A growing assortment of words and definitions used in the Early Modern era. See the Guide for more information.
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A young, thoughtless person; a coxcomb. Also earling. Ben Jonson in CATILINE (1611) says: Some more there be, slight airlings, will be won With dogs and horses.


A dance; also, the music therefor. References in the 17th century and later speak of a slow tempo, and grave or solemn measures, but many references indicate a livelier dance, also called the almain-leap. Thus Ben Jonson in THE DEVIL IS AN ASS pictures a man take his almain-leap into a custard. Also almaun, alman, almane, aleman, almond. The word literally meant German (French aleman, allemand); Almany, Germany, and an Aleman was a German, almain-quarrel, a dispute over nothing, an unnecessary argument, almain-rivets, a flexible type of light armor, first worn in Germany.


To smile at; to please. From Latin arridere, ad, at + I, to laugh, whence also risible. Mainly in the 17th and 18th century, Ben Jonson in EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR (1599) has: 'Fore Heavens, his humour arrides me exceedingly. Charles Lamb in ESSAYS OF ELIA (1823): That conceit arrided us most . . . and still tickles our midriff to remember. The adjective arrident (accent on the long i) occurs, but rarely, meaning smiling, pleasant; Thomas Adams wrote, in 1616, of a pleasing murderer, that with arrident applauses tickles a man to death.


A shy maiden; a modest girl (literally, little blusher). Ben Jonson in THE STAPLE OF NEWS (1625) Though mistress Band would speak, or little blushet Wax be ne'er so easy. Ben Jonson, who likes the word (and why not?) seems to be the only one who has used it.


The earliest type of cannon. Also bumbard, boumbard. It was introduced in the late 14th century, but did not prove effective. It was usually loaded with a stone, weighing sometimes 200 pounds. Also, from the shape, a leather jug for liquor; hence, a heavy drinker (17th century) . Also, from the sound, a deep-toned wooden musical instrument, like a bassoon; bombardo. A bombardman was a pot-boy, bartender; a bombard-phrase was a loud-sounding utterance, inflated language. Shakespeare mentions the drinking jug in THE TEMPEST and in HENRY IV, PART ONE (1596) : that huge bombard of sacke. Thomas Heywood in PHILOCOTHONISTA, OR THE DRUNKARD OPENED, DISSECTED AND ANATOMIZED (1635) spoke of the great black jacks and bombards at the Court, which, when the Frenchmen first saw, they reported . . . that the Englishmen used to drink out of their bootes. (Champagne from milady's slipper?) Ben Jonson in his translation (1640) of Horace's THE ART OF POETRY said: They . . . must throw by Their bombard phrase, and foot and half-foot words. Also cp. sesquipedalian.


A close friend. In Tudor times, cousin was used by close friends, without blood relationship; in AS YOU LIKE IT William Shakespeare has Rosalind and Celia say, Sweet my coz. Ben Jonson suggests that cater-cousin meant quarter-cousin, "from the ridiculousness of calling cousin or relation to so remote a degree," but there is no ridicule intended, in the use of the word. It may be from cater, to care for, to feed, cater-cousins being those that have eaten together, as companions means those that have broken bread together. Shakespeare used the expression in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (1596) : His maister and he (saving your worships reverence) are scarce catercosins; and writers since have followed him.


A variety of apple, somewhat tapering; especially, a variety that could be cooked while still unripe. Hence, a raw youth, as when in THE ALCHEMIST (1610) Ben Jonson hails the arrival of a fine young quodling. Also codlin, querdlyng, codlyng, quadling, and more. William Shakespeare in TWELFTH NIGHT (1601) similifies: As a squash is before tis a pescod, or a codling when tis almost an apple. Hot codlings were roasted apples, sold in the London streets from the 17th century. A folk song of 1825 ran: A little old woman, her living she got, By selling hot codlings, hot, hot, hot. By 23 February, 1881, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH lamented: Hot codlings may now be sought for in vain. The word codling may have come from coddle, one meaning of which was to cook (we still have coddled eggs, cooked gently; but coddled pease were roasted; and hot codlings may also have meant roasted peas). Codling also may mean a small cod (fish); also, the scrotum; cp. codpiece. Josuah Sylvester, in his translation (1605) of Du Bartas, wrote of The wise beaver who, pursu'd by foes, Tears off his codlings, and among them throwes.


A fool, a simpleton. A frequent term in the 16th and 17th centuries. Also coaks, coax, coxe. The origin is unknown, though the creature is still familiar. The word survives in the verb to coax, which originally meant to make a cokes of, to fool. Ben Jonson In THE DEVIL IS AN ASS (1616) wrote: Why, we will make a cokes of thee, wise master; we will, my mistress, an absolute fine cokes. Samuel Johnson in 1755 called coax "a low word "; it has become gentler if not more genteel.


A person with whom one copes; an adversary. Hence, a love partner, paramour. Hence, a partner or colleague; a partner in marriage, spouse; by extension, a confederate (cheat) at cards or other gaming; more vaguely, often with contempt, a fellow. Also copemate; cp. copeman. Lisle in his translation (1625) of Du Bartas: Fooles, idiots, jesters, anticks, and such copesmates as of naughtworth are suddenly start up. Ben Jonson, in EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR (1598) : O, this is the female copesmate of my son. William Shakespeare in THE RAPE OF LUCRECE (1593) : Mis-shapen Time, copesmate of ugly Night . . . eater of youth, false slave to false delight, Base watch of woes, sin's packhorse, virtue's snare.


A deep, shady dell, a dingle, q.v. Frequent in 16th and 17th century verse. Ben Jonson in THE SAD SHEPHERD (1637) says: Within a gloomy dimble she doth dwell, Downe in a pitt, ore-grown with brakes and briars. For another instance, see slade.


Nightmare; a demon that leaps upon people and causes nightmare. A 17th century term, probably from Greek epi, upon + allesthai, to leap. A demon in female form, supposedly having carnal intercourse with men in their sleep, was a succubus; from Latin sub, under + cub-, root of cumbere, to lie. In the feminine forms succube (two syllables) and succuba, the word also meant a strumpet; Ben Jonson in THE ALCHEMIST (1610) has: I walked naked between my succubae. The forms were quite common from the 14th century. C.K. Sharpe in the Preface to Law's MEMORIALS (1818) tells us that Benedict of Berne for forty years . . . had kept up an amatory commerce with a succubus called Hermeline. This, despite the fact that in 1797 the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA had assured its readers: The truth is, the succubus is only a species of the nightmare. Thomas Foster Barham in THE INGOLDSBY LEGENDS (1838) cries: Oh! happy the slip from his succubine grip That saved the Lord Abbott. The demon that sought carnal intercourse with women in their sleep was the incubus; Latin in, upon + cumbere, to lie. There were civil and ecclesiastical laws concerning incubi, in the Middle Ages. The incubus also consorted with witches, who had a pet term for it, incuby. In the 17th century, incubus began also to be used of any great burden, hanging on one like a nightmare. A miser, brooding over his wealth, was called (17th century) an incubo. From the same Latin source come the brooding terms relating to incubation. One possessed by an ephialtes was sometimes said to have gone witch-riding.


Beans; kidney beans. From the Italian. Ben Jonson in CYNTHIA'S REVELS (1600) says: He doth learn to make strange sauces, to eat anchovies, macaroni, bovoli, fagioli, caviare. Bovoli are periwinkles, snails.


