William Shakespeare Glossary

acknown aware. (Othello)

adventure my discretion risk my reputation. (The Tempest)

aery nest. (Hamlet)

affectioned affected, one who puts on airs. (Twelfth Night)

affections swayed passions ruled. (Julius Caesar)

against the hair or, as we say, "against the grain," a metaphor from brushing the hair of an animal the opposite way to which it lies. (Romeo and Juliet)

agnize acknowledge. (Othello)

aimed so near guessed as much. (Romeo and Juliet)

alarum'd summoned to action. (Macbeth)

alike bewitched each of them equally enchanted. (Romeo and Juliet)

all exercise i.e., all their habitual activity. (The Tempest)

ambition for the Elizabethans the word had the special meaning of unscrupulous pursuit of power. (Julius Caesar)

amerce punish. (Romeo and Juliet)

Anon, anon In a moment! (Macbeth)

anters caves. (Othello)

a patient list the limits of patience. (Othello)

apparent prodigies wonders that have appeared. (Julius Caesar)

argal therefore. (Hamlet)

aroint thee begone. (King Lear)

arrant out-and-out. (Hamlet)

arras tapestry, commonly hung in medieval castles from ceiling to floor for the prevention of drafts. (Hamlet)

as thou list any way you like. (The Tempest)

asquint crookedly, falsely. (King Lear)

atomies miniature beings. (Romeo and Juliet)

augurers priests who interpreted omens. (Julius Caesar)

auspicious mistress as a favorable influence. (King Lear)

bastinado thrashing or cudgeling. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

batten glut yourself. (Hamlet)

bawbling small. (Twelfth Night)

bawcock fine fellow. (Twelfth Night)

bawd go-between a man and a woman. (Romeo and Juliet)

bear hard bear a grudge against. (Julius Caesar)

beetles o'er overhangs. (Hamlet)

beggarly account very small number. (Romeo and Juliet)

behoveful necessary. (Romeo and Juliet)

beldams hags. (Macbeth)

belike probably. (King Lear)

berattle abuse. (Hamlet)

beshrew a curse, plague upon. (Hamlet); blame. (Romeo and Juliet); confound. (Twelfth Night)

betid happened. (The Tempest)

betimes at once. (Julius Caesar)

betoken indicate. (Hamlet)

bewray reveal. (King Lear)

biddy common name for a hen. (Twelfth Night)

bilboes fetters. (Hamlet)

bird of night the owl. (Julius Caesar)

bite my thumb an insulting gesture in Shakespeare's time. (Romeo and Juliet)

bite thee by the ear a term of endearment, not of assault. (Romeo and Juliet)

blasted barren. (Macbeth)

blazon proclamation (like a coat-of-arms, or possibly, a triumphant blast on the trumpet). (Twelfth Night)

blinking idiot that is, a fool's head. (The Merchant of Venice)

bodements prophecies. (Macbeth)

bodkin dagger. (Hamlet)

bombard leather bottle. (The Tempest)

bootless useless. (King Lear); vainly. (Julius Caesar)

bosky wooded. (The Tempest)

bowers glades. (Twelfth Night)

brach hound bitch. (King Lear)

brainsickly foolishly. (Macbeth)

bray out celebrate. (Hamlet)

break his day fail to pay on the prescribed day. (The Merchant of Venice)

break with break our news to, discuss. (Julius Caesar)

brief candle life is compared to a candle flame. (Macbeth)

bring the device to the bar bring the trick out into the open, to be judged (a flavor of the law is in these words). (Twelfth Night)

brock badger or skunk. (Twelfth Night)

broken sinews racked nerves. (King Lear)

bruit echo. (Hamlet)

buckler shield. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

busky bushy. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

but soft slowly. (Julius Caesar)

caitiff wretch (term of endearment). (Othello)

caliver light kind of musket or harquebus introduced during the 16th century; it seems to have been the lightest portable fire-arm, except the pistol, and was fired without a "rest." (King Henry IV, Part 1)

callet whore. (Othello)

cank'red, cankered rusty, malignant (a canker is a bud-destroying worm; hence cancer). (Romeo and Juliet)

cantons love songs (cantos). (Twelfth Night)

cap-a-pe fully armed from head to foot. (Hamlet)

carded mixed with something base. The word was in use from 1590 to 1635 for mixing different kinds of drink. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

carrion men decaying corpses. (Julius Caesar)

carrions living carcasses. (Julius Caesar)

cashiered dismissed (but not necessarily without honor). (Othello)

casing all-embracing. (Macbeth)

catch musical round. (Twelfth Night)

cater-cousins close friends. (The Merchant of Venice)

