SKIP TO CONTENT

Othello: Act 2

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
45 words 9,967 learners

Learn words with Flashcards and other activities

Full list of words from this list:

  1. descry
    catch sight of
    MONTANO: What from the cape can you discern at sea?
    FIRST GENTLEMAN: Nothing at all. It is a high-wrought flood.
    I cannot ’twixt the heaven and the main
    Descry a sail.
  2. billow
    a large sea wave
    A segregation of the Turkish fleet.
    For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
    The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds,
    The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,
    Seems to cast water on the burning Bear
    And quench the guards of th’ ever-fixèd pole.
  3. chafe
    feel extreme irritation or anger
    I never did like molestation view
    On the enchafèd flood.
  4. surfeit
    supply or feed to excess
    His bark is stoutly timbered, and his pilot
    Of very expert and approved allowance;
    Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
    Stand in bold cure.
  5. tidings
    information about recent and important events
    DESDEMONA: I thank you, valiant Cassio.
    What tidings can you tell of my lord?
    CASSIO: He is not yet arrived, nor know I aught
    But that he’s well and will be shortly here.
  6. contention
    a dispute where there is strong disagreement
    The great contention of sea and skies
    Parted our fellowship.
  7. citadel
    a stronghold for shelter during a battle
    They give their greeting to the citadel.
    This likewise is a friend.
  8. paradox
    a statement that contradicts itself
    These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’ th’ alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for her that’s foul and foolish?
  9. nigh
    not far distant in time or space or degree or circumstances
    She that was ever fair and never proud,
    Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
    Never lacked gold and yet went never gay,
    Fled from her wish, and yet said “Now I may,”
    She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,
    Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly
    She that in wisdom never was so frail
    To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail,
    She that could think and ne’er disclose her mind,
    See suitors following and not look behind,
    She was a wight, if ever such wight were—
  10. impotent
    lacking power or ability
    O, most lame and impotent conclusion!
  11. apt
    being of striking appropriateness and relevance
    If such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt to play the sir in.
  12. prattle
    speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
    O, my sweet,
    I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
    In mine own comforts.—I prithee, good Iago,
    Go to the bay and disembark my coffers.
  13. coffer
    a chest especially for storing valuables
    O, my sweet,
    I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
    In mine own comforts.—I prithee, good Iago,
    Go to the bay and disembark my coffers.
  14. discreet
    marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint
    Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies. And will she love him still for prating? Let not thy discreet heart think it.
  15. satiety
    being satisfactorily full and unable to take on more
    When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be, again to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favor, sympathy in years, manners, and beauties, all which the Moor is defective in.
  16. eminent
    standing above others in quality or position
    Now, sir, this granted—as it is a most pregnant and unforced position—who stands so eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does? A knave very voluble, no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection.
  17. knave
    a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
    Now, sir, this granted—as it is a most pregnant and unforced position—who stands so eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does? A knave very voluble, no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection.
  18. voluble
    marked by a ready flow of speech
    Now, sir, this granted—as it is a most pregnant and unforced position—who stands so eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does? A knave very voluble, no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection.
  19. counterfeit
    make a copy of with the intent to deceive
    A slipper and subtle knave, a finder-out of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never present itself; a devilish knave!
  20. requisite
    anything indispensable
    Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after.
  21. pestilent
    exceedingly harmful
    A pestilent complete knave, and the woman hath found him already.
  22. marshal
    lead ceremoniously, as in a procession
    They met so near with their lips that their breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! When these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, th’ incorporate conclusion.
  23. impediment
    something immaterial that interferes with action or progress
    So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I shall then have to prefer them, and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.
  24. egregious
    conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible
    Which thing to do,
    If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
    For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
    I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
    Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb
    (For I fear Cassio with my nightcap too),
    Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me
    For making him egregiously an ass
    And practicing upon his peace and quiet
    Even to madness.
  25. herald
    a person who announces important news
    Enter Othello’s Herald with a proclamation.

    HERALD: It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that upon certain tidings now arrived, importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet,
    every man put himself into triumph: some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addition leads him.
  26. revel
    unrestrained merrymaking
    Enter Othello’s Herald with a proclamation.

    HERALD: It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that upon certain tidings now arrived, importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet,
    every man put himself into triumph: some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addition leads him.
  27. notwithstanding
    despite anything to the contrary
    Iago hath direction what to do,
    But notwithstanding, with my personal eye
    Will I look to ’t.
  28. parley
    a negotiation between enemies
    What an eye she has! Methinks it sounds a parley to provocation.
  29. infirmity
    the state of being weak in health or body
    I am unfortunate in the infirmity and dare not task my weakness with any more.
  30. wary
    marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
    Three else of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits
    That hold their honors in a wary distance,
    The very elements of this warlike isle,
    Have I tonight flustered with flowing cups;
    And they watch too.
  31. hark
    listen; used mostly in the imperative
    I do love Cassio well and would do much
    To cure him of this evil—“Help, help!” within.
    But hark! What noise?
  32. rogue
    a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
    Zounds, you rogue, you rascal!
  33. divest
    remove clothes
    Friends all but now, even now,
    In quarter and in terms like bride and groom
    Divesting them for bed; and then but now,
    As if some planet had unwitted men,
    Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,
    In opposition bloody.
  34. amiss
    in an improper or mistaken manner
    Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger.
    Your officer Iago can inform you,
    While I spare speech, which something now offends me,
    Of all that I do know; nor know I aught
    By me that’s said or done amiss this night,
    Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
    And to defend ourselves it be a sin
    When violence assails us.
  35. assail
    attack someone physically or emotionally
    Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger.
    Your officer Iago can inform you,
    While I spare speech, which something now offends me,
    Of all that I do know; nor know I aught
    By me that’s said or done amiss this night,
    Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
    And to defend ourselves it be a sin
    When violence assails us.
  36. entreat
    ask for or request earnestly
    Sir, this gentleman
    [Pointing to Montano.]
    Steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause.
  37. mince
    make less severe or harsh
    I know, Iago,
    Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
    Making it light to Cassio.
  38. befall
    happen or be the case in the course of events or by chance
    Come, you are too severe a moraler. As the time, the place, and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had not so befallen. But since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
  39. inordinate
    beyond normal limits
    Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be
    now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O, strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil.
  40. importune
    beg persistently and urgently
    Confess yourself freely to her. Importune her help to put you in your place again. She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested.
  41. beseech
    ask for or request earnestly
    I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me. I am desperate of my fortunes if they check
    me here.
  42. renounce
    cast off
    And then for her
    To win the Moor—were ’t to renounce his baptism,
    All seals and symbols of redeemèd sin—
    His soul is so enfettered to her love
    That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
    Even as her appetite shall play the god
    With his weak function.
  43. enmesh
    entangle in or as if in a net
    So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
    And out of her own goodness make the net
    That shall enmesh them all.
  44. cudgel
    strike with a club that is used as a weapon
    My money is almost spent, I have been tonight exceedingly well cudgeled, and I think the issue will be I shall have so much experience for my pains, and so, with no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.
  45. dilatory
    wasting time
    How poor are they that have not patience!
    What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
    Thou know’st we work by wit and not by witchcraft,
    And wit depends on dilatory time.
Created on February 21, 2013 (updated May 27, 2022)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, Vocabulary.com can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.