A corruption of fay, faith, used in exclamations and as a mild form of swearing. Also i'fegs, q.v. Sometimes in forms with -kin, a diminutive (as in odds bodkins, a corrupt euphemism for God's bodykin) . Many variants have been used, especially by the playwrights: Ben Jonson (1598, EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR) : By my fackins! (1610, THE ALCHEMIST) : How! Swear by your fac? Thomas Heywood (1600, EDWARD I, PART ONE) : No, by my feckins! Thomas Middleton: By my facks, sir! John Vanbrugh: No, by good feggings. Also faiks, faix, fecks, fags. These forms led to confusion with faex, fex, dregs, excrement (Latin faex, faecem; the plural of which, faeces, is the form that has survived in English), faeces, feces, which may also have been in the minds of the playwrights.


Raging with fury. Also furybound, furebund. Ben Jonson in THE POETASTER (1601) includes furibund in a list of inkhorn words; Thomas Carlyle in THE FRENCH REVOLUTION (1837) speaks of a waste energy as of Hercules not yet furibund.


Used in the 14th century as a noun, meaning chatter; then and into the 18th century as a verb, meaning to talk deceitfully, to flatter. Also glavir; cp. glother. To glaver on was to lavish blandishments on. Hence glavery, flattery. Ben Jonson in THE POETASTER (1601) says: Give him warning, admonition, to forsake his saucy glavering grace.


A token of good luck; specifically, a gift as a token of good wishes for the New Year or a new occupation, a marriage, the first sale of the day, and the like. Probably in origin 'a giving of the hands,' a handshake, or a gift in the hand. Also hancel, hansel. By extension, the first sum received (on a new day, or as a first instalment); hence, the first trial or experience or specimen of a thing usually with hope or sense of good luck. Bring him a six-penny bottle of ale, Ben Jonson has in BARTHOLOMEW'S FAIR (1614); they say a fool's handsell is lucky.


In addition to its still current uses (noun: the female of the deer; adjective, posterior, as the hind quarters), hind, earlier hine, meant a servant, especially a farm servant; hence, a rustic, a boor. Shakespeare uses all senses of the noun. In AS YOU LIKE IT (1600) Touchstone proves he can ring the rhymes on Rosalind -- For a taste: If a hart do lack a hind, Let him seek out Rosalind; servant in the same play and MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR; rustic in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST and HENRY IV, PART ONE. The use as rustic also occurs In John Milton (1645) and Ben Jonson, who in EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR (1599) protests: Why should such a prick-ear'd hine as this, Be rich?


In faith. By my faith. See fegs. A favorite oath of 17th and 18th century playwrights. Also (Ben Jonson, 1610) i' fac; (Fletcher, 1625) i' fex; (William Wycherley, 1673) y' facks; (Steele, 1709) i'fackins. Henry Fielding (1742) and others omit the apostrophe: ifags; ifacks; William Congreve uses it as a statement, in THE OLD BACHELOR (1687) : Nay, dear Cocky, don't cry; I was but in jest, I was not ifeck. Also (Wycherley, 1672) i'fads.


Delicate, pretty, choice. The word was popular, especially among playwrights (Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton, Ben Jonson) around 1600. Shakespeare used it twice in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST (1588) : My sweet ounce of man's flesh, my inconie Jew . . . most sweet jests, most inconie vulgar wit. There are several guesses as to its origin; it may be a corruption of French inconnu, unknown, hence rare, hence choice.


A noisy game formerly played at Christmas: each player in turn must leave his seat, which another takes. Played in the 16th and 17th centuries; later called Going to Jerusalem (the route was crowded; Mary had to seek shelter in a stall) . From French (faire) lever le cult to make (someone) lift his buttock. Later, in the interest of decent speech, the game was called level-sice, levell-suse; French assise, seat; as Sylvester in his translation (1608) of Du Bartas wrote: Ambitious hearts do play at level sice. The word came to be used generally: to keep level-coil, to engage in noisy sport or noisy activity or riot. Also, as an adverb, alternately, each in turn, Thomas Nashe, in THE UNFORTUNATE TRAVELER (1594) : The next daie they had solempne disputations, where Luther and Carolostadius scolded levell-coyle. Ben Jonson, in A TALE OF A TUB (1655) : Young Justice Bramble has kept level-coyl Here in our quarters, stole away our daughter.


