Glossary of Archaic and Poetical Words for the Role-Player

Glossary of Archaic and Poetical Words for the Role-Player

This is a compiled glossary of vastly popular archaic and poetical words, made originally for the Neverwinter Nights role-playing community as a reference for role-players who wish to add flavor to their character’s language; but now it’s dedicated to all role-players.

Note most of these words can be seen in old writings, the Bible (King James’ edition), Elizabethan literature, Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, or any poems and body of work that have reference to Early Modern English in particular. They’re also found in movies and other works of fiction that use them archaically, facetiously or knowingly. Some of them were, in fact, coined by the aforementioned poets.

Short History of the Glossary:

I started it off in 2004 as a small 30-terms glossary for a role-playing server in Neverwinter Nights called  “Haze” (now disintegrated) and over time I made it my personal project. Using many different resources on the internet, bookworming, and indulging myself in Early Modern English literature (particularly Shakespeare), I’ve enhanced it significantly in volume. However, certain events made me abandon this project for two years until recently. As of Dec 6 2006, it’s been revised and made ready.

I’d also like to note that most of the words are word-combinations (and thus self-explanatory). Strictly speaking, it’s comprised of only the archaic and poetical words that have been popularized by literature and other medias. Therefor in that regard and compared to other glossaries who attempt to achieve the same, this glossary is extremely comprehensive and to the point.

Please use it freely and profusely!

Glossary abbreviations


n                                noun
adj                             adjective
adv                            adverb
conj                           conjunction
esp                            especially
imp                            imperative
interj                          interjection
prep                          preposition
pron                           pronoun
usu                             usually



Archaic suffixes


-est (used to form the present second-person singular of regular verbs)

-eth (used to form the present third-person singular of regular verbs)




Old-English (500-1100 C.E)

Middle-English (1100-1500 C.E)

Early Modern English (1500-1800 C.E)

Late Modern English (1800+)




accoutrement n. clothing; equipment

accourage v. encourage

acknow v. recognize; acknowledge; confess

acquiesce v. agree (esp. without question or protest); submit, yield

adays adv. by day, every day; in the daytime

addeem v. award; adjudge

addlepated adj. confused; peculiar; mad

advesperate v. darken, become late

afeared adj. afraid

affright v. frighten, cause fear

affright n. fear, terror; cause of terror

afore adv. prep. conj. before

aforetime adv. formerly. previously

aftercast n. a belated cast, anything that is done too late

aftereye v. look after

aftergame n. a second game; second plan; an ancient game resembling to backgammon

afterthought n. second thought

againstand v. withstand

againward adv. back again

agnize v. recognize, acknowledge

agrammatist n. illiterate person

alack interj. alas

alas interj. expression of sorrow or pity

albeit conj. although

alow adv. below

amain adv. forcefully; at full speed

anchorite n. hermit

anent prep. concerning, in regards to

anight adv. by night; at nighttime

anon adv. soon

anon-rightes adv. right away

anywhen adv. at any time, whenever

apace adv. quickly

aright adv. rightly; correctly

arfname n. heir

art v. are

atwain adv. asunder; in twain

aught pron. anything

avaunt interj. go away, leave, begone

ave n. greeting, salutations

ay adv. yes




barbermonger n. a fop; one who frequently visits the barber

Beau-Séant interj. battle cry of the Templars (“Be noble!” or “Be glorious!”)

beauteous adj. beautiful, lovely

becalm v. calm, soothe

bechance v. happen to; become of

befall v. occur, come to happen (esp. a misfortune)

befortune v. befall, happen to

begad interj. expression of anger (“by God!”)

begone interj. go away!, avaunt!

