Common Archaic Words in Shakespeare

These words are from the website "Common Archaic Words in Shakespeare"
Each word has the pronunciation, part of speech, definition, and an example from Shakespeare.

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. anon
    (old-fashioned or informal) in a little while
  2. belike
    with considerable certainty; without much doubt
  3. beseech
    ask for or request earnestly
  4. betimes
    in good time
  5. betwixt
    in the interval
  6. bombard
    throw bombs at or attack with bombs
  7. bourn
    an archaic term for a boundary
  8. bruit
    tell or spread rumors
  9. buckram
    a coarse cotton fabric stiffened with glue
  10. cap-a-pie
    at all points from head to foot
  11. cozen
    be dishonest with
  12. fain
    having made preparations
  13. fardel
    a burden (figuratively in the form of a bundle)
  14. fool
    a person who lacks good judgment
  15. forsooth
    an archaic word originally meaning `in truth' but now usually used to express disbelief
  16. gaoler
    someone who guards prisoners
  17. haply
    by accident
  18. hautboy
    a slender double-reed instrument
  19. hautbois
    a slender double-reed instrument
  20. hugger mugger
    act stealthily or secretively
  21. incarnadine
    redden or make pinkish
  22. Liege
    city in eastern Belgium
  23. marry
    become someone's spouse
  24. meed
    a fitting reward
  25. Morris
    United States statesman who led the committee that produced the final draft of the United States Constitution (1752-1816)
  26. morrow
    the next day
  27. mote
    a tiny piece of anything
  28. nonce
    the present occasion
  29. orison
    reverent petition to a deity
  30. palter
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead
  31. Rheum
  32. rood
    representation of the cross on which Jesus died
  33. shrive
    grant remission of a sin to
  34. sirrah
    formerly a contemptuous term of address to an inferior man or boy; often used in anger
  35. soft
    yielding readily to pressure or weight
  36. sooth
    truth or reality
  37. swain
    a young male suitor
  38. thou
    the cardinal number that is the product of 10 and 100
  39. verily
    in truth; certainly
  40. vouchsafe
    grant in a condescending manner
  41. welkin
    the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
  42. whence
    from what place, source, or cause
  43. wherefore
    the cause or intention underlying an action or situation
  44. withal
    together with this
  45. wonted
    commonly used or practiced; usual
Created on December 13, 2008

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.