And Other Old or Unfamiliar Words and Phrases That Occur in Shakespeare
Q to T
quait (verb): Throw like a quoit, an iron ring used in a game similar to horseshoes. Example:
Mordieu, they quait at us, and kill us up;quart d'écu or cardecu (noun, kar day koo): One-fourth of an écu, a silver coin once used in France. Example: "There's a quart écu for you" (All's Well That Ends Well, 5.2.14).
No less than forty thousand wicked elders
Have forty lean slaves this day stoned to death. (Edward III, 4.6)
quat (noun): Pustule; pimple. Example: "I have rubb'd this young quat almost to the sense, / And he grows angry" (Othello, 5.1.13-14).
quatch (adjective): Flat and broad. Example: "It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks--[such as] the quatch-buttock" (All's Well That Ends Well, 2.2.8).
quean (noun): Prostitute; brazen woman. Example: "Draw, Bardolph: cut me off the villain’s head; throw the quean in the channel" (Henry IV Part II, 2.1.20).
quern (noun): Stone mill turned by hand to grind corn. Example: "Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern, / . . . make the breathless housewife churn" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2.1.38-39).
questant (noun): Person who seeks something; one who goes on a quest; searcher. Example: "The bravest questant shrinks" (All's Well That Ends Well, 2.1.19).
questrist (noun): See questant (above). Example: "Some five or six and thirty of his knights, / Hot questrists after him, met him at gate" (King Lear, 3.7.10-11).
quiddit (noun): Subtle question; equivocation. Example: "May not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits now?" (Hamlet, 5.1.41).
quillet (noun): Argument that supports its claim with trivial distinctions; weak argument that avoids admission of the truth with petty reasoning and nitpicking. Example: "In these nice sharp quillets of the law, / Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw. (Henry VI Part I, 2.4.19-20).
quintain (noun, KWIN tin): Practice target for mounted knights charging with lances. See images. Example:
My better partsquire (noun or verb): Choir. Example:
Are all thrown down; and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block. (As You Like It, 1.2.129-131)
Our cagequittance (noun): (1) Exchange of blows, (as used in the example below); (2) release from obligation or debt. Example of the first definition:
We make a quire, as doth the prison'd bird,
And sing our bondage freely. (Cymbeline, 3.3.47-49)
These mine eyes saw him in bloody state,quoif or coif (noun, KWOIF or KOIF): Headdress; cap; coiffure. Example: "Golden quoifs and stomachers, / For my lads to give their dears" (The Winter's Tale, part of a song following line 220 in the third scene of Act 4).
quondam (adjective): Former. Example: "This is the quondam king; let's seize upon him." (Henry VI Part III, 3.1.26).
quoth-a or quotha (interjection): Expression of surprise or sarcasm. A person utters the word after after repeating what another person said. Example: "Die quoth-a? Now gods forbid!"(Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 2.1.53).
quotidian (1) (noun): Everyday occurrence; something commonplace. Example: "He seems to have the quotidian of love upon him" (As You Like It, 3.2.143).
rabato or rebato (noun ): Stiff lace collar that stood up in the back of the neck and along the sides. Example:
MARGARET Troth, I think your other rabato were better.rabbit-sucker (noun): Young rabbit, one that sucks the teats of its mother. (See images.) "Hang me up by the heels for a rabbit-sucker" (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.166).
URSALA No, pray thee, Meg, I'll wear this. (Much Ado About Nothing, 3.4.7-8)
rack (verb): Be blown by the wind. Example:
Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;rampallian (noun, ram PAL yihn): Mean person. Example: Away, you scullion! you rampallian!" you fustilarian!" (Henry IV Part II, 2.1.25).
Not separated with the racking clouds,
But sever’d in a pale clear-shining sky. (Henry VI Part III, 2.1.28-30)
raught (verb): Reached. Example: "The Land of death hath raught him" (Antony and Cleopatra, 4.9.41).
rear-mouse or rearmouse: See rere-mouse.
recheat (noun): Blow on a horn to call back hounds tracking a quarry. "I will [not] have a recheat winded in my forehead" (Much Ado About Nothing, 1.1.97).
reck (verb): Concern; take heed of; reckon. Example: "[He] recks not his own rede [advice]" (Hamlet, 1.3.56).
recordation (noun): Record; remembrance. Example: "Make a recordation to my soul / Of every syllable that he was spoke" (Troilus and Cressida, 5.2.140-141).
recreant (noun): Disloyal or cowardly person; Example: "Hear me, recreant" (King Lear, 1.1.162).
rede (noun, REED): Advice, counsel, guidance. Example: "[He] recks not his own rede" (Hamlet, 1.3.56).
red plague (noun): Reference to smallpox or erysipelas, an inflammatory skin infection. Example:
You taught me language; and my profit on'treechy (adjective): Dirty; smoky; foul; covered with grime. Example: "Like Pharaoh's soldiers in the reechy painting" (Much Ado About Nothing, 3.3.58).
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language! (The Tempest, 1.2.430-432)
reel (verb): Sway and stagger drunkenly. Example: "To reel the streets at noon" (Antony and Cleopatra, 1.4.23).
refel (verb, rih FEL): Reject; refute; repudiate. Example: "I pray'd, and kneel'd, / [But] he refell'd me" (Measure for Measure, 5.1.111-112).
reguerdon (noun and verb, ruh GARE dun): Reward. Example:
Stoop then and set your knee against my foot;relique (noun): Relic. Example: "Shall we go see the reliques of this town?" (Twelfth Night, 3.3.22).