caterwauling making a wailing noise like a cat. From Middle English cat + wawen, to wail (an onomatopoetic word, whose sound echoes its meaning). (Twelfth Night)

cautel craft. (Hamlet)

cerecloth shroud. (The Merchant of Venice)

cerements winding-sheets, shroud. (Hamlet)

certes assuredly. (Othello)

chafing with beating on. (Julius Caesar)

chalked forth indicated the direction. (The Tempest)

champain flat, open country. (Twelfth Night)

changed eyes fallen in love; the phrase, arising from the exchange of amorous glances, was a common Elizabethan one. (The Tempest)

chaps jaws. (Macbeth)

charactery what is written upon, i.e., the meaning. (Julius Caesar)

chariest most modest and virtuous. (Hamlet)

charmingly for the Elizabethans the word "charm" usually carried a reference to magic, as it does here. (The Tempest)

checking at swerving aside from. (Hamlet)

cheveril glove kid leather (easily stretchable). (Twelfth Night)

chinks cash (from the clatter of the coins). (Romeo and Juliet)

chop-logic one who bandies logic; one who exchanges trivial points of logic. (Romeo and Juliet)

chopt chapped. (Julius Caesar)

chough jackdaw (i.e., a chatterer). (Hamlet)

Christian cursy Christian charity. (The Merchant of Venice)

civet perfume. (King Lear)

clepe call. (Hamlet); "clept." (Macbeth)

climatures regions. (Hamlet)

clodpole blockhead. (Twelfth Night)

cobbler this means bungler as well as shoemaker. (Julius Caesar)

cockatrices mythological creatures, half serpent, half cockerel, famed for killing at a glance. (Twelfth Night)

collied darkened. (Othello)

collier coal-miner. (Twelfth Night)

Colossus the huge statue of Apollo at the harbour of Rhodes. It was erroneously thought that its legs spanned the harbour entrance. (Julius Caesar)

colour excuse. (Julius Caesar)

common proof common experience. (Julius Caesar)

compass bring about. (Twelfth Night)

compliment extern outward appearance. (Othello)

comptible sensitive. (Twelfth Night)

concave shores overhanging banks. (Julius Caesar)

conceit imaginings, nightmares. (Romeo and Juliet)

condition constitution, state of mind. (Julius Caesar)

contagious blastments destructive blights. (Hamlet)

contemned love love that is given but not returned. (Twelfth Night)

continuate uninterrupted. (Othello)

contracted bachelors young men who are engaged to be married and whose banns are being called in church. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

corky dry with age. (King Lear)

coronets small crown, or perhaps a laurel wreath. (Julius Caesar)

corse body. (Hamlet); corpse. (Romeo and Juliet)

court of guard headquarters. (Othello)

coxcomb a fool's cap, often with a cock's comb attached to the top. (King Lear)

coystrill knave or base fellow. (Twelfth Night)

cozen cheat. (The Merchant of Venice)

cozier cobbler. (Twelfth Night)

crickets cry thought of as an omen of death. (Macbeth)

crisped curly. (The Merchant of Venice)

crochets whims. (Romeo and Juliet)

crossed opposed. (Julius Caesar)

crowner coroner (one who conducts inquests). (Twelfth Night)

crush a cup a common colloquial expression in Elizabethan English comparable to "crack open a bottle." (Romeo and Juliet)

cry you mercy beg your pardon. (Othello)

cubiculo room, chamber. (Twelfth Night)

cullionly barbermonger rascal who goes too often to the barber. (King Lear)

cursy curtsey, bow. (The Merchant of Venice)

cut-purse thief. (Hamlet)

dallying fondling one another. (Hamlet)

date is out, the it is no longer the fashion. (Romeo and Juliet)

dateless everlasting. (Romeo and Juliet)

daws jackdaws, or fools. (Othello)

dear account sad reckoning. In Elizabethan English the word "dear" intensified the meaning - you could have a "dear friend" and a "dear enemy." (Romeo and Juliet)

death's-head skull. (The Merchant of Venice)

denotement careful observation. (Othello)

dilate tell fully. (Othello)

dismount thy tuck take thy rapier out of its scabbard or sheath. (Twelfth Night)

dissemble deceive. (Twelfth Night)

distaff the spinning staff, and hence symbol of the woman. (King Lear)

distemperature illness or other physical disorder. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

do my duties voice my loyalty. (Othello)

dog at clever at. (Twelfth Night)

doit cheap coin. (The Merchant of Venice)

dormouse valour small amount of bravery. (Twelfth Night)

doublet lined jacket. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

doves the Chariot of Venus was drawn by doves, which were sacred to her. (Romeo and Juliet)

down-gyved fallen, like shackles, about the ankles. (Hamlet)

drabbing associating with prostitutes. (Hamlet)

dram small amount. (Twelfth Night)

dropping fire thunderbolts. (Julius Caesar)

drops of sorrow tears. (Macbeth)

drossy frivolous. (Hamlet)

dry sorrow (drinks our blood) another old belief, that sorrow caused people to go pale through lack of blood. (Romeo and Juliet)

dudgeon handle. (Macbeth)

dunnest darkest. (Macbeth)

dun's the mouse a slang Elizabethan phrase meaning "Keep quiet." (Romeo and Juliet)

dupp'd opened. (Hamlet)

dwell on form do the proper thing (in the formal, conventional way). (Romeo and Juliet)

eanlings lambs. (The Merchant of Venice)

Egyptian gypsy. (Othello)

elflocks when dirty hair became clotted together it was superstitiously put down to elves, hence "elflocks." (Romeo and Juliet)

eliads from the French "oeillades," amorous glances. (King Lear)

Elysium paradise (Illyria). (Twelfth Night)

embowell'd embalmed. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

encave hide. (Othello)

enchafed angry. (Othello)

endues brings. (Othello)

engluts devours. (Othello)

ensteeped submerged. (Othello)

envy hatred. (The Tempest); malice. (Julius Caesar)

enwheel encompass. (Othello)

erns grieves. (Julius Caesar)

Ethiop's Negro, as used by Shakespeare, not Ethiopian in its narrower sense. (Romeo and Juliet)

extravagant and erring vagrant and wandering (both used in original Latin sense, a common device of Shakespeare). (Hamlet)

extremities extremes of power. (Julius Caesar)

eyeless invisible. (King Lear)

eyes' windows eyelids (shutters). (Romeo and Juliet)

fable palm of the hand. (The Merchant of Venice)

factious active. (Julius Caesar)

fadge fall into place. (Twelfth Night)

fain glad, gladly, willingly. (King Lear) (Romeo and Juliet) (Hamlet)

fall off become a rebel or traitor. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

falling sickness epilepsy. (Julius Caesar)

Falls purpose is close to the truth. (Julius Caesar)

fashion shape to our purpose. (Julius Caesar)

fat amiable and satisfied. (Julius Caesar)

Fates in classical mythology, the three goddesses who directed human destinies. (Julius Caesar)

favour feature. (Julius Caesar)

feather-bed i.e.. marriage. (The Merchant of Venice)

festinate speedy. (King Lear)

fetches excuses. (King Lear)

fia forward! (from the Italian via.) (The Merchant of Venice)

Fie interjection expressing sense of outraged propriety. (Hamlet)

figures fantasies. (Julius Caesar)

fleer scorn, or mock at. (Romeo and Juliet)

fleering the Elizabethan meaning combined our "fawning" and "sneering." (Julius Caesar)

Flibbertigibbet the name of a devil; here and later Shakespeare takes the names of his devils - Smulkin, Modo - from a book by Samuel Harsnett published in 1603. The names also give the effect of the devils, fiends and goblins of folk mythology, which would come naturally to Tom o' Bedlam. (King Lear)

flirt-gills loose women. "Gill" was a familiar or contemptuous term for a girl (as "Jack" for a boy). (Romeo and Juliet)

flote flood, and hence also sea. (The Tempest)

flowerets young men in the flower of their manhood. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

flung out kicked and plunged wildly. (Macbeth)

fobbed cheated. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

foison harvest, abundance. (The Tempest)

fools' zanies clowns' assistants. (Twelfth Night)

fopped duped. (Othello)

fordid destroyed. (King Lear); destroys. (Othello)

forks legs. (King Lear)

formal constancy steadfast self-possession. (Julius Caesar)

four elements earth, air, fire, and water: The Elizabethans believed that humanity was made up of various combinations of these four elements. The theory of humours was based upon this theory. (Twelfth Night)

franklin yeoman farmer or holder of the freehold to a property. These men were in effect landed gentry. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

frieze rough cloth. (Othello)

frippery old-clothes shop. (The Tempest)

from the main not the strong. (Julius Caesar)

fulsome fat. (The Merchant of Venice)

fust grow moldy. (Hamlet)

fustian bombastic, ridiculously pompous (when used as an adjective). (Twelfth Night)

gage to bind as by oath or promise; to pledge. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

gaged indebted. (The Merchant of Venice); pledged. (Hamlet)

gallow frighten. (King Lear)

galls his kibe steps on (scrapes) his heel. (Hamlet)

gamesome sportive. (Julius Caesar)

gaskins breeches. (Twelfth Night)

gasted frightened (as in "aghast"). (King Lear)

gauntlet armored glove flung down as a challenge. (King Lear)

gentle noble, or well-born; mild or amiable. (Julius Caesar)

get the start i.e., a head start; the metaphor from the running of a race is carried on in the victor's "palm" in the next line. (Julius Caesar)

gib tomcat. (Hamlet)

give him o'er leave someone alone. (The Tempest)

glazed a combination of glared and gazed. (Julius Caesar)

gleek jest, mock. (Romeo and Juliet)

goatish the goat was frequently used to represent lechery by the Elizabethans. (King Lear)

