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Shakespeare Archaisms

And Other Old or Unfamiliar Words and Phrases That Occur in Shakespeare
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Compiled by  Michael J. Cummings...© 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016

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abodement (noun): Omen; portent. Example: "Abodements must not now affright us" (Henry VI Part III, 4.7.15).
(adverb and adjective): Opened or tapped to release contents; active. Example: "Who set this ancient quarrel new
abroach?" (Romeo and Juliet, 1.1.91).
abrook (verb): Brook; withstand; endure. Example: "
Sweet Nell, ill can thy noble mind abrook / The abject people gazing on thy face" (Henry VI Part II, 3.4.13-14).
act (noun): See Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
aby (verb): Pronunciation: a as in gate, by as in be): Pay a penalty for; suffer for; atone for. "
Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3.2.184).
absey-book (noun): Book that teaches the a-b-c's (a-b-sey); any elementary textbook. Example: "Then comes [the] answer like an absey-book" (King John, 1.1.201).
accite (verb, ak SITE): Rouse; excite; cause. Example: "And what accites your most worshipful thought to think so?" (Henry IV Part II, 2.2.19).
accomplement (noun): Armor; gear; equipment. Example: "[The soldiers were] arrayed . . . in all accomplements" (Edward III, 4.7).
accompt (verb, uh KO
MPT): Account; record. Example: "If nothing but that loss may vantage you, / I would accompt that loss my vantage too" (Edward III, 2.1).
accordant (adjective): Agreeable; suitable. Example: "If he found her accordant . . . ." (Much Ado About Nothing, 1.2.6).
accoutre or accouter (verb): To outfit, dress, or equip. Example: "When we are both accoutred like young men, / I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two" (The Merchant of Venice, 3.4.67-68).
Acheron (noun, AK uh ron): In Greek mythology, one of five rivers in hell. Shakespeare refers to it as a lake. Example: "I'll dive into the burning lake below, / And pull her out of Acheron by the heels" (Titus Andronicus, 4.3.45-46).
acknow (verb): Recognize; acknowledge; confess; own up. Past tense: acknown. Example: "Be not acknown" (Othello, 3.3.362).
acquittance (noun):
Release from obligation or debt. Example: "Now must your conscience my acquittance seal" (Hamlet, 4.7.3).
acture (noun): Action. Example: "W
ith acture they may be ("A Lover's Complaint," line 185).
Actus Primus, Actus Secundus, Actus Tertius, Actus Quartus, Actus Quintus (nouns): Latin for Act One, Act Two, Act Three, Act Four, and Act Five. These headings appear at the beginning of acts in The Two Noble Kinsmen and in early published versions of other Shakespeare plays.

addle (adjective): Rotten, in reference to an egg. Example: "If you love an addle egg as well as you love an idle head, you would eat chickens i’ the shell" (Troilus and Cressida, 1.2.89).
adieu (noun, interjection; pronunciation: uh DYOO, with the "oo" pronounced as in wood). Farewell; good-bye. Example: Kissing the hand of the king, Montague says, "Thus I seal my truth, and bid adieu" (Henry VI Part III, 4.8.31).
adoptious (adjective): Adopted. Example: "Adoptious christendoms" (All's Well That Ends Well, 1.1.97).
advocation (noun): Act of advocating, promoting, or making a plea. Example: "My advocation is not now in tune" (Othello, 3.4.132).
aery, aiery, or eyrie (noun): Eagle's nest. Example "Know the gallant in in his arms / And like an eagle o'er his aiery towers" (King John, 5.2.153-154) .
afeared (adjective): Afraid. Example:
"My daughter is . . . afeared she will do a desperate outrage to herself" (Much Ado About Nothing, 2.3.65).
affiance (noun, uh FY ince): Trust; pledge of faith. Example: "This fond affiance" (Henry VI Part II, 3.1.76).
affined (adjective): Related. Example: "The hard and the soft seem all affined and kin" (Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.27).
affy (verb, AF fe): Betroth; espouse; vow to give in marriage. Example:
Wedded be thou to the hags of hell,
For daring to affy a mighty lord
Unto the daughter of a worthless king. (Henry VI Part II, 4.1.84-86)
agate (noun): Type of quartz with bands of color. One its uses is as a gemstone. Example: "An agate very vilely cut" (Much Ado About Nothing, 3.1.71).
agazed (adverb): Looking with amazement. Example: "
All the whole army stood agaz'd on him" (Henry VI Part I, 1.1.131).
aglet (noun and sometimes adjective): Metal sheath or ornamental figure at the end of a lace or cord on a shoe, corset, or other articles of dress. An aglet was sometimes shaped into an image. Example: "Give him gold enough and marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby" (1.2.66).
agood (adverb): Profusely; sincerely. Example:
"I made her weep agood" (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 4.4.127).
ague (noun, AY gyoo): Fever with chills, sweating, and shivering. Example: "Here let them lie / Till famine and the ague eat them up" (Macbeth, 5.5.5-6).

alack (interjection): Expression of regret, sorrow, dismay, alarm. Example: Lady Macbeth, worried that her husband has not committed the murder that will make him king and her queen, says: "Alack, I am afraid they have awaked, / And 'tis not done" (Macbeth,
alarum (noun): See
Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
Albion (noun): England; lofty name for England or Britain. Example:

Is this the fashion of the court of England?
Is this the government of Britain’s isle,
And this the royalty of Albion’s king? (Henry VI Part II, 1.3.26-28)
alderliefest or alder-liefest or alder-lievest (adjective): Best loved, most beloved. Example: "Mine alderliefest sovereign . . . (Henry VI Part II, 1.1.30).
ale-wife or alewife (noun): Woman who operates an alehouse. Example: "Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot" (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, scene 2, line 12).
allayment (noun): Something that relieves pain or mental anguish; something that calms or eases fear. Example: "Apply allayments" (Cymbeline, 1.5.26).

allegiant (adjective): Loyal; obligated; steadfast in devotion to a person or cause. Example: "I / Can nothing render but allegiant thanks (Henry VIII, 3.2.224).) 
allottery (noun): Allotment; bequest. Example: "Give me the poor
allottery my father left me by testament" (As You Like It, 1.1.24).
Almain (noun): German. Example: "Not to overthrow your Almain" (Othello, 2.3.57).

almsdrink or alms drink (noun): Dregs of a beverage. Example: "They have made him [Lepidus] drink almsdrink" (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.7.5).
almshouse (noun): Home for the poor sustained by charity; poorhouse. Example: "A hundred almshouses right well supplied" (Henry V, 1.1.10).
amerce (verb): Penalize; punish. Example: "I'll amerce you with so strong a fine / That you shall all repent . . ." (Romeo and Juliet, 3.1.162).
ames-ace: Archaic term for ambs-ace or ambsace, a dice term for a throw of double aces (in which each die shows a single dot). Example: "I had rather be in this choice than throw ames-ace for my life" (All's Well That Ends Well, 2.3.69).