behest n. request, command

behindhand adj. backward, slow

behold v. see, observe, look

belike adv. probably

beforetime adv. previously; beforehand

bemoan v. grive, lament; complain

benight v. obscure; overtake by darkness

bequeath v. leave or give (personal property) by will; pass on something to another

bequest n. inheritance, legacy; something that is bequeathed

bereft of prep. without

beseech v. beg, impore

besought v. past of beseech, beseeched

beseem v. suit, befit, becomes

beshrew v. curse, evil befall

bespeak v. to speak to, adress; indicate; request, ask for; order goods in advance

betake v. take; commit; cause oneself to move

beteem v. allow; bestow

bethink v. think over, consider

betimes adv. soon; early; at once

betide v. happen

betwixt adv. (also atwixt) between

boneweary adj. exhausted

botheration n. the act of bothering or the state of being bothered

botheration interj. exclamation of annoyance

bourn n. destination, goal; boundary, limit

brethren n. brothers

breviary n. prayer book

by and by v. at once; soon




caitiff n. coward; slave

canakin n. small can or cup

cap-a-pie adv. from head to foot (usu about armour)

catchpole n. officer (esp. one who arrests debtors)

celerity n. speed

certes adv. certainly, truly

chevalier n. knight; gentleman, chivalrous man

clapperclaw v. use foul language; claw with the nails

clapperdudgeon n. chief beggar; beggar born

clepe v. call, name

comrade n. companion, friend, fellow, associate

copesmate n. companion

costermonger n. greengrocer; one who sells food (esp. from a cart)

coxcomb n. fool; fop; jester’s hat

cozen v. decieve; cheat, swindle

cozener n. swindler; deceiver

craven n. coward

craven adj. cowardly




damsel n. (also damosel) young woman (oft unmarried one), maiden; lass

daresay v. to think very likely or almost certain; suppose; dare to say

darkle v. darken

dayspring n. sunrise, dawn

deathsman n. executioner

deedless adj. doing no deeds; inactive, lazy

denegation n. denial

denotement n. indication; mark, sign

denuded adj. naked

derring do n. daring, daring or reckless action

descry v. discover; see

destrier n. warhorse

devoir n. duty, responsibility; act or expression of respect

didst v. do (past tense, second person singular)

doomsday n. judgement day

doth v. do (present tense, third person singular)

dolour n. sorrow, grief

don v. put on clothing

dost v. do (present tense, second person singular)

droll n. buffoon

durst v. dare




eftsoons adv. soon after; presently; once again

egad interj. expression of anger (“oh God!”)

egregious adj. conspicuously bad or offensive, flagrant

eke v. enlarge

eke adv. also

emprise n. heroic act, chivalrous adventure

endlong adv. lengthwise

englut v. swallow, eat (often greedily)

enow adv. adj. enough

eschew v. avoid

ere prep. before

erelong adv. before long

erenow adv. before now; heretofore

erewhile adv. some time ago; until now

ergo adv. therefore (Latin)

erst adv. formerly, previously

erstwhile adj. former

espy v. observe, see from a distance

evenlong prep. adv. along

eventide n. night, evening; evening time

eventuate v. occur, come about, result

evermore adv. always, forever

eyne n. eyes




fain adj. glad, happy, pleased

fain adv. gladly, willingly

fane n. temple, church

fardel n. burden

fie interj. for shame! expression of disapproval

firmament n. heaven, sky

foeman n. enemy

forasmuch conj. since, in view of

forby adv. prep. near; past

fordo v. destroy

forenoon n. time before noon

forenoon adj. before noon

forevermore adv. forever

forfend v. defend, guard, defend; forbid; avert, ward off

forfoughten adj. tired from fighting

forlorn adj. unhappy, miserable; forsaken; hopeless

forsooth adv. in truth, verily; mild oath

forsoothery n. use of archaic words or expressions, gadzookery

forstraught adj. distracted, perplexed

forswear v. renounce or deny under oath; strongly deny; commit perjury

forthink v. repent; regret

forthwith adv. immediately, at once

fortnight n. two weeks, fourteen nights

forthright adv. directly; at once

forthright adj. straightforward

freebooter n. pirate; pillager

fret v. worry; become worried

fret n. worry




gadzooks interj. mild or ironic oath (“God’s hooks!”)