God-den good evening, a contraction of the fuller "God give you a good even." (Romeo and Juliet)

goodyears the word is usually taken to refer to the forces of evil, in accordance with the folk tradition of calling evil spirits by innocent names, e.g., "little people" for "goblins." (King Lear)

goose tailor's iron. (Macbeth)

gouts drops. (Macbeth)

grace for grace favor in return for favor. (Romeo and Juliet)

gramercy many thanks. (The Merchant of Venice)

great wheel the wheel of Fortune, and the great man (King Lear) in decline. (King Lear)

green sour ringlets fairy rings formed by toadstools. (The Tempest)

grise degree. (Othello)

grizzled gray. (Hamlet)

gross and scope general conclusion. (Hamlet)

gross in sense perfectly clear. (Othello)

groundings the poorer and less critical section of the audience who stood in the pit. (Hamlet)

gudgeon a fish. (The Merchant of Venice)

gull deceive and trick. (Twelfth Night)

guttered jagged. (Othello)

hams knees. (Romeo and Juliet)

haply perhaps. (Hamlet)

hard construction uncharitable interpretation. (Twelfth Night)

hardiment hard blows. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

harpy a mythical beast having the head of a woman and the body, wings, and talons of an eagle: supposed to act as an agent of vengeance. (The Tempest)

hart deer, with a pun on heart. (Julius Caesar)

have at thee on guard! (Romeo and Juliet)

have old have a great deal of trouble (a slang term). (Macbeth)

hearts of controversy in rivalry. (Julius Caesar)

heath a waste tract of land. (Macbeth)

heat-oppressed capable of being handled. (Macbeth)

heave the gorge become nauseated. (Othello)

heavy summons a feeling of heavy drowsiness. (Macbeth)

heir-apparent next in line to the throne. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

hests commands. (The Tempest)

hie hurry. (Julius Caesar)

high-lone quite alone. (Romeo and Juliet)

high-sighted ambitious. (Julius Caesar)

hilding a good-for-nothing. (Romeo and Juliet)

hinds deer. (Julius Caesar)

hit together agree. (King Lear)

hob, nob hit or miss. (Twelfth Night)

hold carelessly think little of someone. (Romeo and Juliet)

holidam originally the holy relics upon which oaths were sworn; by the late 16th century this word was used as a weak asseveration or mild oath. (Romeo and Juliet)

holp archaic form of helped. (Romeo and Juliet)

horned man's cuckold's. (Othello)

housewives hussies. (Othello)

hugger-mugger secret haste. (Hamlet)

humour feeling (of fear); to persuade by flattery; or a mood, temperament, or mist. (Julius Caesar)

hunts-up originally the sound that roused huntsmen, this expression means any morning greeting. (Romeo and Juliet)

hurlyburly the noise and confusion of battle. (Macbeth)

husbandry thrift. (Hamlet)

ides the 15th day of the month. (Julius Caesar)

ill-divining foreboding evil. (Romeo and Juliet)

Illyria a mythical land somewhere in the Mediterranean. (Twelfth Night)

impawn'd pledged. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

import concern. (Othello)

in scarlet, to be blush. (Romeo and Juliet)

incarnadine turn blood-red. (Macbeth)

indign unworthy. (Othello)

ingraft habitual. (Othello)

ingrafted deep-rooted. (Julius Caesar)

insuppressive unsuppressable, indomitable. (Julius Caesar)

intentively with full attention. (Othello)

intermit hold off. (Julius Caesar)

inurn'd buried. (Hamlet)

Jacks fellows (contemptuous). (The Merchant of Venice)

jaunce trudging about. (Romeo and Juliet)

jaundice a symptom of violent passion. (The Merchant of Venice)

jealous in the sense of suspicious. (Julius Caesar)

jointress partner. (Hamlet)

