Study Help Full Glossary for The Tempest


abstemious moderate, especially in eating and drinking; temperate. Prospero is warning Ferdinand once again about resisting lust before the wedding occurs.

amain at or with great speed; here, Miranda's peacocks fly quickly.

bark any boat, but especially a small sailing ship.

bass my trespass Here, meaning that the condemnation (my trespass) was uttered in a deep bass voice. The thunder proclaimed his sin, according to Alonso, like a noise from the heavens.

Bermoothes refer to the Bermudas, a common word to describe tempests and enchantments.

betid happened or befell; here, it means that nothing has happened to the boat's inhabitants.

boatswain the ship's petty officer, in charge of the deck crew, the rigging, anchors, boats, and so on.

bombard a large leather container meant to hold liquor.

bourn a limit; boundary. Here used to mean that no land would be divided among landowners.

bring a corollary here, meaning to bring too many spirits rather than not enough.

Br'r lakin "By your ladykin"; a referece to the Virgin Mary.

case here, prepared.

chaps jaws. Stefano is telling Caliban to open his jaws and drink more.

coragio take courage (Italian).

dowle small feather.

dropsy a disease characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the connective tissues, resulting in swelling.

drowning mark refers to a mole, located on the boatswain's face, the appearance of which was thought to portend a person's manner of death. In this case, the boatswain's mole appears to be the type that predicts a death by hanging.

extirpate to pull up by the roots. The reference here is to Prospero and Miranda's being forced from their home and country.

feater more graceful. Here, Antonio's new rank — and clothes that befit it — looks graceful on him.

foil to keep from being successful; thwart; frustrate.

foison plenty; here, specifically, an abundance of produce.

frippery here, an old clothing shop.

furtherer an accomplice.

genius either of two spirits, one good and one evil, supposed to influence one's destiny.

hereditary sloth the natural inclination of a younger brother to be lazy, according to Sebastian, who sees the lack of a hereditary title as a reason to achieve nothing on his own.

hest [Archaic] a behest; a bidding; an order. Miranda was commanded not to reveal her name.

hollowly here, insincerely.

inch-meal inch by inch. Here, Caliban hopes for Prospero's fall.

inveterate firmly established over a long period.

jerkin a short, closefitting jacket, often sleeveless.

kibe a chapped or ulcerated sore, esp. on the heel. If Antonio's conscience were a sore on his foot, Antonio might put on a slipper.

a living drollery probably a puppet-show with live actors.

long spoon alluding to an old proverb that a man must have a very long spoon to eat with the devil. Stefano thinks that Trinculo is a ghost.

maid here, handmaiden, a woman or girl servant or attendant.

mantle to enclose or envelop.

merely [Obs.] absolutely; altogether; here, it means that they are completely cheated of their lives by drunkards.

moon-calf [Obs.] a monstrosity; a misshapen creature born under the moon's influence.

murrain a disease of cattle.

patch [Archaic] a court jester; any clown or fool

Phoebus' steeds the mythological horses that drew the chariot of the sun. Here, the suggestion is that they are lame from the long day and overriding.

pied ninny a fool.

rapier a slender two-edged sword used chiefly in thrusting.

rate opinion.

requite to make return or repayment to for a benefit, injury, and so on; reward.

roarers noisy and unruly waves; here so called because they care little for royal rank.

Scamels The meaning is uncertain but thought to be either shellfish or rock-inhabiting birds.

sicklemen reference to nymphs disguised as harvesters.

Signories domains or city-states in Northern Italy, subject to the rule of a lord or signior.

subtleties here, the illusions.

surety a person who takes responsibility for another. Miranda will be Ferdinand's guarantee.

swabber the sailor who washes the ship and keeps the decks clean.

tawny brownish-yellow; here used to mean that the sun has turned the ground a parched brown color.

teen injury or harm. Prospero worries about the trouble that he has created for Miranda.

tight and yare sound and ready. The ship is ready to sail.

too massy unable to move. Here, through magic, the men are paralyzed.

trident a three-pronged spear used by a gladiator in ancient Roman gladiatorial combats and by the Greek god of the sea, Neptune.

troll the catch to sing the round lustily or in a full, rolling voice

trumpery something showy but worthless; here, the gaudy clothing designated as bait for the three conspirators.

twain two. Ferdinand refers to himself and his father as but two of the victims of the storm.

unbacked not broken to the saddle: said of a horse.

vanity reference to an illusion or trick that Prospero has created.

Wallets here, meaning wattle, the fleshy, wrinkled, often brightly colored piece of skin that hangs from throat of a turkey.

wezand windpipe.

wooden slavery being compelled to carry wood.

yarely briskly or smartly. Here the boatswain is instructing the sailors to move quickly or the ship will be pushed aground by the storm.