gadzookery n. use of archaic words or expressions, forsoothery

gainsay n. denial; refusal; objection

gainsay v. deny, dispute; contradict

gainstrive v. withstand

galliard n. lively 16th-century European court dance

garderobe n. wardrobe; chamber for storing clothes (or its content); privy, latrine (esp. in castles)

glaive n. sword; pike

gazement n. view

goodly adj. large; pleasant

goodman n. male head of a household; husband; courtesy title before the surname of a man not of noble birth

goodwife n. female head of a household; courtesy title before the surname of a woman not of noble birth

gorbellied adj. fat, corpulent

gramercy interj. many thanks; expression of gratitude

grandevity n. great age; long life

guerdon n. reward, recompense




hadst v. have (past tense, second person singular)

hail n. salutation, greeting; small pellets of ice

hail v. greet, welcome; rain down hail (or like hail)

halidom n. holiness; anything that is considered holy or sacred

handfast n. handclasp

hapless adj. unfortunate, luckless, ill-fated

hark v. (harken, hearken) listen, pay attention, heed

harlot n. prostitute

hast v. have (second person singular)

hath v. has (third person singular)

heed n. attention, consideration

heed v. pay attention; listen

heedful adj. carefully attentive, mindful

hence adv. therefore; from now; from this place

henceforth adv. from now on, henceforward

henceforward adv. from now on, henceforth

hearty n. comrade, good fellow; sailor

hereabout adv. around here

hereafter adv. after this time, afterwards

hereafter n. afterlife; future; time to come

hereabouts adv. around here

hereby adv. by this

hereinafter adv. hereafter, in what follows

hereto adv. regarding this matter, document or proposition; until now, hitherto

heretofore adv. up to this time, until now

herewithal adv. hereby, by means of this, herewith; thereupon; along with that

heyday interj. expression of elation or worder

hight adj. named, called

hindmost adj. last in position, furthest to the rear

hither adv. here

hitherto adv. until now, thus far

hist interj. shh!, quest!; expression to attract attention

hoise v. raise, lift

hoist n. raising, lifting; something that is lifted or raised

hogshead n. barrel, large cask

homeborn adj. native; pertaining to home or family

honorificabilitudinitatibus n. with honour (jocular)

howbeit adv. nevertheless; although

howsoever adv. in whatever way; however

hundredweight n. 100 pounds

husbandman n. farmer

huzzah interj. hurray, expression of excitement and enthusiasm




ifsoever conj. if ever

ill-starred adj. unlucky, unfortunate

inasmuch conj. since, considering that

ingreat v. to make great

inwit n. inward sense; understanding from within




jackanapes n. monkey, ape; conceited person; mischievous child

jocund adj. joyful, cheerful, merry

joyance n. joy




kenspeckle adj. easy to recognize; obvious

knave n. rascal, villain; (cards) jack

knight-errant n. adventurous knight

knightless adj. unbecoming a knight, unrespectful




laborsome adj. requiring great labor

lackadaisical adj. listless

lackaday interj. alas, exclamation of regret or deprecation

ladied adj. gentle

ladylove n. sweetheart (of a woman)

lateward adv. adj. somewhat late; backward

lave v. wash

leechcraft n. the art of healing; medical skills

liege n. feudal lord or sovereign

liegeman n. faithful supporter of the liege (usu a vassal or a subject)

letterure n. letters; literature

lo interj. behold, see, look

loggerhead n. stupid person, blockhead

lykewake n. watch kept at night over a dead body




magick n. magic

man-at-arms n. soldier, military man

mayest v. (also mayst) may

mayhap adv. may happen, perhaps

melancholic adj. depressed; affected by melancholy

meseems v. it seems to me

methinks v. I think

mien n. bearing; appearance

misdeem v. misjudge

mishap n. unlucky accident, misfortune

moiety n. portion; half

moonglade n. reflection of the moon on water

moreover adv. also, furthermore

morn n. morning, dawn

morningtide n. morning time

morrow n. morning

mought imp. might

muckle n. (also mickle) much, large amount of something

myriad n. ten thousand; many




nathless adv. nevertheless, notwithstanding

naught n. nothing

nay adv. no

nary adv. not one; nay; never

nether adj. lower, under; situated below; of or pertaining to hell

netherworld n. underworld, hell; world of the dead; Hades; lower depths of society

ne’er-do-well n. idle, irresponsible person

nevermore adv. never again

nigh adv. adj. near; close, nearby

nigh prep. close; almost

nonce n. this moment or occasion, present

noonday n. midday; noon

notwithstanding adv. nevertheless

nowise adv. in no way




offscouring n. outlaw; a disposed of object

oft adv. often

oftentimes adv. (also oft-times) often, frequently

ope v. open

opposeless adj. cannot be opposed, irresistible

onerous adj. burdensome; oppressive

onetime adj. former; somewhen in the past

orison n. prayer

otherwhere adv. elsewhere

otherwhile adv. at another time, or other times; sometimes; occasionally.

