A growing assortment of words and definitions used in the Early Modern era. See the Guide for more information.
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An unexpected blow after one has ceased to be on guard, a further disaster when it seems life can bring no more, a misfortune that 'caps the climax.' Used from the 15th century. Samuel Butler in HUDIBRAS (1663) knows the unrelenting drive: What plaguy mischiefs and mishaps Do dog him still with afterclaps.


A potion prepared from the thorn-apple, employed to produce stupefaction. Also deutery, doutry, dutra, deutroa, dutry; varied from datura; Sanskrit dhattura, the name of the plant (Datura Stramonium) . Its powers were thought similar to those of the nightshade. Samuel Butler in HUDIBRAS (1678) wrote: Make lechers and their punks, with dewtry, commit phantastical advowtry. Fryer (1698) pictures the Indian practice of widow-burning (suttee): They give her dutry; when half mad she throws herself into the fire, and they ready with great logs keep her in his funeral pile. On the other hand, said Ken in HYMNOTHEO (1700) : Indian dames, their consorts to abuse, Dewtry by stealth into their cups infuse.


An herb, a variety of nightshade (cp.dwale), supposed to induce madness. The name is from Greek mania, madness; mainesthai, to be insane. Thus Samuel Butler In HUBIBRAS (1678): Bewitch hermetick-mem to run Stark staring mad with manicon.


Unfermented or partly fermented grape-juice, must. Also stoom. From Dutch stom, dumb. The Germans call wine that has become flat stummer Wein; the French use the phrase vin muet for stum. Stum was often used, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, for renewing vapid wines; hence, stum was applied to wine thus freshened, as by Samuel Butler in HUDIBRAS (1664): I'll carve your name on barks of trees . . . Drink every letter on't in stum, And make it brisk champagne become. Shadwell in THE SQUIRE OF ALSATIA (1688) asked: Is not rich generous wine better than hedgewine stummed? And in THE TRUE WIDOW (1679) Shadwell used the word figuratively: 'Tis the stum of love that makes it fret and fume.


A wild duck; hence, a fool, a simpleton. Also wigeon. So used in the 17th and 18th centuries, as by Samuel Butler in the wordplayful HUDIBRAS (1663); Th' apostles of this fierce religion, Like Mahomet's, were ass and widgeon. The goose, the gull, and the coney (rabbit) have also been slandered in this fashion.
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