In Pirates of the Caribbean : Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Elizabeth falls down from top of the rock and sinks into the sea, Jack Sparrow was nearby talking with two guards. Realizing no one else is going to save her, Jack dives into the sea and brings Elizabeth on to the jetty. Then Governor Swann and Commodore Norrington arrives with troops and this dialogue takes place.

Governor Swann: Hang him.

Norrington: Keep your guns on him, men. Gillette, fetch some irons.

[Pulls up Jack's sleeve]

Norrington: Well, well, well Jack Sparrow, isn't it?

Jack Sparrow: Captain Jack Sparrow, if you please sir.

Norrington: I don't see your ship, Captain.

Jack Sparrow: I'm in the market, as it were.

What did Jack mean by these words?

I'm in the market, as it were.

  • 3
    Movies and TV is the wrong site to explain common English expressions. We have English Language Usage for that. – Paulie_D Jul 13 '17 at 5:29
  • 1
    in this content, how do you see its about english language? its not like asking what is the meaning of some word, I asked what is meant in this situation, why he said that.. I dont see how you see this is about english – Vishwa Jul 13 '17 at 5:35
  • 5
    "I'm in the market" is a general English expression, it's not specific to the movie. – Erik Jul 13 '17 at 5:57
  • 1
    I think @Vishwa is asking more about in the context of why Jack Sparrow says it, not just what the expression means. In this case it's a rather comical choice, because Sparrow is never going to "buy" a ship, he's going to steel one and he basically says this as a kind of self defense mechanism, because he's Captain-status is being contested. – Darth Locke Feb 17 '19 at 18:19
  • 2
    @DarthLocke that's what I was trying to say. but they insist its just some words and nothing more :( – Vishwa Feb 22 '19 at 8:37

Jack Sparrow didn't have any ship to sail. We can see at his entry that his boat was drown.

Jack Sparrow asked Norrington to call him captain and Norrinton asked him sarcastically where his ship is.

When Jack said

I'm in the market, as it were.

He means that he was about to get a ship, most probably by stealing, but Norrington's men caught him before this.

Generally, this phrase means that you're about to buy something and it is usual because you're in market. And as it were is a less precisely used phrase for in a way, so Jack was in the market, in a way.

Since, we know his nature, he wasn't about to buy a ship, but he was trying to commandeer one.

This following conversation happens between him and those two guards before this. (Courtesy)

          What's your name?


          What's your business in Port
          Royal, 'Mr. Smith' ?

          And no lies!

          None? Very well. You've rumbled
          me. I confess: I intend to
          commandeer one of these ships,
          pick up a crew in Tortuga, and go
          out on the account, do a little
          honest pirating.

          I said, no lies.

          I think he's telling the truth.

          He's not telling the truth.

          He may be.

          If he were telling the truth he
          wouldn't have told us.

          Unless, of course, he knew you wouldn't
          believe the truth if he told it to you.

Murtogg and Mullroy consider that point --
  • 1
    but he mentioned "it", meant the ship i guess. he doesn't mean he is about to get a ship. "as it were", meant something more like his ship was available in captancy, probably hinted about the mutiny by barbossa? i think he doesn't mean that he was about to get a ship. thanks for the answer, appreciate it – Vishwa Jul 13 '17 at 4:57
  • as it were here means in a way. It used to be less precise. So, it means he was in the market, in a way. If you know Hindi, it means yun kahiye. – A J Jul 13 '17 at 5:02
  • no hindi, sorry. I thought he meant by that is somewhat similar to his ship was available for a captain, because there was a mutiny and jack was eliminated as being the captain. so ship was in market for a captain, so is he physically in the market now for buy(literally) something, captancy was also available previously – Vishwa Jul 13 '17 at 5:20
  • Yes, it's true. He said to those two guards that he was going to commandeer one of those ships. So, he was about to get a ship in a way and become a captain of that ship. – A J Jul 13 '17 at 5:25
  • does it related to that? sorry I dont see how it is.. Am I being too hard/pushy on this? sorry if I am – Vishwa Jul 13 '17 at 5:38

So as the other two answers have explained, "...in the market, as it were." is Jack suggesting he is "shopping" for a ship, "in a way", or "as it currently stands".

But the other answers don't really explain why this line of dialogue is quite funny.

First off the phrase 'in the market' is a sophisticated and business-man like way of saying he was shopping for a ship. If one noticed, many of the other pirate characters, such as Marty, Pintel, or Scrum don't have the best vocabulary, vocal skills, or social skills, kind of playing on the stereotype of people with a poor to average education level. Jack however tends to have a rather extraordinary vocabulary and vocal delivery, making him even more of an odd-ball that helps Johnny Depp be more comedic by contrast.

Another reason this dialogue is bit humorous is because, like he had suggested by tacking on the, "as it were", the audience knows he's not actually going to "buy" a ship, he's of course going to steal it!

Dead Man Tell No Tales Transcript:

JACK SPARROW: Am I not the Captain of this ship?

CREW MEMBER: You call this a ship?!

But on top of it, the fact that he wanted to reply at all and acting as though he has the best of intentions, also could be seen a funny self defense mechanism and showing a sense of pride, by deflecting his vulnerability. Later in the fifth film, Dead Man Tell No Tales, after the bank robbery goes terribly wrong, he has a ship, but it's nothing special, as the Black Pearl remains in a bottle, but the crew uses the pitiful-looking ship as an additional excuse not to sail with Jack any longer, further demoralizing his status, which contributes to the betrayal of the compass. "We no longer follow a Captain without a ship!" So for pirates, ships matter!

  • 1
    Ragetti seems to have an excellent vocabulary, subverting the stereotype. – Peter Taylor Feb 23 '19 at 11:47
  • 1
    "Dichotomy", "cephalopod", the original Scandinavian for "kraken"... – Peter Taylor Feb 23 '19 at 18:06
  • 1
    Oh man..I'm getting more downvotes for this, anyway, I think you have a better pov in your answer, it's not 100% what I was lookin for, but its closer. thank you! – Vishwa Feb 25 '19 at 8:39
  • I'm sorry. I know the feeling! The only suggestion I could make is that you could add to your Q is that you're interested in the context of the dialogue and ask what the dialogue did for the scene. – Darth Locke Feb 25 '19 at 13:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .