Study Help Full Glossary for Paradise Lost


abash't (595) embarrassed and ill at ease; abashed.

abyss (405) Theol. the primeval void or chaos before the Creation.

Adamantine (48) of or like adamant; very hard; unbreakable.

alchymy (516) an early form of chemistry studied in the Middle Ages, whose chief aim was to change base metals into gold and to discover the elixir of perpetual youth. Milton uses the word in this instance in its meaning of "metal."

Amarantin (78) dark purplish-red.

ambrosial (245) of or fit for the gods; divine.

Apocalypse (2) any of various Jewish and Christian pseudonymous writings (c. 200 B.C-c. A.D. 300) depicting symbolically the ultimate destruction of evil and triumph of good.

apostate (172) one who has abandoned his belief, faith, cause, or principles.

Archangel (41) a chief angel; angel of high rank.

arede (962) advise.

arrogate (27) to claim or seize without right.

Atlantean (305) of or like Atlas; strong.

behemoth (467) a large beast mentioned in the Bible; in Milton's time the term probably referred to the elephant.

blasphemed (411) to have spoken irreverently or profanely of or to God or sacred things.

bower (734) a place enclosed by overhanging boughs of trees or by vines on a trellis; arbor.

brand (643) [Archaic] a sword.

catarrh (483) inflammation of a mucous membrane, esp. of the nose or throat, causing an increased flow of mucus.

Causey (415) a causeway.

Champaign (2) a broad plain; flat, open country.

Chaos (421) the disorder of formless matter and infinite space, supposed to have existed before the ordered universe Milton personifies.

Cherub (157) one of the winged heavenly beings that support the throne of God or act as guardian spirits.

colloquy (455) a conversation, esp. a formal discussion.

contemned (432) to treat or think of with contempt; scorn.

Cope (215) a large, capelike vestment worn by priests at certain ceremonies; anything that covers like a cope, as a vault or the sky.

corporeal (109) physical; bodily; not spiritual.

dalliance (1016) flirting, toying, or trifling. Milton uses the term as a euphemism for sex.

descry (228) to catch sight of; discern.

discount'nanc't (110) ashamed or embarrassed; disconcerted.

effeminate (634) having the qualities generally attributed to women; unmanly; not virile. Milton uses the term in the sense that a man allows a woman to take his place in the natural hierarchy in which, for Milton, women were inferior to men, especially in terms of reason and intellect.

efficacy (660) effectiveness.

Empyreal / Empyrean (430) the highest heaven; among Christian poets, the abode of God.

enthrallment (171) [Now Rare] enslavement.

Ethereal (45) not earthly; heavenly; celestial.

euphrasy (414) eyebright; any plant of the figwort family having pale lavender flowers in leafy clusters.

fealty (344) loyalty; fidelity.

Fiend (430) here, Satan.

firmament (261) the sky, viewed poetically as a solid arch or vault.

foreknowledge (118) knowledge of something before it happens or exists; prescience.

frith (919) a narrow inlet or arm of the sea.

glozing (93) [Obs.] to fawn or flatter. Used by Milton to describe Satan's lies.

gripe (264) [Archaic] to grasp or clutch; to distress; oppress; afflict.

Hail (385) a greeting, used by Raphael specifically to suggest the same greeting the angel of the Annunciation will used when he comes to Mary in Luke i, 28.

harbinger (13) a person or thing that comes before to announce or give an indication of what follows; herald.

Hesperian (632) may refer to the Cape Verde Islands which were called the Hesperides; or could, in context, simply mean the setting sun, which is the older meaning of the word.

Hierarchies (191) the leaders or chiefs of religious groups; high priests. Milton uses the term to represent all the angels who make up the Heavenly Host.

hyaline (619) transparent as glass; glassy.

imperious (287) overbearing, arrogant, domineering.

impregn (500) impregnate.

incarnate (315) endowed with a body, esp. a human body; in bodily form. The Son will become incarnate to save Man.

ineffable (734) too overwhelming to be expressed or described in words.

intercessor (96) one who pleads or makes a request in behalf of another or others.

irriguous (255) moist, well-watered.

jocund (372) cheerful; genial.

justify (26) to show to be just, right, or in accord with reason; vindicate.

lantskip (491) landscape (a Dutch word whose form had not changed in English in Milton's time).

Lazar-house (479) a house of the diseased and dying, especially for lepers.

Limbo (495) in some Christian theologies, the eternal abode or state, neither heaven nor hell, of the souls of infants or others dying in original sin but free of grievous personal sin, or, those dying before the coming of Christ; the temporary abode or state of all holy souls after death.

loath (585) unwilling; reluctant.

marish (630) [Archaic] a marsh; swamp.

nuptial (339) of marriage or a wedding.

obdurate (205) stubborn; obstinate; inflexible.

obliquities (132) not level or upright; inclined.

omnific (217) creating all things.

oracle (182) any person or agency believed to be in communication with a deity.

orison (145) a prayer.

ounce (466) lynx or panther.

Pandemonium (756) any place or scene of wild disorder, noise, or confusion; here, the capital of Hell.

patriarch (376) the father and ruler of a family or tribe; Adam is identified in Paradise Lost as the patriarch of all Mankind.

phalanx (979) an ancient military formation of infantry in close, deep ranks with shields overlapping and spears extended.

plebeian (442) one of the common people.

prevenient (3) antecedent to human action.

Prime (170) a part of the Divine Office orig. assigned to the first hour of daylight; Milton uses Prime in the sense of dawn, the first hour of daylight.

progeny (503) children, descendants, or offspring.

propitiation (34) gracious.

puissant (632) powerful; strong.

Purlieu (404) orig., an outlying part of a forest.

quaternion (181) a set of four.

redound (739) to come back; react; recoil (upon).

rue (414) an herb with yellow flowers and bitter-tasting leaves.

sagacious (281) having or showing keen perception or discernment and sound judgment.

sapience (195) knowledge, wisdom.

sedulous (27) working hard and steadily; diligent.

Seneschal (38) a steward or major-domo in the household of a medieval noble.

Seraph, Seraphim (667) any of the highest order of angels.

solace (419) an easing of grief, loneliness, discomfort.

spume (479) to foam or froth.

Stygian (239) of or characteristic of the river Styx and the infernal regions; infernal or hellish.

Styx, Acheron, Cocytus, Phlegethon (577) the four rivers of Hell.

Synod (661) any assembly or council. Milton uses the word to describe a meeting or conjunction of the stars astrologically.

transpicuous (141) transparent; esp., easily understood.

tumid (288) swollen; bulging.

umbrage (1087) shade; shadow; foliage, considered as shade-giving.

unctuous (635 ) oily or greasy; made up of or containing fat or oil. Milton uses the word to describe one of the elements of ignis fatuus or fool's fire, a phenomenon like St. Elmo's Fire which often led the foolish astray.

usurp (421) to take or assume power, a position, property, rights, etc. and hold in possession by force or without right.

vagaries (614) an odd, eccentric, or unexpected action.

vassal / vassalage (253) a subordinate, subject, servant, slave, etc.

verdant (500) covered with green vegetation.

visage (116) the face, with reference to the expression; countenance.

wanton (211) [Now Rare] luxuriant (said of vegetation, etc.).

welkin (538) the vault of heaven, the sky.

wicket (484) a small door or gate, esp. one set in or near a larger door or gate. Used by Milton for Heaven's Gate.

wont (32) accustomed: used predicatively.

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