And, in reguerdon of that duty done,
I girt thee with the valiant sword of York. (Henry VI Part I, 3.1.177-179)
remember (verb): Remind (in addition to its usual meaning, recall). Example: "It doth remember me the more of sorrow" (Richard II, 3.4.17).
remembrancer (noun): Person who reminds others of a duty, an event, an outcome, etc. Example: "[He is] the remembrancer of her to hold / The hand fast to her lord" (Cymbeline, 1.5.90-91) .
remotion (noun): Departure; removal. Example: "This remotion of the duke and her is practice only" (King Lear, 2.4.107).
repair (verb): Proceed; come; advance; go. Example: "Repair thou to me with as much haste as thou wouldst fly [from] death" (Hamlet, 4.6.12).
repugn (verb, rih PYOON): Oppose; stand against. Example: "Stubbornly he did repugn the truth / About a certain question in the law" (Henry VI Part I, 4.1.98-99).
reputeless (adjective, re PYOOT less): Without a reputation. Example: "[Public opinion] had left me in reputeless banishment" (Henry IV Part I, 3.2.46).
rere-mouse or reremouse (noun): Bat. Example: "Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2.2.6).
reverb (verb): Reverberate. Example: "Those empty-hearted whose low sound / Reverbs no hollowness" (King Lear, 1.1.143-144).
Rhenish (noun): Dry white wine from the Rhine valley in Germany. Example: "He drains his draughts of Rhenish down" (Hamlet 1.4.13).
rheum (noun, ROOM): Tears; eye discharge. Example:
The northeast wind,rib (verb): Enclose. Example: "It were too gross / To rib her cerecloth [waxed burial cloth] in the obscure grave" (The Merchant of Venice, 2.7.52-53).
Which then blew bitterly against our faces,
Awak'd the sleeping rheum." (Richard II, 1.4.8-10)
riband (noun): Ribbon. Example: "Didst thou not fall out with a tailor for . . . tying his new shoes with old riband? (Romeo and Juliet, 3.1.11).
riggish (adjective): (1) wanton; unchaste. (2) rebellious; undisciplined. Example: "Holy priests / Bless her when she is riggish (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2.275-276).
rigol (noun, RIG l): Circle; monarch's crown. Example:
This sleep is sound indeed; this is a sleeprobustious (adjective): Overly theatrical; flowery and ornate; loud and pompous. Example: "It offends me to the soul to hear a robustious . . . fellow tear a passion [passionate passage in a play] to tatters, to very rags" (Hamlet, 3.2.3)
That from this golden rigol hath divorc'd
So many English kings. (Henry IV Part II, 4.5.39-41)
roe (noun): Small deer with short antlers. Example: "Thy grey-hounds are . . . /. . . fleeter than the roe" (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, scene 2, lines 34-35).
roist (adjective): Brag; swagger; bluster. Example: "I have a roisting challenge sent amongst / the . . . Greeks" (Troilus and Cressida, 2.2.217-218).
romage (noun, ROH mij): Rummaging; bustle; confusion; hurried search. Example: "[This is] the source of / . . . this . . . romage" (Hamlet, 1.1.124-125).
ronyon: Ronion, a scabby or mangy creature. Example: "The rump-fed ronyon cries" (Macbeth, 1.3.8).
rood (noun): Cross on which Christ was crucified; crucifix (cross with a sculpted, carved, or molded figure of Christ). Characters in Shakespeare often swore to the truth of a statement with the expression "by the rood" or "by the holy rood." Example:
GERTRUDE:..Have you forgot me?rooky (adjective): Full of crow-like birds; darkness, as suggested by the appearance of crows. (Macbeth, 3.2.59).
HAMLET:......No, by the rood, not so:
....................You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife;
....................And—would it were not so!—you are my mother. (Hamlet, 3.4.19-22)
ropery (noun): Roguery. Example: "I pray you, sir, what saucy merchant was this, that was so full of his ropery?" (Romeo and Juliet, 2.4.76).
roundure (noun): Roundness. Example: "'Tis not the roundure of your old-fac'd walls / Can hide you from our messengers of war" (King John, 2.1.270-271).
rowel (noun): Wheel of a spur with sharp projections. Example: "A rider like myself . . . ne’er wore rowel / Nor iron on his heel!" (Cymbeline, 4.4.49-50).
royal, rial, or ryal (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."
roynish (adjective): Troublesome; mean; base. Example: "My lord, the roynish clown, at whom so oft / Your Grace was wont to laugh, is also missing" (As You Like It, 2.2.10-11).
rub (noun): Uneven surface on a bowling green; figuratively, an obstacle, an obstruction, or a barrier. Example:
FIRST LADY Madam, we'll play at bowls.rudesby (noun): Ruffian; roughneck; houligan; thug. Example:
QUEEN 'Twill make me think the world is full of rubs. (Richard II, 3, 4.5-6)
I must, forsooth, be forc’druddock (noun): Robin with an orange breast. In Cymbeline (4.2.281-290), Arviragus says a ruddock will bring flowers to the grave of Imogen—whom Arviragus thinks is dead (she is in a stupor).
To give my hand oppos’d against my heart
Unto a mad-brain rudesby. (The Taming of the Shrew, 3.2.10-12)
ruff (noun): Starched collar worn by men and women in Shakespeare's time. Example: "Tearing a poor whore's ruff in a bawdy-house" (Henry IV Part II, 2.4.51).
runagate (noun): Fugitive; vagabond; renegade; one who runs away from something. Example: "You are more noble than that runagate to your bed" (Cymbeline, 1.6.160).
rushling (adjective, verb): Mistress Quickly's mispronuncation of rustling in this excerpt from her dialogue Example: "There has been knights, and lords, and gentlemen . . . so rushling, I warrant you, in silk and gold [garments]" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2.2.32).
ruth (noun): Compassion, sympathy, commiseration.
Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,
And let me use my sword, I’d make a quarry
With thousands of these quarter’d slaves. (Coriolanus, 1.1.163-165)
sackbut (noun): Medieval wind instrument with a slide, like that of a trombone. Example:
The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
Tabors, and cymbals, and the shouting Romans,
Make the sun dance. (Coriolanus, 5.4.32-34)
sacring bell (noun): In a Roman Catholic mass, the bell rung when the priest transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Example: "I'll startle you / Worse than the sacring bell" (Henry VIII, 3.2.356-357).
Saint Colme's Inch (noun): Island in the Firth of Forth, the estuary (firth) of the River Forth at Edinburgh, Scotland. The island is named after Saint Columba. Example: "He disbursed, at Saint Colme's Inch, / Ten thousand dollars to our general use" (Macbeth, 12.74-75).
saith (verb, SAY ith or SETH): Says. Example: "Society--saith the text--is the happiness of life" (Love's Labour's Lost, 4.2.66).
Sala (noun): Saale, a river in Germany. Example:
Charles the Greatsallet (noun): Salad. Example: "Poor Tom . . . eats cow-dung for sallets" (King Lear, 3.4.82).
Subdu'd the Saxons, and did seat the French
Beyond the river Sala. (Henry V, 1.2.66-68)
Salique Law (noun): See Henry V index.
sanctuarize (verb): Hide; protect; give sanctuary to. Example: "No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize" (Hamlet, 4.7.140).
saw (noun): Well-known saying; proverb. Example: "When coughing drowns the parson's saw" (Love's Labour's Lost, 5.2.882).
savour (noun): Fragrance. Example: "I smell sweet savours" (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, 2.58).
scaffoldage (noun): Theater stage. Example:
[He] doth think it richscald (adjective): skaldic, or Scandinavian, referring to a medieval poet of Scandinavia. Example: "Scald rimers [will] / Ballad us out o' tune. (Antony and Cleopatra, 5.2.261-262). Here, scald is apparently an anachronism, since Scandinavian poets (skalds) lived centuries after the age of Antony and Cleopatra. Shakespeare also uses scald in its modern sense (burn with a hot liquid).
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaffoldage. (Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.157-159)
scambling (adjective): Quarrelsome; contentious. Example: "The scambling and unquiet time / Did push it out of further question. (Henry V, 1.1.6-7).
scamel (noun): Scamell, a female godwit. A godwit is a long-legged bird with a long bill for probing the sand along shores for worms and other food. Example: "I'll get thee / Young scamels from the rock" (The Tempest, 2.2.79-80).
scant: (verb): Neglect. Example: "I have scanted all" (Sonnet 117, line 1)
scantling (noun): Nibble; tiny portion; small sample. Example: "The success / . . . shall give a scantling [of what is to come]" (Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.348-349).
scape or 'scape (verb): Escape. Example: "Who should scape whipping?" (Hamlet, 2.2.373).
scarfed (adjective): Having to do with timbers joined by cutting them at angles. See illustration. Example: "The scarfed bark [ship] puts from her native bay" (The Merchant of Venice, 2.4.18).
scarf up (verb and adverb): Seal up; blindfold. Example: "Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day" (Macbeth, 3.2.55).
scathful (adjective): Destructive; ruinous. Example:
With which such scathful grapple did he make
With the most noble bottom of our fleet,
That very envy and the tongue of loss
Cried fame and honour on him. (Twelfth Night, 5.1.35-38)
sconce (noun): The head. Example: "I shall break that merry sconce of yours" (The Comedy of Errors, 1.2.82).
scotch (verb): Cut with notches or lines; slash. Example: "He was too hard for him,—directly to say the truth on ’t: before Corioli he scotched him and notched him like a carbonado" (Coriolanus, 4.5.168)
scrimer: (noun): Fencing master. Example:
For your rapier most especially,scrowl (verb): Write down, as if on a scroll; scrawl; write signs, symbols, or words hastily. Example: "See, how with signs and tokens she can scrowl" (Titus Andronicus, 2.4.7).
. . . he cried out, ’twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you; the scrimers of their nation,
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos’d them. (Hamlet, 4.7.108-112)
scroyle (noun): Mean, despicable person. Example: "By heavens, these scroyles of Angiers flout you" (King John, 2.1.388).
scull (noun): Large school of fish. Example: "They . . . die, like scaled sculls, / Before the belching whale" (Troilus and Cressida, 5.5.27-28).
scullion (noun): Kitchen servant; rough, crude person. Example: "[I must] fall a-cursing like . . . / A scullion" (Hamlet, 2.2.421-422).
scurril (adjective): Vulgar; abusive. Example: "[Patroclus] breaks scurril jests" (Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.151).
scutch (verb): Whip; beat. Example: "Over-scutched huswives [promiscuous women; hussies]" (Henry IV Part II, 3.2.130).
semblable (noun, SEM bluh bl): Likeness. Example: "His semblable is his mirror" (Hamlet, 5.2.103).
sea gown or sea-gown (noun): Sailor's heavy coat with a high collar. Example: "My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark / Grop'd I to find . . . them" (Hamlet, 5.2.6-17).
self (adjective): Same; identical. Example: "I'll tell thee what befell me on a day / In this self place where now we mean to stand" (Henry VI Part III, 3.1.12-13).
semblative (adjective): Similar to. Example: "All is semblative a woman's part" (Twelfth Night, 1.4.34).
