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Othello: Act 4

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. venial
    easily excused or forgiven
    If they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip.
  2. epilepsy
    a nervous disorder characterized by convulsions
    My lord is fall’n into an epilepsy.
    This is his second fit. He had one yesterday.
  3. fiend
    a cruel wicked and inhuman person
    O, ’tis the spite of hell, the fiend’s arch-mock,
    To lip a wanton in a secure couch
    And to suppose her chaste!
  4. anon
    (old-fashioned or informal) in a little while
    I shifted him away
    And laid good ’scuses upon your ecstasy,
    Bade him anon return and here speak with me,
    The which he promised.
  5. gibe
    an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile
    Do but encave yourself,
    And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns
    That dwell in every region of his face.
  6. spleen
    a feeling of resentful anger
    Marry, patience,
    Or I shall say you’re all in all in spleen,
    And nothing of a man.
  7. dote
    shower with love; show excessive affection for
    It is a creature
    That dotes on Cassio—as ’tis the strumpet’s plague
    To beguile many and be beguiled by one.
  8. beguile
    attract; cause to be enamored
    It is a creature
    That dotes on Cassio—as ’tis the strumpet’s plague
    To beguile many and be beguiled by one.
  9. construe
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
    As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad,
    And his unbookish jealousy must construe
    Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviors
    Quite in the wrong.
  10. wholesome
    characteristic of physical or moral well-being
    Prithee bear
    some charity to my wit! Do not think it so unwholesome.
  11. beckon
    summon with a wave, nod, or some other gesture
    Iago beckons me. Now he begins the story.
  12. thither
    to or toward that place; away from the speaker
    I was the other day talking on the sea-bank with certain Venetians, and thither comes the bauble. By this hand, she falls thus about my neck!
  13. bauble
    cheap showy jewelry or ornament
    I was the other day talking on the sea-bank with certain Venetians, and thither comes the bauble. By this hand, she falls thus about my neck!
  14. loll
    hang loosely or laxly
    So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me, so shakes and pulls me.
  15. rail
    spread negative information about
    IAGO: After her, after her!
    CASSIO: Faith, I must. She’ll rail in the streets else.
  16. fain
    in a willing manner
    Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very fain speak with you.
  17. vice
    a specific form of evildoing
    Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?
  18. plenteous
    affording an abundant supply
    O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear!
    Of so high and plenteous wit and invention!
  19. expostulate
    reason with for the purpose of dissuasion
    Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I’ll not expostulate with her lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago.
  20. breach
    a personal or social separation
    Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord
    An unkind breach, but you shall make all well.
  21. amends
    something done or paid to make up for a wrong
    My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
    Though I should swear I saw ’t. ’Tis very much.
    Make her amends. She weeps.
  22. censure
    harsh criticism or disapproval
    He’s that he is. I may not breathe my censure
    What he might be. If what he might he is not,
    I would to heaven he were.
  23. slander
    words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
    The purest of their wives
    Is foul as slander.
  24. affliction
    a cause of great suffering and distress
    Had it pleased heaven
    To try me with affliction, had they rained
    All kind of sores and shames on my bare head,
    Steeped me in poverty to the very lips,
    Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,
    I should have found in some place of my soul
    A drop of patience.
  25. garner
    assemble or get together
    But there where I have garnered up my heart,
    Where either I must live or bear no life,
    The fountain from the which my current runs
    Or else dries up—to be discarded thence,
    Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
    To knot and gender in—turn thy complexion there,
    Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin,
    Ay, there look grim as hell.
  26. cistern
    an artificial reservoir for storing liquids
    But there where I have garnered up my heart,
    Where either I must live or bear no life,
    The fountain from the which my current runs
    Or else dries up—to be discarded thence,
    Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
    To knot and gender in—turn thy complexion there,
    Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin,
    Ay, there look grim as hell.
  27. complexion
    texture and appearance of the skin of the face
    But there where I have garnered up my heart,
    Where either I must live or bear no life,
    The fountain from the which my current runs
    Or else dries up—to be discarded thence,
    Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
    To knot and gender in—turn thy complexion there,
    Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin,
    Ay, there look grim as hell.
  28. cinder
    a fragment of incombustible matter left after a fire
    O thou public commoner,
    I should make very forges of my cheeks
    That would to cinders burn up modesty,
    Did I but speak thy deeds.
  29. bawdy
    humorously vulgar
    What committed?
    Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks;
    The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
    Is hushed within the hollow mine of earth
    And will not hear ’t. What committed?
  30. cozen
    be dishonest with
    I will be hanged if some eternal villain,
    Some busy and insinuating rogue,
    Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
    Have not devised this slander.
  31. seamy
    morally degraded
    O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
    That turned your wit the seamy side without
    And made you to suspect me with the Moor.
  32. forswear
    formally reject or disavow
    If e’er my will did trespass ’gainst his love,
    Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
    Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense
    Delighted them in any other form,
    Or that I do not yet, and ever did,
    And ever will—though he do shake me off
    To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly,
    Comfort forswear me!
  33. solicitation
    an entreaty addressed to someone of superior status
    If she will return me my jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my unlawful solicitation.
  34. mettle
    the courage to carry on
    Why, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even from this instant do build on thee a better opinion than ever before.
  35. linger
    take one's time; proceed slowly
    He goes into Mauritania and takes away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be lingered here by some accident—wherein none can be so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
  36. determinate
    supplying or being a final or conclusive settlement
    He goes into Mauritania and takes away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be lingered here by some accident—wherein none can be so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
  37. shroud
    wrap in a burial garment
    If I do die before thee, prithee, shroud me
    In one of those same sheets.
  38. nether
    lower
    I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.
  39. palate
    the ability to taste, judge, and appreciate food
    Their wives have sense like them. They see, and smell,
    And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
    As husbands have.
  40. frailty
    moral weakness
    Is ’t frailty that thus errs?
    It is so too. And have not we affections,
    Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
Created on February 21, 2013 (updated June 2, 2022)

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