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Linguist Discovers the Word "Pirony"

Artist's rendition of what William Shuttlecock, inventor of "pirony,"
may have looked like. (by Bobby Hameron, age 6.)

Cambridge, MA (AP) Renowned archaeological linguist Dr. John H. Crabtree announced Monday morning the discovery of a new word for the Modern English language, "pirony." The new word's definition to be published in Webster's Newest Dictionary next year is "something simultaneously involving irony and pirates."

"I made this discovery while I was pouring over some of captain Shuttlecock's ship logs," said Dr. Crabtree, who specializes in seventeenth century Caribbean cultural linguistics and last year began work on a biography of William Shuttlecock, an obscure buccaneer in the region in the late 1690's.

A facsimile of the text where these references were made is expected to be published as part of the appendix to the Shuttlecock biography. Advance copies of this appendix distributed to members of the press included the earliest documented usage of the term. In a 1687 voyage the then scribe Shuttlecock recorded his thoughts on a mutiny against a pirate who first became captain after leading a mutiny against his own captain.

Shuttlecock wrote, "At the break of the dawn all hands were called on deck to witness as the crew forced the ol' cap'n to walk the plank. Aye, it did truly shiver me timbers to watch as the cap'n, with hands bound behind his back, walked the plank and sank slowly down to Davie Jones' Locker. Never such a pironic scene as this have mine ol' sea swept eyes witnessed, before or since."

Shuttlecock's later journals appear to be full of interjections employing the word. According to Dr. Crabtree, the phrase "arrgh, the pirony!" serves as the concluding statement for at least 37 different entries in Shuttlecock's 1691 diary alone.

"I think the most startling thing that this research brings to our attention is the fact that we were previously so unaware of the frequent occurrence of ironic events so prevalent in daily pirate life," said Dr. Crabtree.

One of Dr. Crabtree's colleagues, Professor Joe John commented on the discovery to reporters outside following the press conference. "In my estimation the most pironic thing about this discovery is that most land-lovers today will probably use the term in relation to things that are completely unrelated to pirates and that are not ironic at all."


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