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Othello: Act 1

Influenced by the duplicitous Iago, Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, begins to doubt his wife's faithfulness. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the play: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. abhor
    feel hatred or disgust toward
    If ever I did dream of such a matter,
    Abhor me.
  2. bombast
    pompous or pretentious talk or writing
    But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
    Evades them with a bombast circumstance,
    Horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
    And in conclusion,
    Nonsuits my mediators.
  3. epithet
    descriptive word or phrase
    But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
    Evades them with a bombast circumstance,
    Horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
    And in conclusion,
    Nonsuits my mediators.
  4. forsooth
    certainly; indeed (now often used ironically)
    Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
    One Michael Cassio, a Florentine
  5. obsequious
    attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
    You shall mark
    Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
    That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
    Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass,
    For naught but provender, and when he’s old,
    cashiered.
  6. provender
    food for domestic livestock
    You shall mark
    Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
    That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
    Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass,
    For naught but provender, and when he’s old,
    cashiered.
  7. visage
    the appearance conveyed by a person's face
    Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are
    Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty,
    Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
    And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
    Do well thrive by them; and when they have lined
    their coats,
    Do themselves homage.
  8. homage
    respectful deference
    Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are
    Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty,
    Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
    And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
    Do well thrive by them; and when they have lined
    their coats,
    Do themselves homage.
  9. rouse
    cause to become awake or conscious
    Call up her father.
    Rouse him.
  10. vexation
    anger produced by some annoying irritation
    Though that his joy be joy,
    Yet throw such chances of vexation on ’t
    As it may lose some color.
  11. grange
    a farm or farmhouse with outbuildings
    What tell’st thou me of robbing?
    This is Venice. My house is not a grange.
  12. profane
    grossly irreverent toward what is held to be sacred
    What profane wretch art thou?
  13. lascivious
    driven by lust
    But I beseech you,
    If ’t be your pleasure and most wise consent—
    As partly I find it is—that your fair daughter,
    At this odd-even and dull watch o’ th’ night,
    Transported with no worse nor better guard
    But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
    To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor:
    If this be known to you, and your allowance,
    We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs.
  14. saucy
    improperly forward or bold
    But I beseech you,
    If ’t be your pleasure and most wise consent—
    As partly I find it is—that your fair daughter,
    At this odd-even and dull watch o’ th’ night,
    Transported with no worse nor better guard
    But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
    To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor:
    If this be known to you, and your allowance,
    We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs.
  15. delude
    be dishonest with
    If she be in her chamber or your house,
    Let loose on me the justice of the state
    For thus deluding you.
  16. taper
    stick of wax with a wick in the middle
    Strike on the tinder, ho!
    Give me a taper.
  17. gall
    irritate or vex
    For I do know the state,
    However this may gall him with some check,
    Cannot with safety cast him, for he’s embarked
    With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
    Which even now stands in act, that, for their souls,
    Another of his fathom they have none
    To lead their business.
  18. apprehend
    take into police custody
    Do you know
    Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
  19. contrived
    showing effects of planning or manipulation
    Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
    Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ th’ conscience
    To do no contrived murder.
  20. iniquity
    absence of moral or spiritual values
    I lack iniquity
    Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times
    I had thought t’ have yerked him here under the ribs.
  21. prate
    speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
    Nay, but he prated
    And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
    Against your Honor,
    That with the little godliness I have
    I did full hard forbear him.
  22. scurvy
    of the most contemptible kind
    Nay, but he prated
    And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
    Against your Honor,
    That with the little godliness I have
    I did full hard forbear him.
  23. promulgate
    state or announce
    ’Tis yet to know
    (Which, when I know that boasting is an honor,
    I shall promulgate) I fetch my life and being
    From men of royal siege, and my demerits
    May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
    As this that I have reached.
  24. manifest
    provide evidence for
    Not I. I must be found.
    My parts, my title, and my perfect soul
    Shall manifest me rightly.
  25. galley
    a crescent-shaped seagoing vessel propelled by oars
    The galleys
    Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
    This very night at one another’s heels,
    And many of the Consuls, raised and met,
    Are at the Duke’s already.
  26. incur
    make oneself subject to
    For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,
    [If she in chains of magic were not bound,]
    Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy,
    So opposite to marriage that she shunned
    The wealthy curlèd ⟨darlings⟩ of our nation,
    Would ever have, t’ incur a general mock,
    Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
    Of such a thing as thou—to fear, not to delight!
  27. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense
    That thou hast practiced on her with foul charms,
    Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
    That weakens motion. I’ll have ’t disputed on.
    ’Tis probable, and palpable to thinking.
  28. assay
    an appraisal of the state of affairs
    This cannot be,
    By no assay of reason. ’Tis a pageant
    To keep us in false gaze.
  29. facile
    performing adroitly and without effort
    When we consider
    Th’ importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
    And let ourselves again but understand
    That, as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,
    So may he with more facile question bear it
  30. mountebank
    a flamboyant deceiver
    She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted
    By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
    For nature so prepost’rously to err—
    Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense—
    Sans witchcraft could not.
  31. vouch
    give personal assurance; guarantee
    I therefore vouch again
    That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,
    Or with some dram conjured to this effect,
    He wrought upon her.
  32. insolent
    marked by casual disrespect
    I ran it through, even from my boyish days
    To th’ very moment that he bade me tell it,
    Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances:
    Of moving accidents by flood and field,
    Of hairbreadth ’scapes i’ th’ imminent deadly breach,
    Of being taken by the insolent foe
    And sold to slavery...
  33. discourse
    an extended communication dealing with some particular topic
    But still the house affairs would draw her ⟨thence,⟩
    Which ever as she could with haste dispatch
    She’d come again, and with a greedy ear
    Devour up my discourse.
  34. hitherto
    up to this point; until the present time
    I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband.
  35. equivocal
    open to two or more interpretations
    These sentences to sugar or to gall,
    Being strong on both sides, are equivocal.
    But words are words.
  36. boisterous
    violently agitated and turbulent
    The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes
    for Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is
    best known to you. And though we have there a
    substitute of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a
    sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer
    voice on you. You must therefore be content to
    slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this
    more stubborn and boist’rous expedition.
  37. alacrity
    liveliness and eagerness
    I do agnize
    A natural and prompt alacrity
    I find in hardness, and do undertake
    This present war against the Ottomites.
  38. consecrate
    give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause
    I saw Othello’s visage in his mind,
    And to his honors and his valiant parts
    Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
  39. defunct
    no longer in force or use; inactive
    Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not
    To please the palate of my appetite,
    Nor to comply with heat (the young affects
    In me defunct) and proper satisfaction,
    But to be free and bounteous to her mind.
  40. taint
    place under suspicion or cast doubt upon
    No, when light-winged toys
    Of feathered Cupid seel with wanton dullness
    My speculative and officed instruments,
    That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
    Let housewives make a skillet of my helm,
    And all indign and base adversities
    Make head against my estimation.
Created on February 21, 2013 (updated May 26, 2022)

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