amort (noun): Depressed; downhearted; deathly sick. Example: "How fares my Kate? What, sweeting, all amort?" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.3.39).
anatomize (verb): Take apart; dissect; examine every detail of. Example: "Let them anatomize Regan. See what breeds about her heart" (King Lear, 3.6.57).
an (conjunction): And. An is used frequently in Shakespeare as a short form for and.
ancient (noun): Very old person. Example: "You speak like an ancient" (Much Ado About Nothing, 3.3.17).
a-night: (adverb): At night. Example: "Coming a-night" (As You Like It, 2.4.35).
anon (adverb): Now; at once; soon; shortly. Example: "Up, gentlemen: you shall see sport anon" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 3.3.68).
annexment (noun): That which is attached or added. Example: "When [a king falls] each small annexment [anyone or anything]. . . attends the . . . ruin" (Hamlet, 3.3.25-27).
antechamber (noun): Waiting room or entrance room that opens into a larger room. Messengers and others wishing to speak with a king, a queen, or another important person usually had to wait in an antechamber until they were summoned.  Example: "London. An antechamber in the King's Palace" (Henry V, stage direction before the first scene of Act 1).
antagonist (noun): See.
Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
Anthropophaginian (noun, AN throh poh fuh GHIN e in): Cannibal. Example: "Hell speak like an Anthropophaginian unto thee" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 4.5.5).
Anthropophagi (noun, AN throh POFF uh ghy): Cannibals. Example:
It was my hint to speak . . .
. . . of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi . . . . (Othello, 1.3.162)
antic or antick (noun, adjective): Clown, buffoon, or jester; having to do with a clown, buffoon, or jester. Example: "I perchance hereafter shall think meet / To put an antic disposition on" (Hamlet, 1.5.193-194).
anticked (verb): Turned into a clown or silly person; tricked. Example: "The wild disguise hath almost antick'd us all" (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.7.119-120).
antre (noun, AN ter): Cave. Example: "
Antres vast and deserts idle" (Othello, 1.3.158).
appeach (verb): Accuse in public; implicate; inform on; rat on. Example: "Now, by mine honour, by my life, my troth, / I will appeach the villain.(Richard II, 5.2.87-88).
appellant (1) (adjective): Relating to an appeal to a court, a monarch, or some other authority. Example: "Free from . . . misbegotten hate, / I come appellant to this princely presence" (Richard II, 1.1.36-37).
appellant (2) (noun): One who lodges an appeal to a court, a monarch, or some other authority. Example: "Ready are the appellant and the defendant" (Henry VI Part II, 2.3. 51).
apperil (noun): Peril. Example: "Let me stay at thine apperil, Timon: I come to observe; I give thee warning on it" (Timon of Athens, 1.2.37).
apple-john (noun): Type of apple that withers when set stored (Henry IV Part I, 3.3.3).
approof (noun): Approval. Example:

Oh, perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the selfsame tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof . . . . (Measure for Measure, 2.4.189-191)
apricock (noun): Apricot. Example: In Richard II, a gardener tells two servants to "bind . . . up . . .  dangling apricocks" (3.4.34) that are causing tree branches to bend and droop.
aqua vitae or aqua-vitae (noun): Strong liquor, from Latin for water (aqua) of life (vitae). Example:
Alas! alas! Help! help! my lady’s dead!
O! well-a-day, that ever I was born.
Some aqua-vitae, ho! My lord! my lady!  (Romeo and Juliet, 4.5.18)
arbitrement (noun, AR bit truh mahn): Resolving an argument through violent confrontation. Examples: (1) "The arbitrement is like to be bloody" (King Lear, 4.7.107). (2) "If it come to the arbitrement of swords" (Henry V, 4.1.95).
argal (adverb): In Hamlet, a gravedigger identified in the character list as the first clown uses this word several times. It is his rendering of ergo (therefore). Example: "If the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life" (Hamlet, 5.1.9).
Argier (noun): Algiers, a city in Algeria. "This damned witch . . .  from Argier . . .  was banish'd" (The Tempest, 2.1.314-317).
argosy (noun): Merchant ship with a rich cargo. Example: "He hath an argosy bound to Tripolis" (The Merchant of Venice, 1.3.13).
aright (adverb): Correctly; properly. Example: "I do beseech you / To understand my purposes aright" (King Lear, 1.4.148-149).
armigero (noun): Armiger, a knight's squire. Example: "A gentleman . . . who writes himself armigero in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1.1.6).
aroint (verb): Begone! Go away! Example: "Aroint thee, witch, aroint thee! (King Lear, 3.4.77).
a-row (adverb): In a row. Example: "My master and his man [have] / Beaten the maids a-row" (The Comedy of Errors, 5.1.178-179).
arrant (adjective, AIR uhnt): Complete; utter; thoroughgoing. Example: "There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark, / But he's an arrant knave" (Hamlet, 1.5.138-139).

arras (noun): Wall tapestry. In Hamlet, Polonius hides behind an arras to eavesdrop on a conversation between Hamlet and Gertrude. Before doing so he tells Claudius,
My lord, he’s going to his mother’s closet:
Behind the arras I’ll convey myself
To hear the process. (3.3.32-33)
aside (noun): Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
assay (verb): Attempt, try. Example: "Let us assay our plot" (All's Well That Ends Well, 3.7.52).
assemblance (noun): Appearance; likeness; image; resemblance. Example: "Care I for the . . . assemblance of a man?" (Henry IV Part II, 3.2.122)
assinego or asinego (noun): Stupid person, dolt, idiot, ass. Example: "Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinego may tutor thee (Troilus and Cressida, 2.1.29).
assubjugate (verb): Subject; place under the authority of someone; make subservient. Example: "This thrice worthy and right valiant lord . . . / Must not . . . / assubjugate his merit" (Troilus and Cressida, 3.3.130-132).
attaint: Stain; disgrace; taint; stigma. Example: "And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook / The dedicated words which writers use" (Sonnet 82, lines 3-4).
atomies (noun, AT um eez): Tiny creatures. Example:

MERCUTIO   O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
BENVOLIO   Queen Mab! What's she?
MERCUTIO   She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep. (Romeo and Juliet, 1.4.59-65)
attainture (noun): Dishonor; disgrace. Example: "Her attainture will be Humphrey's fall" (Henry VI Part II, 1.2.110).
a-twain or atwain (adverb and adjective): In parts; separated. Example: "Such smiling rogues as these, / Like rats, oft bite the holy cords a-twain" (King Lear 2.2.44-45).
audit (noun): Examination; inspection; evaluation; appraisal. Example: "How the audit [of my dead father's soul] stands who knows save heaven?" (Hamlet, 3.3.89).
auld (adjective): Old. Example: "Take thine auld cloak" (Othello, 2.3.61).
(interjection): Go away! Withdraw! Depart! Example: "
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!" (King John, 4.3.83).
avouch (noun): Testimony. Example:
Before my God, I might not this believe  
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.(Hamlet, 1.1.71.)
aye (adverb, interjection): Aye usually means yes. But it can also mean ever. Example: "The world is not for aye" (Hamlet, 3.2.148).
bacare or baccare or backare (interjection, BACK air): Stand back; keep your place. Example: "Bacare! You are marvelous forward" (The Taming of the Shrew, 2.1.76).
bacchanal (noun, bock uh NAL): (1) In ancient times, a drunken celebration by followers of Bacchus, the Roman name for the Greek god of wine, Dionysus; (2) a participant in such a celebration. Example: "The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5.1.53).
baffle (verb): Defeat; conquer; make someone undergo a humiliating punishment. Example: "I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffled here" (Richard II, 1.1.174).
baggage (noun): (1) Promiscuous woman; prostitute. (2) Insolent or offensively bold woman or girl. Example: "You witch, you rag, you baggage, you polecat" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 4.2.87).
Bajazet (noun, bah juh ZET): Another name for either Beyazid I (1347-1403) or Beyazid II (1447-1512), who were rulers of the Ottoman Empire. Shakespeare used the name Bajazet in All's Well That Ends Well (4.1.13).
balcony in a Shakespearean theater: See
Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
(noun): Cudgel, club. Example: "Nay, come not near th' old man or [I shall] try whether your costard [head, skull] or my
ballow be the harder" (King Lear, 4.6.237).
balsamum (noun): Balsam, a fragrant resin from shrubs and trees that is used in perfumes and medicinal ointments. Example: "I have bought the oil, the balsamum and the aqua vitae" (The Comedy of Errors, 4.1.94).
ban (noun): Curse. Example: "Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected, / With Hecate’s ban thrice blasted, thrice infected" (Hamlet, 3.2.195-196).
ban-dog or bandog (noun): Ferocious watchdog. Example: "The time [of night] when screech-owls cry, and ban-dogs howl" (Henry VI Part II, 1.4.13).
banns (noun): Proclamation in a church of an intended marriage. The purpose of the banns is to provide any member of the church congregation an opportunity to object to the marriage on legal or moral grounds. For example, a person might object if he knows that the proposed groom or bride is already married. Example from Shakespeare: "If she deny to wed, I'll crave the day / When I shall ask the banns, and when be married" (The Taming of the Shrew, 2.1.175-176).
Barbary (adjective): Having to do with the region of North Africa along the Mediterranean between the Atlantic Ocean and Egypt. Example: "Six Barbary horses against six French swords" (Hamlet, 5.2.124).
Barbason (noun): Name of a demon from hell mentioned in Reginald Scott's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), a book intended to debunk witchcraft. Shakespeare refers to Barbason twice in Henry V and twice in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Example: "I am not Barbason; you cannot conjure me" (Henry V, 2.1.21).
barbermonger or barber-monger (noun): Example: "Draw [a sword], you whoreson  . . . barber-monger" (King Lear, 2.2.16).

barm (noun): Foam on fermenting malt liquor. Example: "Make the drink to bear no barm" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2.1.40).
barnes (noun): Alternate word for bairns, meaning children. The singular is
bairn. Example: "I think I shall never have the blessing of God till I have issue o' my body, for they say barnes are blessings" (All's Well That Ends Well, 1.3.12).
barricado (verb): Barricade; block. Example: "Man is enemy to virginity; how may we barricado it against him? (All's Well That Ends Well, 1.1.74).
basilisk (noun): Imaginary animal with a rooster's head and a snake's tail that can kill with its gaze. Example:
GLOUCESTER   Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.
ANNE   Would they were basilisks, to strike thee dead! (Richard III, 1.2.160-161)
basta: (interjection): Italian for enough; stop; tell me no more. "Basta; content thee" (The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.175).
bastard (noun): (1) Person whose parents were not married at the time of his or her birth; illegitimate child; child born of a king's or nobleman's mistress and, as such, is not entitled to inherit property or a title. (2) Not genuine; inferior; illegitimate. Example 1: "Ha! a bastard son of the king's? (Henry IV Part II, 2.4.126). Example 2: "Shame hath a bastard fame" (The Comedy of Errors, 3.2.21).
bastardy (noun): Being or begetting a bastard; having children who are bastards. Example 1: "Infer the bastardy of Edward's children" (Richard III, 3.5.79).  Example 2: "Hang him on this tree. / And by his side his fruit of bastardy" (Titus Andronicus, 5.1.50-51).
bastinado (noun): Beating or thrashing with a stick or a cudgel, sometimes on the soles of the feet. Example: "That same mad fellow of the north . . . gave Amaimon the bastinado" (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.135).
bate (verb): Permit; allow. Example: "No leisure bated" (Hamlet, 5.2.26).
battaille (noun, buh TY yuh): Bataille, French for battle, fight, struggle. Example: "Here stood a battaille of ten thousand horse" (Edward III, 5.1).
battalia (noun): Troops ready for battle; field arrangement of troops; battalions. Example: "Our battalia trebles [their numbers]" (Richard III, 5.3.14).
bat-fowling (noun): Trapping or killing birds at night. After building a fire near nesting places, the huntsmen rousted birds. When the birds were attracted to the flames, the huntsmen caught them in nets or beat them with a bat. Example: "We would . . . go a bat-fowling" (The Tempest, 2.1.165).
batler or batlet (noun): Small bat used to beat washed clothes. Example: "I remember the kissing of her batler" (As You Like It, 2.4.35). 

bavin (noun, adjective): (1) Bundle of sticks; (2) worthless; useless. Example: "Shallow jesters and rash bavin wits . . . (Henry IV Part I, 3.2.63).
bawbling (adjective): Small. Example: "A bawbling vessel was he captain of" (Twelfth Night, 5.1.33).
bawcock (noun): Good man, good fellow. Example: "Abate thy rage, great duke! / Good bawcock, bate thy rage" (Henry V, 3.2.12).
bawdry (noun): Obscene or coarse language; lewdness. Example: "He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry" (Hamlet, 2.2.352)
beadsman (noun): One who prays for the soul of a dead person; one who is compensated for praying for the dead; one who prays for his benefactor. Example: "The very beadsmen learn to bend their bows / Of double-fatal yew [wood of which the archer's bow is made] against thy state" (Richard II, 3.2.120-121).

beaver (noun): Visor on the helmet of a suit of armor; piece of armor protecting the chin and mouth; piece of armor on a helmet that could be raised to afford a knight a better view of the scene before him. Example: "O yes! my lord; he wore his beaver up" (Hamlet, 1.2.244).
bearing-cloth or bearing cloth:
Cloth used for bearing an infant when he or she is baptized. Example: "Thy scarlet robes as a child's bearing-cloth / I'll use to carry thee out of this place" (Henry VI Part I, 1.3.46-47).
bed of Ware (noun): Oak bed ten feet wide and eleven feet long with four posters and elaborate carvings. Known as the Great Bed of Ware, it was built in 1580 and installed in the White Hart Inn at Ware, England. Example: "The sheet [is] big enough for the bed of Ware" (Twelfth Night, 3.2.18).
bedlam (noun): Insane asylum; uproar; confusion
. Example: "To Bedlam with him! is the man grown mad?" (Henry VI Part II, 5.1.138). Bedlam refers to the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, a London institution founded in 1247 to treat the mentally ill.
beetle (verb): Overhang; jut. Example:
What if it tempt you toward . . .
. . . the dreadful summit of the cliff
That beetles o’er his base into the sea? (Hamlet, 1.4.78-80)
befall (verb): Occur; take place. Example: "What hath befall'n [befallen]" (Hamlet, 4.3.15).
begirt (verb): Surrounded; circled. "The tyrant hath begirt with siege / The castle of Rocksborough (Edward III, 1.1). Present tense: begird.