Stale urine, used by barbers (15th to 18th century) as a hair wash, etc, Latin lavare, lautum, lotum, to wash, whence also the current form, lotion. Cp. lant. In Ben Jonson's THE SILENT WOMAN (1609), heaping execrations upon a barber, Morose says: Let him be glad to eat his sponge for bread; Truewit adds: And drink lotium to it.


Full of light, shining; brilliant; lucid. Thus Thomson in THE SEASONS: WINTER (1746) : Luculent along the purer rivers flow. Ben Jonson in EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR (1599) speaks of a most debonaire, most luculent ladie. Also lucid; lucent, shining, luminous, but also translucent, dear, as in John Keats' EVE OF ST. AGNES (1820): lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon. Latin lux, lucem, light. Cp. crepuscular. Lucific, producing light; lucifugous (accent on the sif), shunning the light; lucigenous, begotten or born in the daytime.


To dress up (inferior wares) for sale; also, to deal in slaves. Latin mango, mangonem, a furbisher; a monger, a siavedealer; from the root mac-, mag-, big; to magnify. The English monger and its compounds stem from mango. Hence mangony, mangonism, the art, craft, or practice of furbishing things for sale; also (17th and 18th centuries), the treatment of plants so as to produce changes and new varieties, A mangonist, one that dresses up wares for sale. Used by the 17th century dramatists (John Marston; Ben Jonson).


(1) An early name for the bird, the martin, q.v., being its diminutive form. (2) The demon whose function it was to summon (and to dismiss) assemblies of witches. Noted by Ben Jonson in THE MASQUE OF QUEENS (1609). (3) A military engine, for hurling large stones. (4) A system of military drill, devised by General Martinet, of the army of the French King Louis XIV. Hence, the current sense, a strict disciplinarian, a stickler for form.


A bowl, a drinking cup; originally, one made of hard wood. Also, mazzard; mazer. Old High German masar, an excrescence of hardwood; a large knob (or knot) on a tree; later, a maple tree, a drinking cup of such wood. Both forms were used, by extension (from the shape) to mean the head; by William Shakespeare in OTHELLO (II iii) and in HAMLET (1602), of the skull: Chapless, and knockt about the mazard with a sextons spade. Ben Jonson in one of his court masques (1620) said, If I had not been a spirit, I had been mazarded.


The Roman god (Greek Hermes) of traders and thieves, of eloquence and feats of skill; presider over roads; guide of the dead to their new abode; messenger of the gods, and mischiefmaker. Pictured as a young man with winged sandals and hat, holding the caduceus. Hence mercury, a signpost; also, a newspaper; a messenger, a bearer of news (William Shakespeare, RICHARD III, II i; 1594); a go-between, especially, in amatory instances (Shakespeare, THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, II ii). Also a nimble live-by-his-wits; a dexterous thief (Ben Jonson, EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR, I ii; 1599). The planet nearest the sun. Cp. Diana. And used as an emblem of liveliness, wittiness, or inconstancy; wit. William Congreve in THE OLD BACHELOR (1693) said he was as able as yourself and as nimble too, though I mayn't have so much mercury in my limbs (probably with reference also to the element mercury, quicksilver, named after the volatile god). Horace Walpole in GEORGE II (1797) said: He had too much mercury and too little ill-nature to continue a periodical war.