senseless-obstinate (adjective): Reluctant or unwilling without a good reason. Example: "You are too senseless-obstinate, my lord" (Richard III, 3.1.48).
sennet (noun): Stage direction for the sounding of a trumpet upon the entrance or exit of a kings, queens, or other dignitaries.
sequent (adjective): Following; resulting; consequent. Example: "Nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects" (King Lear, 1.2.57).
sequester (noun): Seclusion; removal. Example: "This hand of yours requires / A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer" (Othello, 3.4.37).
serpigo (noun, ser PYE go): Skin disease, such as herpes or ringworm. Example: "Thine own bowels . . . / Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum" (Measure for Measure, 3.1.31-33).
sessa: (verb): Hurry; get going; run. Example: "Do de, de, de. Sessa! Come, march to wakes and fairs and market" (King Lear, 3.6.56).
Setebos (noun): A deity or devil referred to by Caliban in The Tempest. Example:
His art is of such power,setter (noun): One who spies out prey for robbers--that is, one who sets up a robbery. "'Tis our setter. I know his voice . . . Money of the king's coming down the hill" (Henry IV Part I, 2.2.20-23).
It would control . . . Setebos
And make a vassal of him. (The Tempest, 1.2.441-443)
shale (noun): Shell. Example: "Your fair show shall suck away their souls, / Leaving them but the shales and husks of men" (Henry V, 4.2.19-21).
shards (noun): Outer wings of a beetle. Example: "The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums / Hath rung night’s yawning peal" (Macbeth, 3/2/49.50).
sharked or shark'd (verb). Snatched; snapped up; recruited. "[Fortinbras] hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, / Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes" (Hamlet, 1.1.114-115).
shealed (adjective): Shelled; having to do with what is left after a shell is removed. Example: "That's a shealed peascod [pod of a pea]" (King Lear, 1.4.113).
shelvy (adjective): Sloping; having sandbanks or reefs under the water; rocky. Example: "The shore was shelvy" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 3.5.5).
shent (verb): Scolded, rebuked, reprimanded. Example: "We shall all be shent" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1.4.20).
sheriff's post (noun): Post at the door of a sheriff's office. On it, the sheriff would display government proclamations with the royal coat of arms. Example: "He'll stand at your door like a sheriff's post" (Twelfth Night, 1.5.69).
shilling (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."
shive (noun): Slice. Example: "Easy it is / Of a cut loaf (of bread) to steal a shive" (Titus Andronicus, 2.1.93-94).
shog verb): Move on; go away; jog. Example: "Will you shog off?" (Henry V, 2.1.21).
shoon (noun): Shoes. Example: [I should know him by] his sandle shoon" (Hamlet, 4.5.27).
shotten (adjective): Worthless; of no use; shot; worn out. Example: "[The horse] is sway'd in the back and shoulder-shotten" (The Taming of the Shrew, 3.2.42).
shough (noun): Shaggy or woolly dog. Example:
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,shovel board or shovel-board (noun): (1) Game in which players slide a coin or a disk on a smooth board toward a mark; (2) the coin used in the game. Example: "[He picked my pocket] of seven groats [one groat equals four pence] . . . and two Edward shovel-boards [coins minted in the reign of King Edward IV]" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1.1.75). Shovel board is similar in play to the modern game of shuffleboard.
Shoughs, water-rugs,and demi-wolves are clept
All by the name of dogs. (Macbeth, 3.1.103-105)
shrieve (noun): Sheriff. Example: "He was whipped for getting the shrieve's fool with child" (All's Well That Ends Well, 4.3.76).
shrive (verb): Absolve from sins; obtain forgiveness by confessing sins. Example: "I had rather he should shrive me than wive me" (The Merchant of Venice, 2.2.33).
shrift (noun): Absolution from sins during the sacrament of penance (confession). Example: "Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift; / Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift" (Romeo and Juliet, 2.3.59-60).
sicle (noun): Shekel, an Ancient Hebrew unit of weight equaling half an ounce; silver or gold coin equal in weight to a shekel. Example: "Fond sicles of the tested gold" (Measure for Measure, 2.2.178)..
signory or signiory (noun, SEEN yor e): seigniory (SANE your e), the authority, manor, or power of a medieval seignior (lord). Example: "You have fed upon my signories" (Richard II, 3.1.24).
simples (noun): Herbs or other remedies. Example: "I do remember an apothecary . . . culling of simples" (Romeo and Juliet, 5.1.42-45).
simular (noun, SIM yoo ler): Pretender; fake; one who simulates. Example: "Thou simular of virtue" (King Lear, 3.2.44).
sirrah (noun, SIR uh): Fellow; mister. The word is used contemptuously. Example: "Hold, sirrah, bear you these letters tightly" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1.4.38).
sith: (adverb, conjunction, preposition): Since. Example: "Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope, / 'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them" (Measure for Measure, 1.3.40-41).
sithence: See sith, the previous entry.
sixpence (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."
skains-mates or skainsmates: See next entry.
skeins-mates (noun): Messmates or dining companions. Example: "I am none of his skeins-mates" (Romeo and Juliet, 2.4.78).
skimble-skamble (noun; noun used as an adjective): Meaningless talk; nonsense. Example: Such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff (Henry IV, Part I, 3.1.158).
skinker (noun): See Underskinker.
sluttish: Untidy; sloppy. Example: "Truly, fortune's displeasure is but sluttish, if it smell so strongly as thou speakest of" (All's Well That Ends Well, 5.2.4).
skimble-skamble or skimble-scamble (adjective): Confusing; rambling; incoherent. Example: ". . . such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff" (Henry IV Part I, 3.1.158).