behoveful (adjective): Required; necessary. Example: "We have cull'd such necessaries / As are behoveful" (Romeo and Juliet, 4.3.10-11).
beldam (noun): Grandmother; old woman, ugly old woman. Example 1: "Old men and beldams in the streets / Do prophesy . . . dangerously" (King John, 4.2.199-200). Example 2:
FIRST WITCH   Why, how now, Hecate! you look angerly.     
HECATE   Have I not reason, beldams as you are,      
Saucy and overbold? (Macbeth, 3.5.3-5)
belike (adverb): Probably; most likely. Example: "Belike this show imports the argument of the play" (Hamlet, 3.2.89).
bemadding (adjective): Causing one to become mad (deranged); infuriating. Example: "Bemadding sorrow" (King Lear, 3.1.42).
be-mete or bemete (verb): Measure; mete. Example: "Away, thou rag, thou quantity, thou remnant; / Or I shall . . . be-mete thee" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.3.120-121).
bemoil or be-moil (verb): Make dirty; soil. Example: "Thou shouldst have heard how her horse fell and she under her horse; thou shouldst have heard in how miry a place, how she was bemoiled" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.1.32).
be-netted (verb): Trapped; ensnared; netted like a fish. Example: "[I was] be-netted round with villanies [villainies]" (Hamlet, 5.2.33).

benison (noun): Blessing. Example:

The good in conversation,
To whom I give my benison,
Is still at Tarsus. (Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 2, Prologue, 10-12)
Bergomask (noun): Dance that mocks the buffoonish behavior of the residents of Bergamo, Italy. "Will it please you to sea the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company?" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5.1.320).
be-screened or bescreened (verb): Hidden; obscured. Example: "What man art thou . . . be-screened in night" (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.57).
beseech (verb): Implore, beg, ask, importune. Example: "I beseech you instantly to visit / My too much changed son" (Hamlet, 2.2.39-40).
beshrew (verb): Curse; execrate; revile. Example: "Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong / For the whole world" (Othello, 4.3.67-68).
beslubber: (verb): Smear; mess up; soil. Example from Shakespeare "[He would make us] beslubber our garments with it and swear it was the blood of true men" (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.125).
besort (verb): Fit in with; be compatible with. Example: "Such men as may besort your age" (King Lear, 1.4.161).
bespeak (1) (verb): Indicate; suggest; request. "Here is the cap your worship did bespeak" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.3.71).
bespeak (2) (verb): Speak to; tell; address. "My young mistress thus I did bespeak: 'Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star' " (Hamlet, 2.2.149-150)
bespake or bespoke (verb): Past tense of bespeak
. (See the two previous entries.)
bestraught (adjective): Daft; crazy, out of one's mind. Example: "I am not bestraught (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, scene 2, line12).
betake (verb): Cause oneself to move or go; apply; devote oneself to something. "If you hold your life at any price, betake you to your guard" (Twelfth Night, 3.4.126).
beteem: (verb): Allow; permit. Example: "He might not beteem the winds of heaven / To visit her face too roughly" (Hamlet, 1.2.145-146).
betid (verb): Happening; taking place; betiding.  Example: "Neither know I / What is betid to Cloten" (Cymbeline, 4.3.48)
betide (verb): Happen to; take place. Example: "What shall betide the Duke of Somerset?" (Henry VI Part II, 1.4.62)
betimes (adverb): Immediately; at once. Example: "I will to-morrow— /And betimes I will—[go to see] the weird sisters" (Macbeth, 3.4.59-60).
betossed (adjective): Stressed and preoccupied. Example: "What said my man when my betossed soul / Did not attend him as we rode?" (Romeo and Juliet, 5.3.79-80).
betwixt (preposition, adverb): Between. Example: "You shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia (The Winter's Tale, 1.1.1).
bewray (noun): Reveal; betray. Example: "Thyself bewray" (King Lear, 3.6.89).
bezonian (noun): Knave, rascal, scoundrel. Example: "Great men oft die by vile bezonians" (Henry VI Part II, 4.1.139).
biding (noun): Shelter; abode; place to bide the time. Example: "Give me your hand; / I'll lead you to some biding" (King Lear, 4.6.218-219).
biggen (noun): Soft cloth cap worn in bed; nightcap. Example: "He whose brow with homely biggen bound / Snores out the watch of night" (Henry IV Part II, 4.5.31-32).
bilberry (noun): Blueberry. Example: "Pinch the maids as blue as bilberry" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 5.5.23).

bilbo (1) (noun): Sword with well-tempered steel, like those made in Bilbao, Spain. Example: "To be compassed, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 3.5.43).
bilbo (2) (noun): Bar with fetters that are attached to the feet of prisoners. Example: "Methought I lay / Worse than the mutines [mutineers] in the bilboes" (Hamlet, 5.2.8).
bill (noun): Long-handled weapon with a hooked blade; halberd. Example:
"My brain-pan had been cleft with a . . . bill" (Henry VI Part II, 4.10.3).
bird-bolt or birdbolt (noun): Short arrow with a blunted tip that kills a bird with the force of impact but does not pierce its body. Example: "Thou hast thumped him with thy bird-bolt" (Love's Labour's Lost, 4.3.6).

(adjective, BIS un): Short-sighted; blind. Example: "How shall this
bisson multitude digest / The senate’s courtesy?" (Coriolanus, 3.1.165-166).
blench (verb): Draw back; flinch. Example: there can be no evasion / To blench from this and to stand firm by honour" (Troilus and Cressida, 2.2.71-72).
bob (noun): Blow; strike; punch. Example: "Senseless of [not feeling] the bob" (As You Like It, 2.7.59).

bodement (noun): Prophecy. Example: "Who can impress [recruit] the forest, bid the tree / Unfix his earthbound root? Sweet bodements!" (Macbeth, 4.1.112-113).
bodge (verb): Botch; fail; make a mess of. Example: "Alas! / we bodg'd again" (Henry VI Part III, 1.4.20-21).
Bodkin (noun): Dagger. Example: "He himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin . . . . (Hamlet, 3.1.85-86).
boîtier vert (noun and adjective): French phrase for green (vert) box (boîtier). Pronunciation: BWAHT yay VAIR. Example: "[Fetch] me in my closet [a] boîtier vert (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1.4.22).
bolster (noun): Cushion resting under a pillow to support the head. Example: "Here I'll fling the pillow, there the bolster" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.1.139).

bolted (adjective): Refined; elegant. Figurative use of the past tense of the verb bolt (refine flour or another powdery substance by passing it through a sieve). Example: "So finely bolted didst though seem" (Henry V, 2.2.141).
bolter (noun): Machine used to sift flour. Example: "I have given them away to bakers' wives, and they have made bolters of them" (Henry IV Part I (3.3.19).
bolting-hutch or bolting hutch (noun): Bin that receives and stores sifted flour. Shakespeare uses the term figuratively in this example: "Why dost thou converse with that . . . bolting-hutch of beastliness? (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.173).
bombard (noun): Leather jug. Example: "Why dost thou converse with . . . that huge bombard of sack" (Henry IV Part I2.172).
bona roba or bona-roba (noun): Prostitute who caters to members of a royal court or other highborn men.
Example: "We knew where the bona robas were" (Henry IV Part II, 3.2.11).
bondman (noun, BOND min): Male servant; male slave. Example:
MESSALA   Where did you leave him?
TITINIUS   All disconsolate,
With Pindarus his bondman, on this hill. (Julius Caesar, 5.3.61-63)
bonny (adjective): Good. "The bonny beast he loved so well" ((Henry VI Part II, 5.2.12-15).
boot (verb): Profit; benefit; remedy. Example 1: "It boots thee not [to be in love]" (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1.1.30). 
bootless (adjective): Of no use; without benefit; having no success. Example: "I’ll follow him no more with bootless prayers" (The Merchant of Venice, 3.3.24).
bosky (adjective): Having many shrubs, bushes, or trees. Example: "With each end of thy blue bow dost crown / My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down" (The Tempest, 4.1.92-93).
botcher (noun): Tailor. Example: "I know him: a’ was a botcher’s ’prentice in Paris" (All's Well That Ends Well, 4.3.76).
bottled spider (noun): Large spider that appears swollen or bloated. Shakespeare uses this term in Richard III to refer to Richard's
hunchback and/or to his bloated pride and/or to the enormity of his evil deeds. Example: "I should wish for thee to help me curse / That bottled spider, that foul bunchback'd toad" (Richard III, 4.4.83-84).
bots (noun): Parasitic larvae of botflies. Bots live in the bodies of horses and other animals. Example: "Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades [horses] the bots" (Henry IV Part I, 2.1.7).
bounden (adjective): Indebted; obliged; bound. Example: "I rest much bounden to you" (As You Like It, 1.2.168).
bourn (noun): Boundary. Example: In his "to be or not to be" soliloquy in the first scene of the third act, Hamlet says fear of death makes us bear the burdens of this life because life after death is surrounded by boundaries from which no man may return:

Who would fardels [burdens] bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of? (86-92)
brabble (noun): (1) Brawl; fight; (2) dispute; squabble. Example: "In private brabble did we apprehend him" (Twelfth Night, 5.1.44).
brach (noun:) Female hound. Example: "Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim, / Hound or spaniel, brach or lym [bloodhoud or limehound]" (King Lear, 3.6.50-51).
brain-pan or brainpan (noun): Skull. "Example: "My brain-pan had been cleft" (Henry VI Part II, 4.10.3).
brainish (adjective): Frenzied; furious; hot-headed. Example: "In his brainish apprehension [Hamlet] kills / The unseen good old man" (Hamlet, 4.1.13-14).
brake (noun): Area thick with briars. shrubs, and fallen branches; thicket. Example: "Under this thick-grown brake, we'll shroud ourselves" (Henry VI Part III, 3.1.3).
bravery (noun): Clothing; apparel. Example: "With scarfs and fans and double change of bravery (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.3.62).
breese (noun): Gadfly. "The breese upon her, like a cow in June, / Hoists sails and flies" (Antony and Cleopatra, 3.10.19-20).
Bretagne (noun, bruh TAHN yuh): French peninsula between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. The English word for Bretagne is Britanny. Example: "Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand" (King John, 2.1.162). Some editions of Shakespeare use Britaine or Brittany for Bretagne.
brinded (adjective): Gray or tawny with patches of dark hues. Example: "Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed" (Macbeth, 4.1.3).
brinish (adjective, BRY nish): Salty. Example: "Her brinish tears" (Henry VI Part III, 3.1.44).
Britaine: See Bretagne.
Brittany: See Bretagne.
brock (noun): Badger. Example: "Marry, hang thee, brock! (Twelfth Night, 2.5.57).

brogue (noun, BROHG): Heavy shoe of untanned leather. Example: "I thought he slept, and put / My . . . brogues from off my feet" (Cymbeline, 4.1.74-75).
bruit (noun and verb, BROOT): Echo, noise, clamor; to make a report or spread a rumor. Example: "The heavens shall bruit again, / Re-speaking earthly thunder" (Hamlet, 1.2.131).
bubukle (noun, BUH buh kl): Red pimple. Example:
"His face is all bubukles, and whelks [pustules, inflamed swellings], and knobs" (Henry V, 3.6.48).
buckler (1) (noun): Small shield usually worn on the forearm as protection against the strikes of attackers. Example: "Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own" (Much Ado About Nothing, 5.2.10).
buckler (2) (verb): Hide; shield; protect. "Can Oxford . . . / Now buckler falsehood?" (Henry VI, 3.3.102-103).

buckram (noun): Stiff cotton cloth used to line clothing. Example: "Four rogues in buckram suits let drive at me" (Henry IV Part I, Act 2.4.78).
bung (noun): (1) Anus; (2) stopper for the pouring hole in a keg or cask; the hole itself. Example: Away you . . . rascal! you filthy bung, away! (Henry IV Part II, 2.4.47).
burden as a music term (noun): See
Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
burgonet (noun, BER guh NET): Steel helmet. Example: "[Antony is] the arm / And burgonet of men" (Antony and Cleopatra, 1.5.30-31). Shakespeare's use of burgonet in a play about ancient Rome is an anachronism, since this type of steel helmet did not come into use until the Renaissance era.
burthen (verb): Burdens; weighs down. Example: "Wild music burthens every bough" (Sonnet 102, line 11).
busky (adjective): Another word for bosky: abounding in trees, bushes, shrubs, and/or thickets. Example: "How bloodily the sun begins to peer / Above yon busky hill (Henry IV Part I, 5.1.4-5).
buss (verb): Kiss. Example: "I will . . . / . . . buss thee as [a] wife" (King John, 3.4.37-38).
buzzer (noun): Gossip; talebearer. Example: "[He] wants not buzzers to infect his ear" (Hamlet, 4.5.59).
cacodemon or cacodaemon (noun, kak uh DE mun): Evil spirit; devil. Example: "Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave this world, / Thou cacodemon" (Richard III, 1.3.148).
caddis (noun): Fabric of coarse wool. Example: "
Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-button, not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,— (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.32).
caitiff (noun): (1) Evil or cowardly person; (2) person or animal filled with fear or intimidation.
Example 1
Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom
That they may break his foaming courser’s back,
And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford! (Richard II, 1.2.52-55)

Example 2
Here kennel’d in a brake she finds a hound, 
And asks the weary caitiff for his master. (Venus and Adonis, 913-914)

callat or callet (noun): Prostitute; promiscuous woman; scold; gossip. Example:
[She is] a callat
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband
And now baits me. (The Winter's Tale, 2.3.114-116)
caliver (noun): A type of musket or early handgun. Example: "[They] fear the report of a caliver worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild-duck" (Henry IV Part I, 4.2.9).
Calipolis (noun): In Battle of Alcazar, a play by George Peele (1556-1596), Calipolis is the starving wife of Muly Mahomet. Example: "Then feed and be fat, my fair Calipolis" (Henry IV Part II, 2.4.69).
Cam (noun): Another name for Cain (Bible). "Be thou cursed Cam, / To slay thy brother Abel (Henry VI Part I, 1.3.43).
cambric (noun): White linen or cotton fabric with a close weave. Example: "She would with sharp needle wound / The cambric (Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 4, Prologue, 24-25).
camlet (noun): Cloak; cloth made of goat's hair; cloak made of course material. Example: "You i’ the camlet, get up o’ the rail" (Henry VIII, 5.4.56).
canakin or cannikin (noun): Small cup or can for a beverage such as wine. Example: "And let me [have] the canakin" (Othello, 2.3.53).
canary (noun): Sweet white wine made in the Canary Islands, sixty-two miles off the southwestern coast of Morocco. Example: "O knight thou lackest a cup of canary" (Twelfth Night, 1.3.45).
canis (noun): Dog. Example: "Cerberus, that three-headed canis" (Love's Labour's Lost, 5.2.598).
canzonet (noun): Short, lively song. Example: "Let me supervise the canzonet" (Love's Labour's Lost, 4.2.57).
cap-a-pie (adverb, KAP UH PE): Completely; entirely; in every way. Example:

A figure like your father,
Armed at points exactly, cap-a-pie,
Appears before them. (Hamlet, 1.2.208-210)
capon (noun, KAY pahn): Male chicken or another male fowl that is castrated when young. Castration enables the fowl to become a plump delight at the dinner table. Example: "The justice, / In fair round belly with good capon lined" (As You Like It, 2.7.161-162).
carbonado (noun): Piece of meat, fish or fowl that has been scored (cut with notches or lines) for grilling or broiling. Example: "Before Corioli he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado" (Coriolanus, 4.5.168).
carbuncle (noun): (1) Red gem (2) Large skin inflammation similar to a boil. Example: "With eyes like carbuncles" (Hamlet, 2.2.317).
carcanet (noun): Ornamental headband or collar. Example: "[There were] jewels in the carcanet" (Sonnet 52, line 8).
cardmaker (noun): Maker of wire brushes or combs that straighten the fibers of wool or other material before spinning. Example: "Am I not Christopher Sly . . . by education a cardmaker?" (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction 2,12).
carlot (noun): Peasant; rude, clumsy person. Example: "He hath bought the cottage . . . that the old carlot was once master of" (As You Like It, 3.5.110-111).

carract (noun): Carrack, a galleon (three-masted ship) used in trade and war. Example: ""Faith, he to-night hath boarded . . . a carract" (Othello, 1.2.60).
cart (verb): Parade a woman through the streets while she was tied to a cart. As she passed, her neighbors pounded spoons or other implements against kettles, pots, or frying pans. Carting, also known as charivari, was intended to humiliate a woman who constantly nagged or scolded her husband or other people. It was also used to humiliate a woman for offenses against morality, such as prostitution. (The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.58)
casque (noun): Helmet. Example:

May we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt? (Henry V, Chorus preceding Act I, 13-15)
cataplasm (noun): Medicinal preparation or folk remedy which the preparer spreads on a cloth. The cloth is then applied to an inflamed or aching part of the body. Example: "No cataplasm . . . can save the thing from death" (Hamlet, 4.7.157-159).
catch (noun): Song. Example: "Let our catch be, 'Thou Knave' " (Twelfth Night, 2.3.30).
catchword (noun): In some published Shakespeare plays in earlier times, this term referred to a word that appeared on the bottom of the right side of a page. This word was the first word appearing on the next page.
cater (verb, KAY ter): Provide food; prepare provisions. Example: "He that doth the ravens feed, / Yea, providently caters for the sparrow" (As You Like It, 2.3.46-47).
cater-cousin (noun): Close relative; close friend. Example: "His master and he . . . are scarce cater-cousins" (The Merchant of Venice, 2.2.40).
caterwauling (noun, KAT er wal ing): Crying like a cat; noisiness; wailing of a baby. Example: "Why, what a caterwauling dost thou keep!" (Titus Andronicus, 4.2.61). Here, the speaker is referring to a crying baby held by a nurse.

cautel (noun): Deception. Example:
                    Perhaps he loves you now,
And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch
The virtue of his will. (Hamlet, 1.3.19-21)
cautelous (adjective): Clever, crafty; deceptive. Example: "Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous" (Julius Caesar, 2.1.142).
caviary or carviare (noun): Caviar. Example: "T
he play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas caviare to the general" (Hamlet, 2.2.303).
cavil (verb, KAV l): Find fault by pointing out little shortcomings; object to something on trivial grounds; nitpick. Example: "You cavil, widow" (Henry VI Part III, 3.2.101).
cellarage or cellar-age (noun, SEL uh rij): Cellar; a place below; area beneath a Shakespearean stage. Example: "You hear this fellow in the cellarage" (Hamlet, 1.5.172)
cerecloth (noun, SERE kloth): Wax-coated cloth used to wrap a dead body. Example: "It were too gross / To rib [enclose] her cerecloth in the obscure grave" (The Merchant of Venice, 2.7.52-53).
cerement (noun, SAIR uh ment): Burial garment; burial clothes. Example: "Why [have] thy . . . bones, hearsed in death / . . . burst their cerements?" (Hamlet, 1.4.53-54).

certes (adverb, SUR teez): Certainly. Example: "One certes, that promises no element / In such a business" (Henry VIII, 1.1.57).
chace (noun): Tennis ball that a player fails to return. Example from Shakespare:

Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler
That all the courts of France will be disturb’d
With chaces. (Henry V, 1.2.270-275)
chanticleer (noun, SHAN tih kleer): Rooster. Example: "My lungs began to crow like chanticleer" (As You Like It, 2.7.33).
chantry (noun, CHAN tre): Roman Catholic chapel or altar usually used for masses for the soul of a deceased person. "Now go with me and with this holy man / Into the chantry" (Twelfth Night, 4.3.25-26).
chapfallen or chap-fall'n: (adjective): Disheartened; dejected; discouraged. Example: "Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chapfallen?" (Hamlet, 5.1.80).
chapless: Without the lower jaw. Example:

Shut me nightly in a charnel-house,           
O’er-cover’d quite with dead men’s rattling bones,   
With reeky shanks, and yellow chapless skulls. (Romeo and Juliet, 4.1.85-87)
chapman (noun): Merchant. Example: "You do as chapmen do, / Dispraise the thing that you desire to buy" (Troilus and Cressida, 4.1.82-83).
chapt (adjective). Chapped. Example: "Her pretty chapt hands" (As You Like It, 2.4.35).
charneco (noun, SHAR nay koh): Sweet Portuguese wine popular in England in Shakespeare's time. Example: "Here, neighbour, here's a cup of charneco" (Henry VI Part II, 2.3.63).
charnel house or charnel-house: House of the dead; place for the storage of bodies and bones Example: See chapless.

cheveril (noun and adjective): (1) Soft leather made from the skin of a young goat; having to do with the leather made from the skin of a goat. Example: "A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit: how quickly the wrong side may be turned outward!" (Twelfth Night, 3.1.8).
chid (verb); Chided; scolded. Example: "It were a shame to call her back again / And pray her to a fault for which I
chid her" (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1.2.54-55). 

chine (noun, CHYNE): Backbone, spine; back. Example: "[The horse is] like to mose in the chine" (The Taming of the Shrew, 3.2.43). "Mose in the chine" may refer to a disease of the spine known as Wobbler's syndrome, characterized by an unsteady gait in the horse.
chirurgeon (noun, ky RUR jun): Surgeon. Example:

GONZALO   You rub the sore,
When you should bring the plaster. 
SEBASTIAN   Very well.
ANTONIO   And most chirurgeonly. (The Tempest, 2.1.119-122)
chopine (noun, show PEEN): Woman's shoe with a thick sole. Example: "Your ladyship is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last by the altitude of a chopine" (Hamlet, 2.2.301).
chorus (noun): See
Stage Directions and Drama Terms.
chough (noun, CHUFF): Bird resembling a crow. Example: "Russet-pated choughs . . . rising and cawing at the gun's report" (A Midsummer Night's Dream,
chuck (noun): Endearing and/or attractive woman. Example: "Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck" (Macbeth, 3.2.53).
cicatrice (noun, SIK uh tris): Another word for cicatrix, a scar. Example: "Thy cicatrice looks raw and red" (Hamlet, 4.3.55).
cinque-pace (noun, SANK pace or SINK a pace): Also referred to by Shakespeare as sink-a-pace. A cinque-pace is a lively dance featuring five steps (paces). Cinque is French for five. Example: "With his bad legs, [he] falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster" (Much Ado About Nothing, 2.1.24).
Cinque-ports (noun, SANK por or SINK a ports): Cinque is French for five. Cinque-ports was a confederation of five British ports (Dover, Hastings, Hythe, New Romney, and Sandwich) on the eastern coast of England that provided ships and sailors to serve the king in war and trade. Example: "A canopy borne by four [representatives] of the Cinque-ports" (Henry VIII, stage directions, 4.1.46).
circummure (verb, SER kum MURE): Enclose with a wall; surround. Example: "He hath a garden cicrummur'd with brick (Measure for Measure, 4.20).
civet (noun): Sweet-smelling fluid secreted by a civet, a catlike carnivore. The fluid is used in perfumes. Example: "Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination" (King Lear, 4.6.132).
clack-dish or clackdish (noun): Beggar's bowl or dish with a lid. The beggar clacks the lid to attract the attention of passersby. Example: "His use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish" (Measure for Measure, 3.2.63). 
clepe (verb, KLEEP): Address a person; call a person by name. Example: "She
clepes him king of graves, and grave for kings, / Imperious supreme of all mortal things. (Venus and Adonis, 995-996).
clept (verb): Called; named. (See shough.)
clew (noun): Clue. Example: "You have . . . a goodly clew" (All's Well That Ends Well, 1.3.98).
climature (noun, KLY muh cher): Specific region that may be noted for its climate and culture. Example: "Heaven and earth together [have] demonstrated / [These things] unto our climatures and countrymen" (Hamlet, 1.1.141-142).
clinquant (noun, KLINK int or KLINK want): Tinsel; showiness. From the French le cliqnuant (approximate pronunciation: KLANG kahn). Example:

                                 To-day the French
All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
Shone down the English. (Henry VIII, 1.1.25-27)
clog (noun): Weight affixed to a leg to hinder movement. "I am glad at soul I have no other [children]; / For [I would] / hang clogs on them” (Othello, 1.3.218-220).
(noun): Nun who lives in a cloister (convent closed to outsiders). Example: "Like a cloistress, she will veiled walk" (Twelfth Night, 1.1.33).
clotpoll (noun): Dolt, blockhead, idiot, moron. Example: "What says the fellow there? Call the
clotpoll back" (King Lear, 1.4.33).
clout (noun, verb): Piece of cloth; to patch with a piece of cloth. Example: "That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts" (Hamlet, 2.2.275).
clovest (verb, KLOH vest): Clove (past tense of cleave). Cleave means to cut or split. Example: "Thou clovest thy crown in the middle" (King Lear, 1.4.101).
cloyless (adjective): Not sweet or rich in taste; tart. Example: "Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite" (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.1.32).
cockatrice (noun, KOCK uh triss): Monster that was part snake and part rooster. It could kill merely by looking at its victim. Example: "And that bare vowel, ‘I,’ shall poison more / Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice" (Romeo and Juliet,
cockerel's stone: Testicle of a young rooster (cockerel). Example: "A bump as big as a young cockerel's stone" (Romeo and Juliet, 1.3.60)
cockle or cockleshell (noun): The shell of a bivalve mollusk, often with raised spiral markings; conch. Also called a cockleshell. Example: "Why 'tis a cockle or a walnut-shell" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.3.74).
cockle (noun): Small boat. Example: "Sail seas in cockles" (Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 4.4.4).
cockle hat (noun): Hat decorated with a cockleshell, the symbol of a pilgrim. Example:
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff. (Hamlet, 4.5.27)
cockney (noun): Pampered or spoiled child. Example: "I am afraid . . . the world will prove a cockney" (Twelfth Night, 4.1.7).  In modern English a cockney is a member of the working class from east London.
cock-shut time (adjective plus noun): Evening; bedtime. Example: "Much about cock-shut time [the Early of Surrey] . . . / Went through through the army, cheering up the soldiers" (Richard III, 5.3.78-79).
codpiece (noun): Flap over the fly of men's tight-fitting trousers fashionable in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Example: 
How giddily he turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty? sometime fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers in the reechy painting; sometime like god Bel’s priests in the old church-window; sometime like the shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his club? (Much Ado About Nothing, 3.3.58)
coffer (noun): Chest for valuables; strongbox. Example: "Shall our coffers . . . / Be emptied to redeem a traitor home?" (Henry IV Part 1, 1.3.88-89).
cog (verb): Cheat; swindle; dupe. Example: "Come, both you cogging Greeks; [I will] have at you both! (Troilus and Cressida, 5.6.16).
cogging (adjective): Deceiving; duping; scheming. Example: "Some cogging . . . slave . . . / . . . devis'd this slander" (Othello, 4.2.157-158).
coign (noun): Large square stone at the corner of a building; cornerstone. Example: "See you yond coign o’ the Capitol, yond corner-stone?" (Coriolanus, 5.4.3).
coil (noun): The trials and tribulations of the world; noisy activity; bustle. "When we have shuffled off this mortal coil" (Hamlet, 3.1.77). Meaning: When we have died and thus leave behind the activities of the world.
collop (noun): Piece; portion; slice of meat. Example: "God knows, thou art a collop of my flesh" (Henry VI Part I, 5.4.21).
combinate (adjective, KOM bin ate): Betrothed, espoused, pledged to marry. Example: "Her combinate husband [was] this well-seeming Angelo (Measure for Measure, 3.1.188)
complot (noun, KOM plot): Conspiracy; plot. Example: "Revenge now goes / To lay a complot to betray thy foes" (Titus Andronicus, 5.2.151-152).
compulsative (adjective): Forced; coerced. Example: "By strong hand and terms compulsative (Hamlet, 1.1.119-120).

con (verb): Memorize. Example: "All his faults observed / . . . conned by rote" (Julius Caesar, 4.3.109).
concernancy (noun): Concern; importance; anxiety. "The concernancy, sir?" (Hamlet, 5.2.105).
concupy (noun, KON kew pi): Lust; sexual desire; concupiscence. Example: "He'll tickle it for his concupy" (Troilus and Cressida, 5.2.203).
condign (adjective, kun DINE or KAHN dine): Deserved; appropriate; fitting. Example: "I never gave them condign punishment" (Henry VI Part II, 3.1.134).
confixed (verb): Fixed in place; fastened. Example from Shakespeare. "Let me in safety raise me from my knees / Or else for ever be confixed here (Measure for Measure, 5.1.255-256).

