind is right, on the open sea?"
"Can you?"
"Yes. The stench is enough to put a sailor off his burgoo for a whole day.
Jack Sparrow and Cutler Beckett[src]

A thick oatmeal gruel or porridge eaten for breakfast. Being cheap and easy to provision, it was served excessively on ships and was reputed to be unloved by seamen.

Byzantine Empire[]

The civilization of the Eastern-Roman empire, between 331 A.D. when the capital was moved to Constantinople and up 1453 when it was conquered by the Turks. They were best known as the inventors of Greek fire.

Notes and references[]