Archives For Language

Lazar (adj. & n.)

Lazar as an adjective is defined as Leprous. Lazar as a noun is defined as a Leper, a diseased person. Lazar is cited in Shakespeare’s Henry V (H5 II.i.73) Pistol says to Nymi “From the powdering tub of infamy. Fetch forth the lazar kite of cressid’s kind.

Pistol and Nym refusing Falstaff’s request

Paction (n.)

Paction means compact, agreement, or treaty. Paction is cited in Shakespeare’s Henry V (H5 V.ii.357) Queen Isabel says to King Henry and Catherine: “Never may ill office, or feel jealousy thrust in between the paction of these Kingdoms.”

Marriage of Henry V and Catherine by John Rous, c.1485

Isabel Catolicas, Queen, Aquesta Isabel, Castile, Woman Warrior, Isabella, Warriors Women,

Quean (n.)

Quean means bawd, jade and hussy.Quean is cited in several of William Shakespeare’s works. The first being All’s Well That Ends Well (AW II.ii,24) The Clown says to the Countess about his answer: “As fit as … a scolding quean to a wrangling knave. Cited again in Henry IV, Part 2 (2H4 II.i.45) Falstaff says to Bardolph about the Hostess: “Throw the quean in the channel!” Quean is finally cited in The Merry Wives of Windsor” (MW IV.ii.161) Ford says to Mistress Ford about her maids aunt: “A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean!”

Sir John Falstaff comes forth to speak to Mrs. Ford.

Quiddity (n.)

Quiddity means subtlety, nicety and quibble. Quiddity is cited in two different Shakespearean works. The first being Hamlet (Ham V.i.97) Hamlet says to Horatio about the skull of a lawyer: “where be his quiddities now?”.  Quiddity is then cited in Henry IV, Part I (1H4 I.ii.45) Falstaff says to Prince Hal: “What, in thy quips and thy quiddities.

HAMLET There’s another: why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why …


Queller (n.)

Queller means destroyer or killer. Queller is sited in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 2. (2H4 II.i.50) The Hostess says to Falstaff “Thou art… a man-queller – and a woman-queller.” Queller was also sited in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. (TC V.v.45) Achilles speaks as if to Hector saying :Come, come, thou boy-queller, show thy face.”


Falstaff with Doll Tearsheet in the Boar’s Head tavern, illustration to Act 2, Scene 4 of the play by Eduard von Grützner

Cannoneer (n.)

Cannoneer means gunner or artilleryman. Cannoneer is sited in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. (Ham V.ii.270) Claudius says to everyone: “The trumpet to the cannoneer without.”


Claudius and Laertes

Captious  (adj.)

Captious means capacious, spacious, and roomy.  Captious is cited in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well AW I.iii.197. Helen says to the countess: ” in this captious and intenable sieve, I still pour in the waters of my love.


Helena and the Countess. “Helena: Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.” All’s Well That Ends Well, Act III, Scene II. Folger Shakespeare Library.