Jove King of the Roman gods. (Romeo and Juliet)

jowls bumps. (Hamlet)

kisses Emilia the usual Renaissance form of social courtesy. (Othello)

knapped knocked. (King Lear); nibbled. (The Merchant of Venice)

knits up straightens out. (Macbeth)

knotted and combined locks i.e., lying together in a mass. (Hamlet)

ladybird a term of endearment, similar to "lamb." (Romeo and Juliet)

lay-to use. (The Tempest)

lazar-like like leprosy. (Hamlet)

leasing the power of telling lies. (Twelfth Night)

leman sweetheart. (Twelfth Night)

lethe in classical mythology Lethe was a river in Hades, the waters of which induced forgetfulness. Here the association is with death generally. (Julius Caesar)

lief soon. (Hamlet)

liver the Elizabethans considered the liver to be the seat of the emotions. (The Merchant of Venice)

liver, brain, and heart the liver vied with the heart as the seat of the bodily passions in the Elizabethan physiology; the brain was to control the exercise of both the affections and the passions. (Twelfth Night)

livings possessions. (The Merchant of Venice)

loath reluctant. (Twelfth Night)

loggerheads numbskulls. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

long-ingraffed long-standing. (King Lear)

lown rascal. (Othello)

lym bloodhound. (King Lear)

magnificoes magnates, great men. (The Merchant of Venice)

maidenhead virginity. (Twelfth Night)

make shift be able to, manage. (The Merchant of Venice)

makes dainty comes shyly. (Romeo and Juliet)

malapert impertinent. (Twelfth Night)

marchpane confectionery made of almond paste, sugar, and marzipan. (Romeo and Juliet)

marry an oath, by (the Virgin) Mary! but in effect no stronger than "indeed." (Romeo and Juliet)

(Julius Caesar)

masterless abandoned. (Romeo and Juliet)

maugre despite (Fr. malgre). (Twelfth Night) (King Lear)

mazzard head. (Othello)

meet proper. (Julius Caesar)

meetest fittest. (The Merchant of Venice)

meiny followers, attendants. (King Lear)

memento mori reminder of death (usually a skull). (King Henry IV, Part 1)

meshes net. (The Merchant of Venice)

mewed up to her heaviness encased in her grief. (Romeo and Juliet)

micher truant (our colloquial word "moocher" is derived from this). (King Henry IV, Part 1)

miching mallecho slinking mischief. (Hamlet)

might not but must. (Othello)

minion darling, favorite. (Macbeth)

misprision misunderstanding. (Twelfth Night)

moe more. (Julius Caesar) (The Merchant of Venice)

moiety competent sufficient portion. (Hamlet)

moo more. (Othello)

mooncalf monstrosity. (The Tempest)

mortal arbitrament settle a dispute by duelling to the death of one contestant. (Twelfth Night)

motion of the liver the liver was regarded as the seat of the passions. (Twelfth Night)

mountebanks charlatans who sell quack medicine. (Othello)

mouse-hunt one who runs after women. (Romeo and Juliet)

mow make faces. (The Tempest)

much ado much trouble, fuss. (King Lear)

much unfurnished not ready. (Romeo and Juliet)

Mugs common name for a country bumpkin. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

mushrumps mushrooms. (The Tempest)

music from the spheres according to Pythagoras, the universe consisted of eight hollow spheres, inside of which the earth and all the other planets are fixed. The spheres produced a note, each of which combined to produce perfect harmony that is inaudible to the human ear. The earth is at the center of this system. (Twelfth Night)

mute slave whose tongue has been removed for security reasons, or silent person. Both mutes and eunuchs were associated with oriental courts. (Twelfth Night)

naughty insolent, wicked. A stronger term for the Elizabethans than for us. (Julius Caesar)

new abroach newly afoot (newly underway). (Romeo and Juliet)

night-tripping fairy it was commonly believed that elves and fairies sometimes exchanged well-favored babies for nasty ones, who were often called changelings. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

nimble-footed madcap. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

nimble-pinioned doves nimble-winged doves. Doves pulled Venus' chariot and were held sacred by her. (Romeo and Juliet)

nonce occasion. (Hamlet)

nothing jealous have no doubt. Frequently used by Elizabethans. (Julius Caesar)

nuncle an abbreviation of mine uncle; intimacies of address such as this were permitted to a "licensed fool." (King Lear)

O proper stuff A fine thing this! (Macbeth)

occulted hidden. (Hamlet)

odd-even between night and day. (Othello)

o'er ears i.e., underwater. (The Tempest)

of general assault common to all men. (Hamlet)

of wax i.e., as handsome as if he had been modeled in wax, finer than men usually are. (Romeo and Juliet)

on the hip at my mercy. (Othello)

orb poetic word for world. (Twelfth Night)

ordinary a tavern. (Julius Caesar)

othergates otherwise (than). (Twelfth Night)

out of haunt away from others. (Hamlet)

out of warrant unjustifiable. (Othello)

out angry. (Julius Caesar)

outface them get the better of them. (The Merchant of Venice)

