Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Bard Bits: Once Upon a Word


It’s been flung about how Shakespeare created around 1,700 words, some which we still use today, such as luggage, eyeball, and alligator. Unfortunately, many of the words used in Shakespeare’s time have changed meaning over time. And some of his words simply make no sense to our modern ears.

NO SENSE

auger-hole: tiny spot

bension: blessing

bodements: omens

bruited: reported

clept: called

coign: corner

corporal agent: muscle

foison: plenty

hilding: nasty beast or wretch

incarnadine: turn red

Jill: maid, drinking utensil

make boot: take advantage

SOME SENSE

all-thing: wholly

betimes: quickly

broad words: speaking freely

buzzard: worthless person

closet: room

father: old man

firstling: first

half a soul: halfwit

hart: male deer

in a few: briefly

moe: more

mortified: deadened

FAMILIAR ENOUGH

beholding: indebted

cloudy: sullen

complexion: disposition

coz: cousin

estate: social position; condition

free hearts: true feelings

groom: servant

hurlyburly: tumult

in a few: briefly

keep counsel: keep a secret

loose: let go

make to: approach

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14 thoughts on “Bard Bits: Once Upon a Word

  1. I kind of like “bodements.”

  2. “Make boot” is actually pretty cool. I think I could slip that into a conversation. RE-posted on twitter @trefology

  3. I think I’m going to start using bodement!

  4. Father as old man, ha I like that. Coproral agent is so much more catchy than muscle and will hence forth be used whenever I can.

  5. I’m also a fan of ‘bodements.’ How about we retain them all?

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