WORD LISTS

A Midsummer Night's Dream

October 27, 2010
By Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
Unusual words from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
engild
LYSANDER Lysander's love, that would not let him bide, Fair Helena, who more engilds the night Than all you fiery oes and eyes of light.
blameful
Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall, And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain: Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade, He bravely broach'd is boiling bloody breast; And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade, His dagger drew, and died.
love-in-idleness
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell: It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound, And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
yielder
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong, Made senseless things begin to do them wrong; For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch; Some sleeves, some hats, from yielders all things catch.
shrewishness
HELENA I pray you, though you mock me, gentlemen, Let her not hurt me: I was never curst; I have no gift at all in shrewishness; I am a right maid for my cowardice: Let her not strike me.
doubler
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.
barky
Exeunt fairies So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle Gently entwist; the female ivy so Enrings the barky fingers of the elm.
musk rose
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lull'd in these flowers with danc
oxlip
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lull'd in these flowers with danc
unwished
HERMIA So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, Ere I will my virgin patent up Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
crannied
Wall In this same interlude it doth befall That I, one Snout by name, present a wall; And such a wall, as I would have you think, That had in it a crannied hole or chink, Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, Did whisper often very secretly
acorn cup
PUCK The king doth keep his revels here to-night: Take heed the queen come not within his sight; For Oberon is passing fell and wrath, Because that she as her attendant hath A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king; She never had so sweet a changeling; An
uncouple
Uncouple in the western valley; let them go: Dispatch, I say, and find the forester.
premeditate
Where I have come, great clerks have purposed To greet me with premeditated welcomes; Where I have seen them shiver and look pale, Make periods in the midst of sentences, Throttle their practised accent in their fears And in conclusion dumbly have
double tongue
The Fairies sing You spotted snakes with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong, Come not near our fairy queen.
minimus
LYSANDER Get you gone, you dwarf; You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; You bead, you acorn.
ousel
Sings The ousel cock so black of hue, With orange-tawny bill, The throstle with his note so true, The wren with little quill,-- TITANIA [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
roundel
Enter TITANIA, with her train TITANIA Come, now a roundel and a fairy song; Then, for the third part of a minute, hence; Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings, To make my small elves coats, and
fancy-free
OBERON That very time I saw, but thou couldst not, Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took At a fair vestal throned by the west, And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thous
dewberry
TITANIA Be kind and courteous to this gentleman; Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes; Feed him with apricocks and dewberries, With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries; The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees, And for night-tapers crop t
obscenely
BOTTOM We will meet; and there we may rehearse most obscenely and courageously.
trippingly
Enter OBERON and TITANIA with their train OBERON Through the house give gathering light, By the dead and drowsy fire: Every elf and fairy sprite Hop as light as bird from brier; And this ditty, after me, Sing, and dance it trippingly.
imbrue
Tongue, not a word: Come, trusty sword; Come, blade, my breast imbrue: Stabs herself And, farewell, friends; Thus Thisby ends: Adieu, adieu, adieu.
big-bellied
His mother was a votaress of my order: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side, And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood, When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive A
overfly
Do not fret yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and, good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not; I would be loath to have you overflown with a honey-bag, signior.
love-token
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke, This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child; Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes, And interchanged love-tokens with my child: Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung, With feigning voice
aweary
HIPPOLYTA I am aweary of this moon: would he would change!
throstle
Sings The ousel cock so black of hue, With orange-tawny bill, The throstle with his note so true, The wren with little quill,-- TITANIA [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
simpleness
THESEUS I will hear that play; For never anything can be amiss, When simpleness and duty tender it.
videlicet
DEMETRIUS And thus she means, videlicet:-- Thisbe Asleep, my love?
chough
When they him spy, As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye, Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort, Rising and cawing at the gun's report, Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky, So, at his sight, away his fellows fly; And, at our stamp, here o
wormy
PUCK My fairy lord, this must be done with haste, For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast, And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger; At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there, Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all, That in crosswa
barm
Fairy Either I mistake your shape and making quite, Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are not you he That frights the maidens of the villagery; Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern And bootless make the breath
rushy
TITANIA These are the forgeries of jealousy: And never, since the middle summer's spring, Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead, By paved fountain or by rushy brook, Or in the beached margent of the sea, To dance our ringlets to the whistling win
beshrew
HERMIA Lysander riddles very prettily: Now much beshrew my manners and my pride, If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied.
Robin Goodfellow
Fairy Either I mistake your shape and making quite, Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are not you he That frights the maidens of the villagery; Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern And bootless make the
body forth
The lunatic, the lover and the poet Are of imagination all compact: One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt: The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance f
mazed
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea Contagious fogs; which falling in the land Have every pelting river made so proud That they have overborne their continents: The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in
dewlap
I jest to Oberon and make him smile When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likeness of a filly foal: And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl, In very likeness of a roasted crab, And when she drinks, against her lips I bob And on her wither'd
abridgement
THESEUS Say, what abridgement have you for this evening?
stand sentinel
Fairy Hence, away! now all is well: One aloof stand sentinel.
aby
DEMETRIUS Disparage not the faith thou dost not know, Lest, to thy peril, thou aby it dear.
lily-white
FLUTE Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue, Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier, Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew, As true as truest horse that yet would never tire, I'll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny's tomb.
quern
Fairy Either I mistake your shape and making quite, Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Call'd Robin Goodfellow: are not you he That frights the maidens of the villagery; Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern And bootless make the
measure out
Faintness constraineth me To measure out my length on this cold bed.
wild thyme
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lull'd in these flowers with danc
avouch
Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head, Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes, Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry, Upon this spotted and inconstant man.
perjure
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear, So the boy Love is perjured every where: For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne, He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine; And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt, So he dissolved, and showers
floweret
Her dotage now I do begin to pity: For, meeting her of late behind the wood, Seeking sweet favours from this hateful fool, I did upbraid her and fall out with her; For she his hairy temples then had rounded With a coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers; An
transfigure
HIPPOLYTA But all the story of the night told over, And all their minds transfigured so together, More witnesseth than fancy's images And grows to something of great constancy; But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

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