"Macbeth" Vocabulary from Act I

While you are reading the Shakespearean tragedy "Macbeth," (etext found here), learn these word lists for each act: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, and Act 5.
definitions & notes only words
  1. foul
    highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust
    Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
    Hover through the fog and filthy air.
  2. report
    to give an account or representation of in words
    What bloody man is that? He can report,
    As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
    The newest state.
  3. brave
    possessing or displaying courage
    This is the sergeant
    Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
    'Gainst my captivity. Hail, brave friend!
  4. rebel
    a person who takes part in an armed insurrection
    Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
    The multiplying villanies of nature
    Do swarm upon him.
  5. supply
    give something useful or necessary to
    The merciless Macdonwald...
    From the western isles
    Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
  6. wound
    an injury to living tissue
    Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
    Or memorise another Golgotha,
    I cannot tell.
  7. minion
    a servile or fawning dependant
    For brave Macbeth--well he deserves that name--
    Disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution,
    Like valour's minion carved out his passage
    Till he faced the slave.
  8. hail
    praise vociferously
    All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
  9. noble
    having high or elevated character
    My noble partner
    You greet with present grace and great prediction
    Of noble having and of royal hope,
    That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
  10. partner
    an associate in an activity or endeavor of common interest
    My noble partner
    You greet with present grace and great prediction
    Of noble having and of royal hope,
    That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
  11. prophetic
    foretelling events as if by supernatural intervention
    Say from whence
    You owe this strange intelligence? or why
    Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
    With such prophetic greeting?
  12. success
    an attainment that achieves a favorable outcome
    The king hath happily received, Macbeth,
    The news of thy success.
  13. praise
    an expression of approval and commendation
    When he reads
    Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,
    His wonders and his praises do contend
    Which should be thine or his
  14. earnest
    something of value given to bind a contract
    And, for an earnest of a greater honour,
    He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor.
  15. vantage
    place or situation affording some benefit
    Whether he was combined
    With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
    With hidden help and vantage, or that with both
    He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not
  16. treason
    disloyalty by virtue of subversive behavior
    But treasons capital, confess'd and proved,
    Have overthrown him.
  17. deserve
    be worthy
    Would thou hadst less deserved,
    That the proportion both of thanks and payment
    Might have been mine!
  18. unaccompanied
    without anybody else or anything else
    We will establish our estate upon
    Our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter
    The Prince of Cumberland; which honour must
    Not unaccompanied invest him only,
    But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
    On all deservers
  19. harbinger
    something indicating the approach of something or someone
    I'll be myself the harbinger and make joyful
    The hearing of my wife with your approach
  20. peerless
    eminent beyond or above comparison
    Let's after him,
    Whose care is gone before to bid us welcome:
    It is a peerless kinsman.
  21. weird
    suggesting the operation of supernatural influences
    Whiles I stood rapt in
    the wonder of it, came missivesfrom the king, who
    all-hailed me 'Thane of Cawdor;' by which title,
    before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred
    me to the coming on of time, with 'Hail, king that
    shalt be!'
    That's not to say the three witches aren't also strange, but that's not how 'weird' is being used here.
  22. ignorant
    unaware because of a lack of relevant information
    This have I thought good to deliver
    thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou
    mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being
    ignorant of what greatness is promised thee.
  23. promise
    a verbal commitment agreeing to do something in the future
    This have I thought good to deliver
    thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou
    mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing, by being
    ignorant of what greatness is promised thee.
  24. dire
    causing fear or dread or terror
    Come, you spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty!
  25. purpose
    an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions
    Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
    That no compunctious visitings of nature
    Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
    The effect and it!
  26. gall
    a digestive juice secreted by the liver
    Come to my woman's breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
    Wherever in your sightless substances
    You wait on nature's mischief!
    In a more general sense, gall here is being used to mean 'poisonous acid.'
  27. haunt
    be a regular or frequent visitor to a certain place
    This guest of summer,
    The temple- haunting martlet, does approve,
    By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
    Smells wooingly here.
    The martlet (a kind of bird) isn't haunting like a ghost -- that comes a little later!
  28. frieze
    an ornament consisting of a horizontal sculptured band
    No jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
    Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle.
  29. deed
    something that people do or cause to happen
    First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
    Strong both against the deed.