out-of-doors adj. n. outdoors, outside

outface v. face boldly; defy; embarrass

outwit n. surpass in wisdom; outside knowledge; outsmart, outfox

overawe v. terrify

overlong adv. too long

overmuch adv. too much

overween v. think too highly or arrogantly; presume

overweening adj. arrogant; overbearing; presumptuous




palfrey n. riding horse

parfay interj. by my faith, truly

parle v. talk

paucity n. lack; fewness

peradventure adv. possibly; perhaps

perchance adv. perhaps; possibly

perdition n. hell

perdie interj. (also parde) mild oath (originally “truly, certainly”)

perforce adv. necessarily; by necessity

prest adj. ready

prithee interj. please (“pray thee”)

posthaste adv. quickly, rapidly, fast

purblind adj. partially blind, dim-witted, sandblind

purloin v. steal, pilfer

purvey v. porvide




quaere n. question, query

quaere v. question, ask for, inquire

questrist n. seeker

quoth v. said

quotha interj. expression of surprise or sarcarsm after a spoken sentence (“quoth he!”)




raiment n. clothing

rapscallion n. rascal

raught v. reached

redoubted adv. formidable; dreadful

replete adj. brimming; more than sufficient

repose n. v. rest

ruth n. compassion or pity for others; sorrow, regret




saith v. say (present tense, third person singular)

sandblind adj. having bad-eyesight, dim-sighted, purblind

sans prep. without

score n. twenty (twoscore – 40, threescore – 60, etc)

selfsame adj. identical, exactly the same

sennight n. week, seven nights

shalt v. shall (present tense, second person singular)

shan’t v. shall not

shaw n. grove, wooded area

shieldmaiden n. female warrior

sire n. term of address for a superior (usu a king); father; forefather

somedeal adv. somewhat

somewhen adv. at some indefinite time

somewhither adv. somewhere

sooth n. truth, reality

sooth adj. true

soothly adv. truly, verily

soothfast adj. truthful, honest

shouldest v. (also shouldst) shall (past tense, second person singular)

stalwart adj. sturdy, strong; steadfast

stalwart n. one who is physically and morally strong; one who steadfastly supports an organization or a cause

steadfast adj. loyal, faithful, fixed and steady

stilly adv. softly

strumpet n. prostitute, trollop, harlot

succour n. aid, help, assistance

succour v. aid, help, assist

supposition n. guess, assumption

surcease interj. v. stop, terminate

surcease n. cessation

suspire v. breathe, sigh





teen n. suffering, injury; grief

tempest n. storm

tenebrous adj. gloomy, dark, obscure

thither adv. there

thee pron. you (second person singular, objective)

thence adv. from then, from that time, from that place

thenceforth adv. afterwards, thereafter, from that time onward

thereabout adv. about that part, nearby

thereabouts adv. approximately, nearly

thereafter adv. afterwards, after that

thereagainst adv. against that

thereat adv. at that place; there; thereupon; at the account of that

thereby adv. by means of that, in that connection

therein adv. in that respect, time or thing

thereinafter adv. in what follows, thenceforth

thereof adv. of that, from this

thereon adv. on that, concerning that subject

thereto adv. to that, besides, also

thereupon adv. therefore; as a result of

therewhile adv. at that time

therewith adv. with that

therewithal adv. besides

thine adj. yours (used when the word following is a noun that begins with a vowel)

throatboll n. Adam’s apple

thy adj. your (used when the word following is a consonant)

thoroughstitch adv. completely

thorp v. village, hamlet

thou pron. you (second person singular, subjective)

