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Shakespearean Glossary

Let's face it, no matter how many times your English teacher rambles on about how cool Shakespeare is, his stuff isn't too easy to read. We're not talking about a few funny words, like in Doctor Seuss - we're talking Elizabethan English (also known, funnily enough, as "Modern English"), which may as well be a different language! To help you get to the actual story behind those baffling words, Kidzworld's put together a cheat sheet for reading Shakespeare. Check it out!

Shakespeare's Vocab A - Z

  • Alas: An exclamation of sadness or regret.
  • Barn: No, it's not the thing that cows live in. In Shakespeare's time this was a child.
  • Abate: This is a multi-purpose word meaning either to shorten, to throw down or to dull the edge of.
  • Aim: A guess.
  • Bob: This isn't just a dude's name, Shakespeare used it to mean to strike something, or to insult someone or to get something from someone by insulting them.
  • Century: One hundred of anything.
  • Coil: What we would now call turmoil or a disturbance.
  • Cross: A piece of money or a coin.
  • Dig-You-Good-Den: Literally this means "give you good evening" but it really just means goodnight.
  • Don: To put on.
  • Enseamed: Fat, gross and smelly. Not a nice thing to call your friends.
  • Fang: To bite something or to grab it with your teeth.
  • Forsooth: In truth, or in fact.
  • Forbode: Forbidden or not allowed.
  • Guard: A decoration or to decorate something.

For more words from Shakespeare, click here!

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