skirr (verb): Travel rapidly (run, ride, etc.), sometimes to locate and arrest someone. Example: "Send out more horses, skirr the country round" (Macbeth, 5.3.43).
sleided (adjective): Made with the help of a movable frame with strips that arrange threads lengthwise. Example: "She weaved the sleided silk" ("A Lover's Complaint," line 48).
sleight (noun): Trick; deception; clever stratagem. Example: "Ulysses and stout Diomede / With sleight and manhood stole to Rhesus' tents" (Henry VI Part III, 4.2.22-23). Rhesus was a Greek general who, along with Ulysses and Diomede, fought against Troy in the Trojan War.
sliding (noun): Sinful activity. Example: "[You] rather prov'd the sliding of your brother / A merriment than a vice (Measure for Measure, 2.4.128-129).
slips (noun): Collars worn by hunting greyhounds. Hunters controlling the dogs could easily slip off a collar to allow a dog to run free. Example: "I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, / Straining upon the start" (Henry V, 3.1.33-34).
slops (noun): Loose-fitting trousers. Example: "[He is] a German from the waist downward, all slops" (Much Ado About Nothing, 3.2.18).
slovenry (noun): Untidiness; sloppiness. Example: "Time hath worn us into slovenry" (Henry V, 4.3.122).
smatch (noun): Taste; flavor. Example: "Thy life hath had some smatch of honour in it" (Julius Caesar, 5.5.53).
smilets (noun): Small smiles. Example: "Those happy smilets / That play'd on her ripe lip" (King Lear, 4.3.17-18).
smit (verb): Damaged; attacked; struck a blow to. (Smit is the past participle of smite.) Example: "[My actions] have smit my credit" (Timon of Athens, 2.1.27).
smooth (adjective): (1) Agreeable; refined and polite. Example: "Distress hath ta'en from me the show / Of smooth civility" (As You Like It, 2.7.101-102).
smoothing (adjective): Deceptively flattering. Example: "Let not his smoothing words / Bewitch your hearts" (Henry VI Part II, 1.1.145-146).
Smulkin (noun): Evil spirit; spirit that helps a wizard or a witch. Example: "Beware my follower, . . . Smulkin! peace, thou fiend" (King Lear, 3.4.85).
smutch (verb): Smudge; make dirty. Example: "What! hast smutch’d thy nose?" (The Winter's Tale, 1.2.149).
sneap (noun): Rebuke, reprimand; criticism; censure. Example: "My lord, I will not undergo this sneap without reply" (Henry IV Part II, 2.1.44).
sneaping (adjective): Biting; nipping; blighting. Example: "Berowne is like an envious sneaping frost / That bites the first-born infants of the spring" (Love's Labour's Lost, (1.1.104-105).
sneck up (verb plus adverb): Shut up; get out; go away; be hanged. Example from Twelfth Night: After a household steward complains about the revelry of Sir Toby Belch and his friends, Belch tells the steward, "Sneck up!" (2.3.45).
snuff (noun): Burnt or charred part of a candlewick. Example: "There lives within the very flame of love / A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it" (Hamlet 4.7.126-127).
soft (interjection): Stop, be quiet; hold up. Example: "But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!" (Hamlet, 1.1.143).
solidare (noun): Coin. Example: "Here's three solidares for thee" (Timon of Athens, 3.1.16).
sonties (noun): Saints. Example By God's sonties, 'twill be a hard way to hit. (The Merchant of Venice, 2.2.9)
sooth (noun): Truth; fact. Example: "In sooth, you are to blame" (Othello, 3.4.104).
souse (verb): Attack; pounce on. Example: "Like an eagle o'er his aery towers, / [He is ready] to souse annoyance that comes near his nest" (King John, 5.2.154-155).
sowl or sowle (verb): Rip free; pull out. Example: "He’ll go . . . and sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears" (Coriolanus, 4.5.171).
spavin (noun): Swelling in a horse that can cause lameness. Example:
They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,sperr (verb): Gird; strengthen; shore up; fasten. Example:
That never saw 'em pace before, the spavin
Or springhalt reign'd among 'em. (Henry VIII, 1.3.14-16)
Dardan, and Tymbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,spilth (noun): That which is spilled; the act of spilling. Example: "With drunken spilth of wine" (Timon of Athens, 2.2.152).
And Antenorides, with massy staples
And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
Sperr up the sons of Troy. (Troilus and Cressida, Prologue, 16-19)
spirt (verb) Spurt. Example: "[They] spirt up so suddenly into the clouds" (Henry V, 3.5.10).
spital (noun): Hospital. Example: "She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores / Would cast the gorge at" (Timon of Athens, 4.3.41-42)
splenitive (adjective): Short-tempered, easily angered. Example:
I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat;spongy (adjective): Wet; drunk. Drunk. xam
For though I am not splenetive and rash
Yet have I in me something dangerous. (Hamlet, 5.1.144-146)
springe (noun, SPRINJ): Trap; snare. Example: "As a woodcock to my own springe, Osric. I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery" (Hamlet, 5.2.245-246).
springhalt (noun): Stringhalt, a disorder in horses that causes spasmodic movements of the hind legs. Example:
They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,squier (noun): A square; a ruler or measure. Example: "Not the worst of the three but jumps twelve foot and a half by the squier" (The Winter's Tale, 4.3.274).