overname name them over. (The Merchant of Venice)

paddock a toad, as in an attendant spirit that calls a witch when it is time to go on some evil errand. (Macbeth)

pale Hecate Hecate, goddess of the moon and the underworld, was queen of the witches and witchcraft. (Macbeth)

palmy flourishing. (Hamlet)

palter quibble or deceive. (Julius Caesar)

pard or cat o' mountain leopard. (The Tempest)

parle parley. (Hamlet)

patch clown or fool. (The Merchant of Venice)

paunch stab. (The Tempest)

pearl all that's good in the kingdom. (Macbeth)

peize "piece out," delay. (The Merchant of Venice)

pennyworths small quantities (of sleep); pronounced "pennorths." (Romeo and Juliet)

pent-house lid the eyelid that resembles a sloped roof. (Macbeth)

perdy from the French par dieu, by God. (King Lear)

periwig-pated bewigged. (Hamlet)

perpetual wink endless sleep; death. (The Tempest)

pignuts peanuts. (The Tempest)

plume up gratify. (Othello)

point-devise to the point of perfection. (Twelfth Night)

poor pennyworth only a small quantity. (The Merchant of Venice)

portance behavior. (Othello)

possets a drink made from hot curdled milk, ale, wine, etc., and taken usually on retiring. (Macbeth)

posy inscription inside a ring, often in verse. (The Merchant of Venice)

pout'st upon treat with contempt. (Romeo and Juliet)

practicing upon plotting against. (Othello)

praetor magistrate. (Julius Caesar)

prate chatter, gossip. (Macbeth)

prick spur. (Julius Caesar)

primy in its prime, youthful. (Hamlet)

princox PRIN/ce of COX/combs; pert, saucy boy, upstart. (Romeo and Juliet)

prithee I entreat you. (Twelfth Night)

prodigies unnatural events. (Julius Caesar)

proof of constancy test of endurance. (Julius Caesar)

proper belonging. (Julius Caesar)

propertied me made a tool of. (Twelfth Night)

prorogued adjourned (postponed). (Romeo and Juliet)

pudder tumult. (King Lear)

puddled muddied. (Othello)

puling whining. (Romeo and Juliet)

purblind quite blind or merely dimsighted. (Romeo and Juliet)

is pure innocence i.e., has the same childlike sincerity. (The Merchant of Venice)

purple-hued malt-worm purplefaced beer-drinkers. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

pursy sensual. (Hamlet)

put foil set it off by contrast. (The Tempest)

put on incite. (Othello); reveal. (Julius Caesar)

put to silence a euphemism for executed. (Julius Caesar)

put up our pipes pack up. (Romeo and Juliet)

quailing cowardly giving up. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

quaint the word has various Elizabethan meanings: skillful, ingenious, delicate, elegant. (The Tempest)

quick mettle mentally sharp. (Julius Caesar)

quiddities subtle distinctions, hair-splitting. (Hamlet)

quilets quibbles. (Hamlet)

quillets quips. (Othello)

rack'd reference to the rack, an instrument of torture. (Twelfth Night)

rank garb gross manner. (Othello)

ranker greater. (Hamlet)

rated upbraided. (Julius Caesar)

razes roots (from Latin, radix root). (King Henry IV, Part 1)

reasonable shore the shore of reason, the mind. (The Tempest)

receiving sensitive understanding. (Twelfth Night)

recks rede takes no care of his own counsel. (Hamlet)

reechy literally smoky, foul. (Hamlet)

reeking sweating. (King Lear)

remembrances love-tokens. (Hamlet)

rest you merry a colloquial term of farewell, comparable to our "All the best!" (Romeo and Juliet)

reverb no hollowness i.e., make no noise, as a hollow vessel does when it is struck. (King Lear)

rheumy moist. (Julius Caesar)

rive split open. (King Lear); split in two. (Julius Caesar)

robustious ranting. (Hamlet)

romage rummage, bustle. (Hamlet)

ronyon a term of abuse or contempt. (Macbeth)

rouse draught of liquor, bumper, toast. (Hamlet)

rump-fed fed with expensive cuts of meat. (Macbeth)

sable silver'd black streaked with white. (Hamlet)

sallies sudden advances in battle. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

saws maxims, aphorisms. (Twelfth Night)

scant show well scarcely appear attractive. (Romeo and Juliet)

scanted ignored. (King Lear); stingy. (King Lear)

scarfed with flags flying. (The Merchant of Venice)

