Definition of Jolly Roger in English:

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Jolly Roger

Pronunciation: /ˌjälē ˈräjər/


Image of Jolly Roger
A pirate’s flag with a white skull and crossbones on a black background.
Example sentences
  • At the top of the mast was a red flag, a Jolly Roger if he'd ever seen one.
  • For gentler fun there's now a Jolly Roger family boat ride in the Pirate Cove, where captains and young pirates (your offspring) can jump aboard together.
  • The Old Guard is nothing if not sexist, and while it's not exactly unheard of for a Rhodes Scholar to replace a Jolly Roger, one finds it hard to imagine them permitting a former Girl Scout to do the same.


Early 18th century: apparently from jolly1 + the male given name Roger, possibly in the old dialect sense 'the Devil'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Jol·ly Rog·er

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