That never saw 'em pace before, the spavin
Or springhalt reign'd among 'em. (Henry VIII, 1.3.14-16)
squiny (verb, SKWINE e): Squint. Example: "I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me?" (King Lear, 4.6.137).
stale (noun, verb, adjective): (1) Prostitute; (2) urine or urinate; (3) lacking freshness or originality. Examples: (1) "I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about / To link my friend to a common stale" (Much Ado About Nothing, 4.1.59-60). (2) "Thou didst drink / The stale of horses" (Antony and Cleopatra, 1.4.69-70). (3) "How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!" (Hamlet, 1.2.137-138).
startingly (adverb): With or by sudden starts or outbursts; fitfully; spasmodically. Example: "Why do you speak so startingly and rash?" (Othello, 3.4.83).
statist (noun, STAY tist or STAT ist): Statesman; politician. Example: "I once did hold it, as our statists do, / A baseness to write fair" (Hamlet, 5.2.37-38).
staves (noun): Lances used by mounted knights. Example: "Their armed staves in charge [charging]" (Henry IV Part II, 4.1.128).
statua (noun): Statue. Example: "Like dumb statuas or breathing stones, / [They] star'd each on other, and look'd deadly pale" (Richard III, 3.7.27-28).
stell (verb): Secure; fix; anchor; attach. Example: "Mine eye hath played the painter and hath stelled thy beauty's form [on] my heart" (Sonnet 24, lines 1 and 2).
stile (noun): Step or steps for climbing over a wall. Example: "Jog on, jog on, the footpath way / And merrily hent the stile" (The Winter's Tale, 4.2.41).
stillitory (noun): A still used to vaporize, distill. Example: "From the stillitory of thy face excelling / Comes breath perfum’d that breedeth love by smelling" (Venus and Adonis, 443-444).
stilly (adverb): With stillness; quietly. Example:
The hum of either army stilly sounds,stoccado (noun, sto CAH doh): Thrust or stab with a rapier, a two-edged sword. Example: "In these times / You stand on distance, your passes, your stoccadoes" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2.1.87).
That the fix’d sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other’s watch. (Henry V, Act 4 Chorus, lines 6-8)
stomacher (noun): Ornamented cloth women wore over the chest and abdomen. Example from Shakespeare, used figuratively:
Away, away!stonebow or stone-bow (noun): Crossbow for shooting stones. Example: "O! for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye" (Twelfth Night, 2.5, 27).
Corrupters of my faith; you shall no more
Be stomachers to my heart. (Cymbeline, 3.4.78-80)
stoup (noun, STOOP): Cup or another drinking vessel. Example: "Set me the stoups of wine upon that table" (Hamlet, 5.2.196).
strappado (noun, struh PAH doh): Type of torture in which a victim is raised on ropes tied to his wrists, then dropped and stopped just short of the ground. Example: "[If] I were at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion" (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.101).
straw (noun): Something of little or no value. In Hamlet, Norwegian soldiers march on Poland to recapture a small, virtually worthless piece of land. When Hamlet encounters the captain of the Norwegian troops, he tells him that the land is a "straw" that is not worth fighting for" (4.4.30).
strond (noun): Shore; beach. Example: "So looks the strond, whereon the imperious flood / Hath left a witnessed usurpation" (Henry IV Part II, 1.1.76).
strucken (verb): Struck. Example: "The clock hath strucken twelve on the bell" (The Comedy of Errors, 1.2.48).
strumpet (noun): Prostitute. Example:
Never could the strumpet,subscription (noun): Allegiance. Example: "I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children, / You owe me no subscription" (King Lear, 3.2.16-17).
With all her double vigour, art and nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite. (Measure for Measure, 2.2.80-83)
succour (verb): Help; aid. Example: "[I'll] keep them back that come to succour you" (Henry VI Part III, 4.7.61). The American spelling of this word is succor.
sumpter (noun): Pack horse or mule. Example: "Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter / To this detested groom" (King Lear, 2.4.220-221).
superflux (noun): Superabundance; overflow. Example: "Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, / That thou mayst shake the superflux to them" (King Lear, 3.4.39-40).
supervise (noun): Inspection; examination. Hamlet uses the phrase "on the supervise" when referring to his inspection of a document ordering his execution (Hamlet, 5.2.26).
suppliance (noun): Appeal; plea; supplication; someone or something that asks for attention. In Hamlet, Laertes tells his sister, Ophelia, to regard Hamlet's suppliance (that is, his pleas for attention from her) as a mere whim of the moment and not a reliable sign that he is interested in her. Example: "[Hamlet is] the perfume and suppliance of a minute; / No more" (Hamlet, 1.3.12-13).
supportance (noun): Support. Example: "Give some supportance to the bending twigs" (Richard II, 3.4.37).
supposal (noun): Estimation; supposition; conjecture. Example: "Now follows . . . young Fortinbras, / Holding a weak supposal of our worth" (Hamlet, 1.2.19-20).
sur- (prefix): Over; above. Example: "Sur-rein'd jades" (Henry V, 3.5.21). Here, sur-rein'd means over-reined, describing the treatment of old horses (jades).
surance (noun): Assurance; evidence; proof. Example: "Give [me] some surance that thou art Revenge" (Titus Andronicus, 5.2.49).
surplice (noun): White linen vestment worn over a cassock by priests and altar boys. It covers the trunk of the body from the shoulders to the knees. The loose-fitting sleeves extend below the elbows. Example (used figuratively): "It will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart" (All's Well That Ends Well, 1.3.32).
suspire (verb): Breathe. Example: "But yesterday [he did] suspire" (King John, 3.4.85).
swag (adjective): Swaying; jiggling. Example: "Swag-bellied Hollander" (Othello, 2.3.55).
swain (noun): Young fellow; country boy. Example: "Who is Silvia? What is she, / That all our swains commend her?" (Song in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 4.2.41).
swashing (adjective): Dashing; swaggering. Example: "We’ll have a swashing and a martial outside" (As You Like It, 1.3.109).
sweeting (noun): Sweetheart. Example from Shakespeare"How fares my Kate? What, sweeting, all amort?" (The Taming of the Shrew, 4.3.39).
