"The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark" by William Shakespeare, Act V

Shakespeare's famous tragedy tells the story of a Danish prince who must decide whether or not to avenge his father's death. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the play: Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV, Act V
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definitions & notes only words
  1. heathen
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?
  2. mason
    a craftsman who works with stone or brick
    What is he that builds stronger than either the
    mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
  3. gallows
    an instrument from which a person is executed by hanging
    I like thy wit well, in good faith: the gallows does well; but how does it well? it does well to those that do in: now thou dost ill to say the gallows is built stronger than the church: argal, the gallows may do well to thee.
  4. circumvent
    beat through cleverness and wit
    It might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'er-reaches; one that would circumvent God, might it not?
  5. indenture
    formal agreement as to terms of a debt
    This fellow might be in 's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries: is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures?
  6. equivocation
    intentional vagueness or ambiguity
    How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.
  7. flagon
    a large metal or pottery vessel with a handle and spout
    A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! a' poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once.
  8. abhor
    find repugnant
    Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!
  9. gibe
    an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile
    Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?
  10. loam
    a rich soil consisting of sand, clay and organic materials
    Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
  11. imperious
    having or showing arrogant superiority
    Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
    Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
    O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
    Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
  12. betoken
    be a signal for or a symptom of
    The queen, the courtiers: who is this they follow?
    And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken
    The corse they follow did with desperate hand
    Fordo its own life
  13. requiem
    a song or hymn of mourning as a memorial to a dead person
    We should profane the service of the dead
    To sing a requiem and such rest to her
    As to peace-parted souls.
  14. churlish
    having a bad disposition; surly
    I tell thee, churlish priest,
    A ministering angel shall my sister be,
    When thou liest howling.
  15. asunder
    widely separated especially in space
    Pluck them asunder.
  16. pall
    lose strength or effectiveness
    Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
    When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
    There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will,—
  17. yeoman
    a free man who cultivates his own land
    I once did hold it, as our statists do,
    A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
    How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
    It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
    The effect of what I wrote?
  18. tributary
    paying money, as for protection
    An earnest conjuration from the king,
    As England was his faithful tributary,
    As love between them like the palm might flourish,
    As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
    And stand a comma 'tween their amities
  19. amity
    a state of friendship and cordiality
    An earnest conjuration from the king,
    As England was his faithful tributary,
    As love between them like the palm might flourish,
    As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
    And stand a comma 'tween their amities
  20. insinuation
    an indirect (and usually malicious) implication
    Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
    They are not near my conscience; their defeat
    Does by their own insinuation grow:
    'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
    Between the pass and fell-incensed points
    Of mighty opposites.
  21. sultry
    characterized by oppressive heat and humidity
    But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
  22. perdition
    the place or state in which one suffers eternal punishment
    Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you; though, I know, to divide him inventorially would dizzy the arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw neither, in respect of his quick sail.
  23. verity
    conformity to reality or actuality
    But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article...
  24. infallible
    incapable of failure or error
    Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
  25. imputation
    a statement attributing something dishonest
    I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
  26. poniard
    a dagger with a slender blade
    The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses: against the which he has imponed, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards...
  27. edify
    make understand
    I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.
  28. germane
    relevant and appropriate
    The phrase would be more germane to the matter, if we could carry cannon by our sides: I would it might be hangers till then.
  29. bevy
    a large gathering of people of a particular type
    Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy that I know the dressy age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
  30. dote
    shower with love; show excessive affection for
    Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy that I know the dressy age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
  31. winnow
    select desirable parts from a group or list
    Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy that I know the dressy age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
  32. augury
    an event indicating important things to come
    Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
  33. ordnance
    large but transportable armament
    Set me the stoops of wine upon that table.
    If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
    Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
    Let all the battlements their ordnance fire
  34. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    A hit, a very palpable hit.
  35. carouse
    engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking
    The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
  36. felicity
    state of well-being characterized by contentment
    If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
    Absent thee from felicity awhile,
    And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
    To tell my story.
  37. quarry
    animal hunted or caught for food
    This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
    That thou so many princes at a shot
    So bloodily hast struck?
  38. havoc
    violent and needless disturbance
    This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
    That thou so many princes at a shot
    So bloodily hast struck?
  39. carnal
    of or relating to the body or flesh
    And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
    How these things came about: so shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
    Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
    Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause
  40. upshot
    a phenomenon that is caused by some previous phenomenon
    And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
    Fall'n on the inventors' heads: all this can I
    Truly deliver.

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