(noun, KAHN jer): Saltwater eel. In Henry IV Part II, Doll Tearsheet uses the word to insult Falstaff: "Hang yourself, you muddy
conger, hang yourself!" (2.4.23).
conge'd or congeed or congied (verb): Made a formal departure; exchanged farewells. Example: "I have congied with the duke" (All's Well That Ends Well, 4.3.37).
conjunctive (adjective): Close; tied to. Example:
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul.
But, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but [be] by her. (Hamlet, 4.7.18-20)
conjurations (noun): Requests; pleas; warnings. Example: "I do defy thy conjurations" (Romeo and Juliet, 5.3.71).
conserve (noun, KON serv): Jam made of fruit stewed in sugar. Example: "Will 't please your honour to taste of these conserves?" (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, scene 2, line 5).
consort (noun, KON sort): Company; ilk; partnership; group. Example:
REGAN   Was he not companion with the riotous knights
That tend upon my father?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EDMUND   Yes, madam, he was of that consort. (King Lear, 2.1.99-102)
conspectuity (noun): Vision; foresight. Example: "What harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this character . . . ?" (Coriolanus, 2.1.27).
constringed or constring'd (verb): Contracted or constricted; drawn in. Example. "Constring'd in mass by the almighty sun" (Troilus and Cressida, 5.2. 199).
contemn (verb): Scorn. Example: "I have done penance for
contemning love" (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2.4.124).
continuate (adjective): Uninterrupted; constant. Example: "[He is dedicated] to an untiring and continuate goodness" (Timon of Athens, 1.1.16).
contumeliously (adverb, kon too MEAL e ihs le): With arrogrant rudeness or disrespect. "Fie, lords! that you, being supreme magistrates, / Thus contumeliously should break the peace" (Henry VI Part I, 1.3.62-63).

conventicle (noun): Secret meeting. Example: "Myself had notice of your conventicles" (Henry VI Part II, 3.1.170).
convive (noun, KON vive or kun veev): Gathering at which there is feasting and conviviality. Example: "All you peers of Greece, go to my tent; / There in the full convive we" (Troilus and Cressida, 4.5.302-303).
cony or coney (noun): Rabbit. Example: "So doth the cony struggle in the net" (Henry VI Part III, 1.4.65).
copped or copp'd (adjective): Having a summit; crested; rising to point or peak. Example: "The blind mole casts / Copp'd hills towards heaven" (Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1.1.95-96). Casts indicates that the mole is throwing up dirt while burrowing on a crested hill.
coppice (noun): Dense grove of small trees or shrubs; thicket. Example: "Upon the edge of yonder coppice, / [Is] a stand where you may make the fairest shoot. (Love's Labour's Lost, 4.1.11-12)
coranto (noun): Another name for courante, a French dance that includes running and gliding. Example: "
Why dost thou not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very walk should be a jig: I would not so much as make water but in a sink-a-pace" (1.3.67).
coram (noun): In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Slender's phonetic spelling and pronunciation of quorum, the number of justices required under law to preside at a trial. Slender refers to Shallow as "justice of the peace and coram" (1.1.4).
coronal (noun): Crown, circlet, or wreath to adorn the head. Example: "The old Duchess of Norfolk, in a coronal of gold" (stage direction, Henry VIII, 4.146).
corse (noun): Corpse. Example: "Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry’s corse" (Richard III, 1.2.33).
corselet (noun): That part of a suit of armor that protects the chest and abdomen. Example: "He is able to pierce a corselet with his eye" (Coriolanus, 5.4.9).
costard (noun): Variety of apple but used figuratively to mean head or skull. Example: "Nay, come not near th' old man or [I shall] try whether your costard or my ballow [club, cudgel] be the harder" (King Lear, 4.6.237).
costermonger (noun): Street vendor of vegetables, fruit, fish, and other foods. Example: "Virtue is of little regard in these costermongers' times" (Henry IV Part II, 1.2.60).

cotquean (noun): Man who interferes in women's domestic work. Example: "Go, go, you cotquean" (Romeo and Juliet, 4.4.10).
coulter (noun): Blade or sharpened disk attached to a plow that cuts into the ground vertically before the ploughshare (or plowshare) makes a pass with its horizontal blade. Example: "The coulter rusts" (
Henry V, 5.2.48).
couplement (noun): Two of a kind. Example: "Making a couplement of proud compare / With sun and moon" (Sonnet 21, lines 5-6).
covert (noun, KUH vert, KOH vert): Hiding place. shelter; cover or covering. Example: "In this covert will we make our stand" (Henry VI Part III, 3.1.5).
coy (verb): Stroke with a hand; caress. Example: "I thy amiable cheeks do coy" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 4.1.4).
coystril or coystrill (noun): Villain, knave. Example: "He's a coward and a coystril, that will not drink to my niece" (Twelfth Night, 1.3.19).

coz (noun): This word appears in many Shakespeare plays when a person is addressing his or her cousin. Example: "I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my
coz, be merry" (As You Like It, 1.2.1).

cozen (verb, KUZ in): Cheat; trick; deceive. Example: "Else, he had been damned for cozening the Devil" (Henry IV Part I, 1.2.41).
cozenage (noun, KUZ in ij): Cheating; trickery. Example: "They say this town is full of cozenage" (The Comedy of Errors, 1.2.
cozier (noun): Tailor. Example:
"Do ye make an  alehouse of my lady's house, that ye squeak out your coziers' catches [tailors' songs] without any mitigation or remorse of voice?" (Twelfth Night, 2.3.44).
crescive (adjective): Increasing; growing. Example:
And so the prince obscur’d his contemplation
Under the veil of wildness; which, no doubt,
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty. (Henry V, 1.1.67-70)
crotchets (noun): Strange or whimsical notions. Example: "I will carry no crotchets" (Romeo and Juliet, 4.5.118).
crown (1) (noun): Headpiece worn by a monarch; symbol or metaphor for the government of a monarchy. Shakespeare uses this term in many plays.
crown (2) (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."
crownet (noun): Small crown for a lesser king. Example:

                   Sixty and nine, that wore
Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay
Put forth toward Phrygia. (Troilus and Cressida, Prologue, 5-7)
crupper (noun): Leather strap wound around the bottom of the tail of a horse and attached to the saddle to prevent the animal from advancing. Example: "O!—sixpence, that I had o’ Wednesday last / To pay the saddler for my mistress’ crupper" (The Comedy of Errors, 1.2.58-59).
cruzado or crusado (noun, crew ZAH do, crew SAH do): Portuguese gold or silver coin. Example: "I had rather lost my purse / Full of cruzadoes" (Othello, 3.4.18).
cubiculo: Bedroom; cubicle. From the Spanish cubículo (cubicle, workspace). Example: "We'll call thee at the cubiculo" (Twelfth Night, 3.2.20).
cuckold (noun, KUK old): Man married to an adulteress. Example: "Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? (Othello, 4.3.66).
cuckoo flower (noun): Perennial plant with pink flowers that is commonplace in Great Britain and other European countries, as well as in western Asia. Example: "Crown'd with . . . cuckoo flow'rs" (King Lear, 4.4.4-6).
curstness (noun): Cursing; profanity. Example: "Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms, / Nor curstness grow to the matter" (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2.35-36) .

curtle-axe (noun): Curtal ax, a short, curving sword favored by sailors. Example: "A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh" (As You Like It, 1.3.106).
cullion (noun): Base, contemptible fellow. Example: "[She] makes a god of such a cullion" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.2.23).
culverin (noun, KUL ver in): Musket-like weapon of the fifteenth century that fired projectiles. By Shakespeare's time, it was developed into a cannon. Example:
                   And thou hast talk’d
Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents,
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin
Of prisoners’ ransom, and of soldiers slain. (Henry IV Part I, 2.2.24-28)
curvet (noun): Movement in which a horse raises its forelegs and then springs forward. The hind legs of the horse rise while the forelegs fall. Example: "Anon he rears upright, curvets and leaps" (Venus and Adonis, 279).
cuttle (noun):  Sea mollusk in the family of squid and octopus. Example: "I'll thrust my knife in your mouldy chaps [and] you play the saucy cuttle with me" (Henry IV Part II, 2.4.47).