Switzer (noun): Swiss guard. Example: "Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door" (Hamlet, 4.5.68).
swound (verb): Swoon, faint. Example: "Caesar . . . swounded and fell down" (Julius Caesar, 1.2.240).
tabor or tabour (noun, TAY ber): Small drum that a musician strikes with one hand while blowing into a fife (type of flute) with the other. Example: "And now had he rather hear the tabour and the pipe" (Much Ado About Nothing, 2.3.8).
tallow (noun): Fat from cattle, horses, and other animals that is used to make candles, soap, and other products. Example: "[It is as] base . . . as the smoky light / That's fed with stinking tallow" (Cymbeline, 1.6.127-128).
tang (noun, verb): (1) Loud sound; (2) emit a vibrating sound; resound. Example: "She had a tongue with a tang" (The Tempest, 2.2.27).
tanned: Wrinkled; thrashed; drawn and browned like tanned leather. Example: "Tanned antiquity" (Sonnet, line 10).
targe (noun): Shield. Example:
Woe is my heartTarpeian (adjective, tar PE yin): Rock or high point on the Capitoline Hill in Rome from which condemned lawbreakers were hurled. Example: "He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock" (Coriolanus, 3.1.333).
That the poor soldier that so richly fought,
. . . whose naked breast
Stepp’d before targes of proof, cannot be found. (Cymbeline, 5.5.5-7)
tarre (noun): Incite; goad; provoke; urge on. Example: "Like a dog that is compell'd to fight, / Snatch at his master that doth tarre on him" (King John, 4.1, 129-130).
tarry (verb): Wait for. Example: "He that will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding" (Troilus and Cressida, 1.1.15).
teem (verb): Become pregnant. Example:
If she must teem,tench (noun): Freshwater fish that attracts lice. Example: "I think this be the most villanous house in all London road for fleas: I am stung like a tench" (Henry IV Part I, 2.1.9).
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a . . . torment to her!" (King Lear, 1.4.197-199)
tendance (noun): (1) Attention; attending to something; (2) attendants. Example:
His large fortune,Termagant and termagant (noun, TERM uh gint): Capitalized: Violent god that medieval Christians dreamed up as a deity worshipped by Muslims. Lower-cased: Violent, scolding woman; shrewish woman. Example: "I would have such a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing Termagant" (Hamlet, 3.2.3).
Upon his good and gracious nature hanging,
Subdues and properties to his love and tendance
All sorts of hearts. (Timon of Athens, 1.1.68-71)
teston or testoon (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."
tetter (noun): Skin disease or inflammation that causes eruptions and itching; blister, pimple, eczema, psoriasis; herpes. Example: "A most instant tetter . . . / With vile and loathsome crust" (Hamlet, 1.5.79-80).
thane (noun): Man of elevated rank who held land granted by the king. Example: "Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?" (Macbeth, 1.2.58).
tharborough (noun): Constable; law officer. Example: "I am his grace's tharborough" (Love's Labour's Lost, 1.1.181).
Thassos (noun): Island in the northern Aegean Sea. Example: "To Thassos send his body" (Julius Caesar, 5.3.116).
thee, thou, thine, thy, thyself (pronouns): Thee (you), thou (you), thine (yours), thy (your), thyself (yourself). Usage: Thou is subjective; thee is objective; thine and thy are possessive; thyself is reflexive and intensive. Examples from Shakespeare: (1) "Thou [you, subject of the sentence] swear'st in vain" (King Lear, 1.1.154). (2) "Thy [your] youngest daughter does not love thee [you, direct object of the sentence] least." (King Lear, 1.1.142). (3) "To thine [yours] and Albany's issue / Be this perpetual" (King Lear, 1.1.50-51). (4) "Prithee, go in thyself [yourself]" (King Lear, 3.4.28).
thereunto (adverb): To this; to that. Example: "Pertaining thereunto" (Henry VIII, 1.3.36).
therewithal (adverb): Considering all of that; in addition to all of that; besides. Example: "Therewithal we shall have cause of state (Macbeth, 3.1.40).
thews (noun): Muscles; strength, power. Example: "For Romans now / Have thews and limbs like to their ancestors" (Julius Caesar, 1.3.86-87).
thither (adverb): To that place; toward that place. Example: "We'll lead you thither" (As You Like It, 4.3.141).
thorough (preposition): Through. Example:
Over hill, over dale,thou'dst (contraction: pronoun and verb): Thou wouldst--that is, thou would. Example: "Thou'dst meet the bear in the mouth" (King Lear, 3.4.15).
