Definition of Jolly Roger in US English:

Jolly Roger


  • A pirate's flag with a white skull and crossbones on a black background.

    • ‘‘It's a Jolly Roger,’ she says, and smiles distantly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We don't even wear patches on our gi (I suggested a Jolly Roger once, but no one else liked the idea).’
    • ‘He got so frustrated with his words that he threw his dagger across the room, nailing a Jolly Roger right in the nose.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the top of the mast was a red flag, a Jolly Roger if he'd ever seen one.’


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


Jolly Roger

/ˌjälē ˈräjər//ˌdʒɑli ˈrɑdʒər/