through-and-through adv. completely

through-and-through adj. complete, total

tidings n. news

timeworn adj. worn-out, became shabby through time

to and fro adv. back and forth

tofore prep. adv. before

tomorn n. tomorrow

toothdrawer n. one who draws teeth; dentist

toothsome adj. tasty, delicious

trollop n. prostitute, untidy woman

troth n. truth, pledge; faithfulness, fidelity

trothplight n. engagement, betrothal

trow v. think, suppose; believe; trust

truthy adv. adj. likely

twain n. adj. two

twelvemonth n. one year




ugsome adj. ugly

unbeknownst adj. (unbeknown) without knowledge

undermeal n. midday

unhap n. bad luck; misfortune

unkent adj. unknown, strange

unlearn v. forget

unparagoned adj. peerless

unto prep. to, towards, into

upheave v. lift, raise

uptake n. understanding, comprehension

upstir n. commotion

usself n. ourselves

usward adv. towards us

utile adj. useful




vainglory n. vanity; boastfulness

varlet n. servant; knight’s page; rascal

venery n. sexual intercourse; coition; hunting

vesper n. evening

vesture n. apparel, clothing

vesture v. dress, clothe

veriloquent adj. truthful; speaking nothing but the truth

verily adv. truly, surely

vie v. compete

vouchsafe v. grant, bestow (privilege, honour, etc, often in a condescending manner); deign, lower oneself




wanhope n. despair, lack of hope

wassail n. feast, banquet

wassail v. drink to the health of, toast; carouse

wassail interj. celebratory toast, cheers

wayfare v. travel; go to and fro

wayfaring n. adj. traveling (esp. on foot)

ween v. think, suppose; expect; hope

wellaway interj. alas, an expression of sorrow

well-nigh adv. almost

well-willer n. well-wisher

welkin n. sky, heavens

welsome adj. prosperous, well

wend v. go, walk; go on one’s way, proceed

weraday interj. expression of sorrow or concern, alas the day

wert v. (be) were (past indicative and past subjunctive, second person singular)

whatso pron. whatever

whenas conj. when, whereas

whence adv. from where, wherefrom

whencesoever adv. conj. from wherever

whereabout adv. about where or near what place

whereabouts adv. approximate location

whereabouts n. about where; locality; surroundings

whereabouts conj. in which place?; near which place?

whereagainst prep. against which

whereat adv. conj. because of; according to; whereupon

whereby adv. in accordance with; wherethrough; by what?

wherefrom adv. from where

wherein adv. where; in what sense

wherein conj. in where, within

whereinsoever conj. in whatsoever respect or place

wheresoever conj. wherever; to where

wherethrough adv. through which, whereby

whereto adv. for what purpose; to where

whereto conj. to which

whereunto (see whereto)

whereupon adv. upon which; thereafter; thus

wherewith adv. with what or which; how

wherewithal n. means; money

whilom adj. former

whilom adv. formerly

whilst conj. while

whither adv. to what place, result or condition

whither conj. to whatever place, result or condition; to the place which; to every place which; to the place where

whithersoever conj. to any place whatsoever, wherever

whitherward adv. in what direction; toward what or which place

whoredom n. prostitution; idolatry

whoreson n. bastard

whoso pron. whoever

whosoever pron. whatever person

viewless adj. invisible

wilt v. will (present tense, second person singular)

winsome adj. cheerful; charming (esp. in a pure manner)

wit v. know

wot v. know (present tense, first and third person singular)

withal prep. with

witherling n. a withered or decrepit person

withinforth adv. within; inside; inwardly

withoutforth adv. without; outside; outwardly

withsay v. deny, contradict

withset v. oppose

witling n. person who aspires to wittiness; person who pretends to be witty

witworm n. one who, or that which, feeds on or destroys wit

wondrous adv. wonderfully

worder n. speaker

workaday adj. usual, regular

would v. wish

wouldst v. will (past tense, second person singular)

wrongless adj. not wrong; free from wrong

wroth adj. angry, wrathful




yclad adj. clothed

yclept v. called, named

ye n. the; you (often plural)

yesternight n. last night

yonder (also yon, yond) adj. over there, further off

yore n. distant pass

yore adv. in the distant past

youthsome adj. youthful

ysame adv. together




zounds interj. (also ‘swounds) mild oath (“God’s wounds”)



(c) Or Bar (now Valera Lerik Volkov)

Please give credit to the author for any distribution or posting of this document’s context or the document itself. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Glossary of Archaic and Poetical Words for the Role-Player

  1. I used to have a Shakespearean dictionary with a lot of similar words, for the life of me I can’t find it. Anyway, good job! I might use it in my creative writing.

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