Scone where Scottish kings were crowned. (Macbeth)

scotch'd slashed, gashed. (Macbeth)

scrimers fencers. (Hamlet)

scutcheon shield on coat of arms. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

se offendendo in self-defense. (Hamlet)

seated in the mean with neither too much nor too little. (The Merchant of Venice)

sect or scion cutting or offshoot. (Othello)

seel blind, close. (Othello)

self-bounty inherent goodness. (Othello)

selfsame flight same sort. (The Merchant of Venice)

sennet a musical phrase played on the trumpet indicating a ceremonial entrance. (King Lear)

sequestration separation. (Othello)

set cock-a-hoop orig., to drink without stint, make good cheer recklessly, (hence) to cast off all restraint. (Romeo and Juliet)

several bastardy not true Roman blood (Julius Caesar)

shark'd gathered indiscriminately. (Hamlet)

shent rebuked, reproved, blamed. (Twelfth Night) (Hamlet)

shoon shoes. (Hamlet)

shoughs shaggy-haired dogs. (Macbeth)

shrift confession. (Romeo and Juliet)

shut up retired to rest. (Macbeth)

sick offence harmful illness. (Julius Caesar)

sift him find out what one knows. (Hamlet)

signifying nothing lacking sense or meaning. (Macbeth)

sir-reverence filth, dung. "Sir-reverence" came to mean this because the word prefaced mention of unpleasant things (a corruption of "save your reverence;" i.e., excuse my mentioning it). (Romeo and Juliet)

skimble-skamble stuff confused, rambling nonsense. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

sleave skein (of silk). (Macbeth)

slenderly known himself knows little of his real self. (King Lear)

'slight by God's light (common Elizabethan oath). (Twelfth Night)

slipp'd the hour passed the appointed time. (Macbeth)

slubber make a mess of. (The Merchant of Venice)

slug-abed lit. slug in a bed, i.e., lazy creature. (Romeo and Juliet)

smilets little smiles. (King Lear)

sneck up! Go hang (onomatopoetic sound of a man's neck breaking.) (Twelfth Night)

Soft you! i.e., Hold on; wait. (Hamlet) (Julius Caesar)

sonties saints. (The Merchant of Venice)

sooth truth. (Macbeth)

sounded proclaimed. (Julius Caesar)

sow'd a grizzle on thy case grown a beard on your face. (Twelfth Night)

spleen anger. (Othello); fiery impetuosity. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

splenetive full of spleen, hot-tempered. (Hamlet)

spongy drunk, saturated with liquor. (Macbeth)

springe snare. (Hamlet)

stand close stand back, conceal yourself. (Julius Caesar)

star-crossed i.e., their fortunes were marred by the influence of the stars. That men's natures and fortunes were influenced by the star under which they were born was a widespread superstition of Elizabethan times. (Romeo and Juliet)

steads benefits. (Romeo and Juliet)

still always. A common Elizabethan use. (Hamlet)

still quiring ever singing. (The Merchant of Venice)

stoup cup, flagon, or tankard. (Twelfth Night) (Hamlet)

stronds shores. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

stumblest on my counsel overhears by accident my secret thoughts. (Romeo and Juliet)

suborn'd secretly induced or hired. (Macbeth)

suit wooing. (Twelfth Night)

swag-bellied loose-bellied. (Othello)

swashing blow knock-out blow. (Romeo and Juliet)

sweet friends i.e., the two lips. (The Merchant of Venice)

swoopstake in a clean sweep. (Hamlet)

swounded fainted. (Julius Caesar)

tabor small drum used by professional clowns and jesters. (Twelfth Night)

taper candle. (Julius Caesar)

tardiness in nature natural reticence. (King Lear)

teen pain. (The Tempest)

tell the clock answer appropriately. (The Tempest)

tenders offers. (Hamlet)

termagant violent. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

terms compulsative force. (Hamlet)

tetchy fretful, peevish. (Romeo and Juliet)

Thane an old title of nobility in Scotland almost equal to that of earl. (Macbeth)

Theban the association of the Greek city Thebes, as with Athens, is with philosophical inquiry. (King Lear)

thought-executing numbing the thought. (King Lear)

thunder-stone thunderbolt, lightning. (Julius Caesar)

tinkers tinkers were a noisy lot and, being gypsies, had their own language (Romany). (Twelfth Night)

'Tis all one i.e., 'tis all the same, it makes no difference to me. (Romeo and Juliet)

