"Romeo and Juliet" Vocabulary from Act 1

Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is the classic story of love in the midst of hate, and whether that love is strong enough and wise enough to survive what surrounds it (etext found here).

Learn these word lists for each act of the tragedy: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, and Act 5.
definitions & notes only words
  1. grudge
    a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
  2. civil
    of or occurring between or among citizens of the state
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
    Watch out! Shakespeare is punning here -- "civil" can also mean "not rude."
  3. thrust
    a strong blow with a knife or other sharp pointed instrument
    While we were interchanging thrusts and blows,
    Came more and more and fought on part and part,
    Till the prince came, who parted either part.
    Watch out! Shakespeare is using a couple different meanings of "thrust" here.
  4. quarrel
    an angry dispute
    The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
  5. brawl
    a noisy fight in a crowd
    Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
    By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
    Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets.
  6. disturb
    destroy the peace or tranquility of
    Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
    By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
    Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets.
  7. ancient
    very old
    Verona's ancient citizens
    Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
    To wield old partisans
  8. canker
    a pernicious and malign influence that is hard to get rid of
    Wield old partisans, in hands as old,
    Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate:
    Yet another double meaning -- a canker is a sore. So, it's cankered hands (hands covered in sores) working against cankered hate (hate that is hard to get rid of).
  9. depart
    go away or leave
    For this time, all the rest depart away.
  10. fray
    a noisy fight
    Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
  11. portentous
    of momentous or ominous significance
    Black and portentous must this humour prove,
    Unless good counsel may the cause remove.
  12. grief
    something that causes great unhappiness
    Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
    Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
    With more of thine.
  13. forswear
    formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief
    She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
    Do I live dead that live to tell it now.
  14. bound
    place limits on
    But Montague is bound as well as I,
    In penalty alike.
  15. reckon
    deem to be
    Of honourable reckoning are you both
  16. consent
    give an affirmative reply to; respond favorably to
    But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
    My will to her consent is but a part;
  17. tread
    put down or press the foot, place the foot
    At my poor house look to behold this night
    Earth- treading stars that make dark heaven light
  18. scant
    less than the correct or legal or full amount
    But in that crystal scales let there be weigh'd
    Your lady's love against some other maid
    And she shall scant show well that now shows best.
  19. waddle
    walk unsteadily
    For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood,
    She could have run and waddled all about
  20. warrant
    stand behind the quality, accuracy, or condition of
    I warrant, an I should live a thousand years, I never should forget it
  21. parlous
    fraught with danger
    It had upon it's brow... a parlous knock; and it cried bitterly.
  22. volume
    a collection of written or printed sheets bound together
    Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
    And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
    Shakespeare is using a metaphor here; Lady Capulet is telling Juliet to study Paris like she would a book.
  23. torch
    a light usually carried in the hand
    Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling;
    Being but heavy, I will bear the light.
  24. soar
    fly upwards or high in the sky
    Borrow Cupid's wings,
    And soar with them above a common bound.
  25. burden
    weight to be borne or conveyed
    Under love's heavy burden do I sink.
  26. prick
    make a small hole into, as with a needle or a thorn
    Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
    Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.
  27. vain
    unproductive of success
    I mean, sir, in delay
    We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.
  28. scorn
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    What dares the slave
    Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
    To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
  29. solemnity
    a trait of dignified seriousness
    What dares the slave
    Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
    To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?