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where. (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2.1.4-8)
thraldom (noun): Captivity; slavery. Example: "When he delivers you / From this earth's thraldom to the joys of heaven (Richard III, 1.4.220).
thrall (noun): Slave. Example: "In pious rage the two delinquents tear, / That were the . . . thralls of sleep" (Macbeth, 3.6.14-15).
three-man beetle (noun): Heavy hammer used by three men to drive piles. Example: "If I do, fillip me with a three-man beetle" (Henry IV Part II, 1.2.70).
threepence (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."
threne (noun): Funeral song, dirge. Example: "Whereupon it made this threne / To the phoenix and the dove" ("The Phoenix and the Turtle," 47-48).
thrum (noun): Fringe trimmed from a cloth before it was removed from a loom. Example: "Cut thread and thrum" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5.1.264)
thrummed hat (noun): Hat made of coarse wool. Example: "There's her thrummed hat and her muffler" (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 4.2.36).
touse (verb): Tear; pull. Example: "We'll touse you joint by joint" (Measure for Measure, 5.1.327).
tilt (noun): Jousting tournament; the charge of one mounted knight with a lance against another mounted knight with a lance. Example: "There shall he practise tilts and tournaments" (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1.3.33).
tilter (noun): Knight who competes in a jousting tournament. Example: ""[He is like] a . . . tilter that spurs his horse but on one side" (As You Like It, 3.4.22).
tiltyard or tilt-yard (noun): Arena in which knights compete in jousting tournament. In one edition of Shakespeare, this word is used in Henry VI Part II (3.2) without a hyphen and in the same play with a hyphen.
tortive (adjective): Example: "[Make his grain] tortive . . . from [its] course of growth" (Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.11).
toy (noun): Device or course of action to accomplish some end; the device or action is usually not well conceived or thought out. Example: "The very place puts toys of desperation, / . . . into every brain" (Hamlet, 1.4.84-85).
traject (noun): Transporter; boat that carries messages. Example: "Bring them . . . / Unto the traject, the common ferry" (The Merchant of Venice, 3.4.55-56).
trencher (noun): Wooden board on which to slice and serve meat and other food. In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio and Kate sit down to dinner. When servants present the food, Petruchio tells them the meat is burned and throws it at them, then says, "There, take it to you, trenchers, cups, and all" (4.1.102).
troll-my-dames or trollmydames (noun): Game in which players roll balls or marbles into holes. Shakespeare refers to this game in The Winter's Tale (4.3).
troth (noun): Loyalty; faithfulness; truth; promise. Example: "By my troth and maidenhead / I would not be a queen" (188.8.131.52).
trow (verb): Suppose; believe; think. Example:
I take my leave,Troyan (adjective): Trojan. "In such a night / Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls" (The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.5-6).
To see my friends in Padua; but, of all
My best beloved and approved friend,
Hortensio; and I trow this is his house. (The Taming of the Shrew, 1.2.3-6)
truckle-bed (noun): Low bed with casters that can easily be moved under a larger bed. Example: "I'll to my truckle-bed" (Romeo and Juliet, 2.1.44).
truepenny (noun): Trustworthy person; person who keeps his word. Example: "Art thou there, truepenny?" (Hamlet, 1.5.171).
trull (noun): Whore, harlot; prostitute. Example: "I scared the Dauphin and his trull, / When arm in arm they both came swiftly running" (Henry VI Part I, 2.2.30-31).
truncheon (noun): Club, cudgel. Example:
Not the king’s crown, nor the deputed sword,trundle-tail (noun): Reference in King Lear (3.6.52) to a dog with a long tail.
The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does. (Measure for Measure, 2.2.83)
tuck (noun): Rapier, a light, slender sword used to thrust. Example: "Dismount thy tuck . . . for thy assailant is quick, skillful, and deadly" (Twelfth Night, 3.4.124)
tucket (noun): Trumpet. A stage direction in Timon of Athens is "Tucket sounded" (1.2.75).
tun (noun): Barrel or cask for wine or beer. Example: "A tun . . . is thy companion" (Henry IV Part I, 2.4.173).
tundish (noun): Funnel. Example:
DUKE: Why should he die, sir?tup (verb): Copulate. In literal usage, tup describes the action of a ram copulating with a ewe. In figurative use, tup may describe the action of a man copulating with a woman. Example: "Cassio did tup her" (Othello, 5.2.166). Othello speaks this line in the belief that Cassio had had sexual relations with his wife, Desdemona.
LUCIO: Why? for filling a bottle with a tundish. (Measure for Measure, 3.2.81)
Here, bottle is a metaphor for a vagina and tundish a metaphor for a penis.
Turlygood (noun): Term used in King Lear (2.3.22) to refer to a lunatic beggar.
tush 1 (interjection, rhymes with hush): Mild expression of disapproval or rebuke. Example:
BALTHASAR Your looks are pale and wild, and do importtush 2 (noun, rhymes with hush): Tusk of a boar or another animal; canine tooth of a horse. Example:
ROMEO Tush, thou art deceiv'd. (Romeo and Juliet, 5.1.31-33)
O! be advis’d; thou know’st not what it istwangling (adjective): Twanging. Example: "Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments / Will hum about mine ears" (The Tempest, 3.2.98-99).
With javelin’s point a churlish swine to gore,
Whose tushes never sheath’d he whetteth still. (Venus and Adonis, 615-617)
twelvemonth (noun): Year. Example: "Men shall swear I have discontinu'd school / above a twelvemonth" (The Merchant of Venice, 3.4.79-80).
twiggen (adjective): Wicker, often used on the outside of wine bottles. Example: "I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle" (Othello, 2.3.104).
twilled (adjective): Interwoven with vines, shrubs, etc. Example: "Thy banks [of a brook or river] with . . . twilled brims" (The Tempest, 4.1.75).
twink (noun): Twinkling. Example: "In a twink she won me to her love" (The Taming of the Shrew, 2.1.312).
twire (noun): Twinkle. Example: "When sparkling stars twire not" (Sonnet 28, line 12).
twit (verb): Ridiculed; taunted; teased. Example: "Hath he not twit our sovereign lady here / With ignominious words?" (Henry VI Part II, 3.1.182-183).
twopence (noun): See "From the Penny to the Pound."