One inclined to put the least possible faith in something, such as tales of flying saucers. Sometimes contracted to minifidian. Both forms may also be used as adjectives, Also minimifidianism, coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in AIDS TO REFLECTION (1825). Lady Bloomfield's supernatural stories, reported THE SPECTATOR (2 December, 1882) are not of a kind to challenge the scutiny of a minimifidian in pneumatology. Pneumatology (Greek pneuma, breath, air, spirit) was the science or theory of spirits. In the 17th century it was in the division of Special Metaphysics, which dealt with God, angels, demons, and the human soul -- in its study of the last of these, it was the early term for psychology. Hence also pneumatological, pneumatologist. Cp. pneumo-. Ben Jonson in his comments (1765) on Shakespeare's HAMLET observed: According to the pneumatology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits.


Madly; as influenced by the moon. An English development like lunatic; Latin luna, the moon. Also moonling, a fool. (Ben Jonson, THE DEVIL IS AN ASS; 1616). Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker in THE ROARING GIRL (1611) declare: The man talks monthly . . I see hee'l be starke mad at our next meeting.


A simpleton. In Ben Jonson's THE DEVIL IS AN ASS (1616) : I have a husband . . . But such a moonling, as no wit of man Or roses can redeeme from being an asse. In spite of this scorn, moonling is a soft word for a witless one. Note that a moon-man (William Shakespeare, HENRY IV, PART ONE, 1597) is one that works by night; especially, a nightpad, robber.


(1) Mulberry color; a mulberrycolored cloth. Latin morum, mulberry; cp muricide. Such a cloth, from its popularity, then its cheapness, became a term of contempt for a woman, as in Thomas Middleton's MICHAELMAS TERME (1602) I'll take no notice of her -- scurvy murrey kersey. Ben Jonson, in EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR (1599) says: I had on a gold cable hatband . . . which I wore about a murrey French hat. (2) A stew of veal, prepared with mulberries. A 15th century dish, before the English lost the art of cooking: Take molberys and wryng a gode hepe of them through a cloth; nym vele . . .


A nostril. Usually in the plural; from the 14th century, but mainly in 17th century verse, as In Ben Jonson's EPIGRAMS (1616) and Samuel Butler's HUDIBRAS (1616): There is a Machiavilian plot, Though every nare olfact it not.


A promontory, a cape (of land). Also naes, nesse, naisse; nase; related to nose, nese. From the 12th century to the 17th, later in Scotland, nese was used for nose; in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was also used for a headland. Also nese-end, tip of the nose; neselong, face downwards (i.e., the length of the nose) ; to nese, in the 17th century -- Ben Jonson, THE SAD SHEPHERD, 1637-- to smell. BEOWULF has naess; Morris in THE EARTHLY PARADISE (1868) says: We stood Somewhat off shore to fetch about a ness.


A variant of newt; an ewt; eft. Edmund Spenser in THE FAERIE QUEENE (1590) uses ewftes. What! exclaims Ben Jonson in BARTHOLOMEW FAIR (1614) , Thou'lt poyson mee with a neuft in a bottle of ale, will't thou?


An effeminate fellow. Probably a humorous or contemptuous elongation of nymph. Ben Jonson in EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR (1599) queries: What brisk nimfadoro is that in the whit virgin boot there?


