Elizabethan Vocabulary

Language & BFA . Pronunciation . Drills . Grammar . Vocabulary . Insults . Forms of Address . Songs . References

With some pronunciations memorized, and some simple rules of grammar impressed, the final (endless) step is to accumulate a vocabulary. But a little goes a long ways, here are 25 words you'll use every day in the street or when talking to patrons.


A Scene using these Words

A man walks into a alehouse...
Server: Well met!
Drunkard: Good morrow!
Server: Wherefore dost thou carry such a dry and parch'd tankard?
Drunkard: Pray fetch yon ale mistress, verily I thank thee.
Server: Prithee wait while I shall fetch her unto you anon.
Drunkard: Grammarcy.
[Something comically terrible happens.]
Mistress: Fie and aroint with thee, ale-louse! N'er shall you drink here hence!

Additional Hints


The best method of adding vocabulary is learn from the best, read your Shakespeare. The two volume Shakespeare Lexicon by Alexander Schmidt contains all the words you might require. Or be filth your desire, try Shakespeare's Bawdy by Eric Partridge or the Dictionary of Sexual Puns by Frankie Rubinstein. See also: English through the Ages by William Brohaugh

Shakespeare's Bawdy (Routledge Classics)
Shakespeare's Bawdy (Routledge Classics)
Eric Partridge
Buy New: $4.85 / Used: $0.01 (43 avail)
A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual Puns and Their Significance
A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual Puns and Their Significance
Frankie Rubinstein
Buy New: $58.00 / Used: $11.94 (24 avail)

English Through the Ages
English Through the Ages
William Brohaugh
Buy New: $8.95 / Used: $0.11 (47 avail)

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