Tom o' Bedlam one who begs on the roads and has been released from the London madhouse, Bethlehem ("Bedlam") Hospital. (King Lear)

topgallant highest sail on the mast; hence, summit. (Romeo and Juliet)

toy in blood trifling passion. (Hamlet)

traffic trade, commerce. (The Tempest)

traject ferry (from Italian traghetto). (The Merchant of Venice)

trammel up catch, as in a net. (Macbeth)

travelling lamp the sun. (Macbeth)

trencher wooden plate, lit. one to cut food upon. (Romeo and Juliet)

trimmed dressed up. (Othello)

tristful sorrowful. (Hamlet)

trowest believe, give credit to. (King Lear)

truckle-bed small bed on wheels (cf. "truck") which (for a servant) was pushed under a larger bed (the master's), trundle bed. (Romeo and Juliet)

truncheon a general's baton. (Hamlet)

turn Turk turn bad. (Hamlet)

two-headed Janus a Roman god represented with two faces, one smiling and the other frowning. (The Merchant of Venice)

unbend relax. (Macbeth)

unbitted uncontrolled. (Othello)

unbound unbounded, unmarried, free. (Romeo and Juliet)

unbraced with doublet untied, open. (Julius Caesar)

unbruised unspoiled. (Romeo and Juliet)

uncharge the practice acquit us of plotting. (Hamlet)

undergoing stomach enduring spirit. (The Tempest)

undone returned to chaos. (Macbeth)

ungently discourteously. (Julius Caesar)

unhoused unrestrained. (Othello)

unhousel'd not having received the sacrament. (Hamlet)

unmake unnerve. (Macbeth)

unprevailing futile. (Hamlet)

unprovide unsettle. (Othello)

unreclaimed untamed. (Hamlet)

unsinew'd weak. (Hamlet)

unstuffed by care (anxiety). (Romeo and Juliet)

untaught unmannerly, ignorant. (Romeo and Juliet)

untented uncurable; to "tent" a wound was to probe and clean it. (King Lear)

unthrifty unlucky. (Romeo and Juliet)

unyoke i.e., consider your day's work done. (Hamlet)

upon the gad on the spur of the moment. (King Lear)

up-staring standing straight up. (The Tempest)

urchin-shows it was an Elizabethan folk belief that malignant spirits appeared in the form of hedgehogs to torment people. (The Tempest)

usance interest on money lent. (The Merchant of Venice)

vailing lowering. (The Merchant of Venice)

varlets low, uncouth characters. (The Tempest)

varnished faces i.e., wearing painted masks. (The Merchant of Venice)

verdure vitality, health. (The Tempest)

vestal livery virgin uniform. (Romeo and Juliet)

villanies evil qualities. (Macbeth)

virgin hue whiteness; the Elizabethans usually spoke of silver as being white. (The Merchant of Venice)

vizards masks. (Macbeth)

void your rheum spit. (The Merchant of Venice)

vulgar, the the common people. (Julius Caesar)

wafter wave. (Julius Caesar)

wag witty fellow. (King Henry IV, Part 1)

want-wit one who lacks wits. (The Merchant of Venice)

watch him tame keep after him until he agrees with you. (Othello)

watchful cares cares that keep one awake. (Julius Caesar)

water-rugs rough water dogs. (Macbeth)

weak supposal poor opinion. (Hamlet)

weather-fends protects from the weather. (The Tempest)

weird sisters weird, meant fateful, as in the three fates of Graeco-Roman mythology. (Macbeth)

welkin sky, one of the elements. (Twelfth Night)

well conceited both correctly conceived and aptly expressed. (Julius Caesar)

weraday alas the day. (Romeo and Juliet)

whe'r frequent in Shakespeare for whether. (Julius Caesar)

white-upturned with eyes rolled, as in the whites of the eyes turned upward. (Romeo and Juliet)

whoreson worthless (literally bastard). (Hamlet)

will he, nill he willy-nilly, whether he wishes or not. (Hamlet)

willow cabin small hut with willow (the sign of unrequited love) before it. (Twelfth Night)

wild-goose chase my following you. The term "wild-goose chase" was applied to a contest where two riders started together and as soon as one obtained the lead, the other had to follow over the same ground, unless he could overtake him, when the position was reversed. The name is taken from the way a flock of geese flies in a line. The phrase has a rather different meaning now. (Romeo and Juliet)

wilt must. (Romeo and Juliet)

windlasses roundabout means, indirect attempts. (Hamlet)

wonder-wounded overcome with wonder. (Hamlet)

wondrous sensible very deeply felt. (The Merchant of Venice)

worser genius bad spirit. (The Tempest)

wot know. (Romeo and Juliet)

yarely quickly, smartly. (The Tempest)

yerked stabbed. (Othello)

yoeman a property owner, but beneath a gentleman in social rank. (King Lear)

young-eyed the cherubim, according to Ezekiel 10:12: were endowed with keenness of vision above all other heavenly creatures. (The Merchant of Venice)

younker sucker (colloquial) (King Henry IV, Part 1); youngster. (The Merchant of Venice)

your mind hold if you don't change your mind; if you are still sane. (Julius Caesar)