As a noun, in special senses: (1) rumor; especially evil report, slander, scandal. Hence, reputation. A Towneley Mystery of 1460 said: Thou has an yll noys of stelyng of shepe. Occasionally, high, repute, note, making a noise in the world. (2) An agreeable or melodious sound. Thus from Chaucer (1366) to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, THE ANCIENT MARINER (1798): It ceased; yet still the sails made on A pleasant noise till noon, A noise like of a hidden brook. (3) A company (of musicians). This was a frequent 16th and 17th century use; Ben Jonson in THE SILENT WOMAN (1609): The smell of the venison, going through the street, will invite one noyse of fidlers, or other. In Thomas Deloney's JACKE OF NEWBERIE (1597): They had not sitten long, but in comes a noise of musitians in tawny coates, who (putting off their caps) asked if they would have any musicke. The widow answered no, they were merry enough. "Tut" quoth the old man, "let us heare, good fellowes, what you can doe, and play mee The Beginning of the World" "Alas" quoth the Widow, "you had more need to hearken to the ending of the world." "Why, Widow" quoth hee, "I tell thee the beginning of the world was the begetting of children, and if you finde mee faulty in that occupation, tume mee out of thy bed for a bungler." Although it is perhaps the most popular in actual use, a noise of musicians is one of the large series of "nouns of assemblage" originally humorous or ironic in intent, such as a gaggle of gossips, a frown of critics, a prowl of proctors, a dampness of babies, a charm of fairies, a duty of husbands, a questionnaire of wives -- many of which are gathered (s.v. Sports Technicalities) in Eric Partridge's useful USAGE AND ABUSAGE. He omits a glee (or a pest) of punsters and an obsolescence of lexicographers, but includes a galaxy of milkmaids, a gush of poets, a superiority of young people -- and (modestly enough) a covey of partridges. William Wycherley in THE PLAIN DEALER (1674) protested: I cou'd as soon suffer a whole noise of flatterers at a great man's levee.


A large Iute-like instrument, with from six to nine pairs of metal strings, played with a plectrum. Invented, the story goes, by John Rose of London about 1560, the orpharion was popular through the 17th century. Cp. cithern. Ben Jonson in THE POETASTER (1601) cries: Another Orpheus! an Arion riding on the back of a dolphin; and the name orpharion is a combination of Orpheus and Arion telescoping the two mythical musicians. Michael Drayton in his ECLOGUES (1593) said: Set the cornet with the flute, The orpharion to the lute.


An old form of pet, a darling. Also, a spoiled child; William Shakespeare in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (1596) has: A pretty peate! It is best put finger in the eye, and she knew why -- the remainer of the passage implying a cry-baby. Being very common from 1570 to 1640, the word developed other uses: as a term of scorn for a woman, especially, a proud peat. Ben Jonson in EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR (1599) described Deliro's wife and idoll, a proud mincing peat, and as perverse as he is officious. Also, a lawyer favored by a judge, referred to as his peat. Walter Scott revived this use (in REDGAUNTLET; 1824); he also used peat (THE HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN; 1818) as a term of scorn for a man. Hence peatry, peatship, the character or behavior of a peat. A peatery, however, is a place where peat (chunks of decomposed and partly carbonized vegetable matter, used for fuel -- the still current sense) is dug


An outer garment of skin dressed with the hair. Chaucer gives as a proverb (1390): After heet comethe colde, No man caste his pilchche away. Old English pylece, pelisse; see pell. Also pylche. The verb pilch meant to pick, pluck; hence, to pilfer, rob. Hence pilcher was widely used in the 17th century, as a term of abuse, as in Ben Jonson's THE POETASTER (1601): you mungrels, you curres . . . you inhumane pilchers! Pilcher was also used as a variant of pilch, and as meaning a scabbard -- this in William Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET (1592): Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears?

Rounce robble hobble

A representation of the tumult of thunder, in Richard Stanihurst's translation (1582) of the AENEIS: A clapping fyerbolt (such as oft, with rownce robel hobble, Jove to the ground clatreth). Later writers mockingly mimicked the roaring: Thomas Nashe, in Greene's MENAPHON (1589): Then did he make heavens vault to rebounde, with rounce robble hobble of ruffe raffe roaring, and thwick thwack thurlery bouncing; Ben Jonson, in THE MASQUE OF QUEENES (1616): Rouncy is over, robble is under, A flash of light and a clap of thunder.


To support, establish. Also statumination. Latin statuminem, a sup port; statuere, statutum, to set up, establish; stare, statum, to stand; whence also status, state, statue, stature, statute; institute, the constitution, and the status quo. Ben Jonson in THE NEW INN (1631) says: I will statuminate and underprop thee; If they scorn us, let us scorn them.


This common early form is a gathering of several roots and many meanings. It appears also as stund, stond, stownd, stowned, stowunde, and the like. As a noun: (1) A state of amazement; see stoun. (2) A wooden container for Small beer. In this sense, a form of stand; used in the 17th and 18th centuries. (3) A moment, a short time. From the 10th century. This and its developments represent the most frequent use. In one of his ENTERTAINMENTS (1603), Ben Jonson wrote: Now they print it on the ground With their feete in figures round, Markes that will be ever found To remember this glad stound. Hence in a stound; in many stounds. By stounds, from time to time; by turns. Oft-stounds, oftentimes. That stounds, at that moment. Hence, the propitious moment, an opportunity. THE LEGEND OF ST. KATHERiNE (1225) exclaimed: Nu is ower stunde! [Now is our chancel] But also, a bad time, a time of trial or suffering; Chaucer in ANELIDA AND ARCITE (1374) cries Alas! the harde stounde. Hence, a pang, a shock, a sudden attack or sharp pain. May Jesus, says Edmund Spenser in THE SHEPHERD'S CALENDAR (1579; MAY) keepe your corpse from the carefull stounds That in my carrion carcas abounds. Variant developments of meaning include (4) station, place, position (at a given time); Thomas Drant in his translation (1566) of Horace's SATIRES wrote: Stande still in stounde, kepe whishte (I say) whilst I do prove you mad. (5) A fierce noise, roar. (From the 17th century; Michael Drayton, Robert Burton.) Carlyle in THE FRENCH REVOLUTION (1837) says: One can fancy with what dolorous stound the noontide cannon . . . went off there. As a verb, the action of the various noun meanings: (1) To stun as with a blow, astound, stupefy. (2) To remain, stay in one place or position (13th to 15th century). (3) To cause great pain to; to give a stound or shock; to be very painful, to smart. Also, as a verbal noun, stounding; a benumbing; a delay, lingering. Stoundmeal, at intervals, from time to time; gradually; Chaucer in TROYLUS AND CRISEYDE (1374) notices this wynde that moore and moore thus stoundemele encresseth in my face.


See couth; cp. patulous. French ombrage, ombre; Latin umbra, shadow, whence also umbrageous -- seldom used now save in humor, as when the sycophantic fox stood beneath the tree's umbrageous limb to seduce the gullible raven. Hence also umbrosity (17th century), the state of being shady; umbrate, umbrous, umbrose. Umbratile meant shady, shadowlike; living in retirement, 'in the shade'; hence, not public, secret. Also umbratilous, shadowy, faint; unreal. Doughty in ARABIA DESERTA (1888): Many thus are umbratiles in the booths, and give themselves almost to a perpetual slumber. Also umbratic, shadowy; foreshadowing; secluded; umbratical, remaining in seclusion; Ben Jonson in DISCOVERIES (1636) said: So I can see whole volumes dispatch'd by the umbraticall doctors on all sides. Note that umbrageous meant not only abounding in shadow but (after the secondary sense of umbrage, from the 16th century) suspicious, quick to take offence. Thus John Donne in a sermon of 1630 declared: At the beginning some men were a little ombrageous, and startling at the name of the Fathers; and George Digby exclaimed in ELVIRA (1667): What power meer appearances have had . . to destroy, With an umbragious nature, all that love Was ever able ... To found and to establish.


A large birdcage. The 17th and 18th century term for an aviary; also, the birds therein. Also volarie, vollary, volery; Latin volare, to fly. Also used figuratively, as in Ben Jonson's THE NEW INNE (1629): She now sits penitent and solitary, Like the forsaken turtle, in the volary Of the light heart, the cage she hath abused; and in UNDERWOODS: I thought thee then our Orpheus, that wouldst try, Like him, to make the air one volary.


To whimper. A diminutive of whine. Also whinnel, whinil. Also as a noun, a whine or a whining person. Ben Jonson in THE SILENT WOMAN (1609) speaks of a whiniling dastard.
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