Archives For Definitions


Quousque (Latin) means: “how much longer”. It was sited in Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsman (TNK III.v.38 [The Schoolteacher asks, then says:] Quousque tandem? Here is a woman waiting.

The Schoolmaster. Ostade. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Dancing-Rapier (n.)

Dancing-rapier is an ornament sword worn in dancing. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (Tit II.i.39 [Demetrius says to Chiron] Our mother gave you a dancing-rapier by your side.

Illustration of the death of Chiron and Demetrius from Act 5, Scene 2;

from The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare, edited by Nicholas Rowe (1709)

Earth-vexing (adj.)

Earth-vexing means that something is tormenting earthly life, its life-afflicting. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (Cym V.iv.42 [Sicilius says to music, as if to love] Thou shouldst have shielded him from this earth-vexing smart.

An unconscious Posthumus (Richard Johnson) lying before Sicilius Leonatus (Toby Robertson), and his wife (Molly Taper) – Act V scene 5 Cymbeline

Yoke-Devil (n.)

York-Devil is a companion-devil, associate in evil. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Henry V (H5 II.ii.106 [King Henry says to everyone] Treason and murder ever kept together. As two yoke-devils sworn to either;s purpose.)

King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415, by Sir John Gilbert.

Wagtail (n.)

Wagtail is a contemptuous form of address, a tail-wagger, or a bower and scraper. It was sited in Shakespeare’s King Lear (KL II.ii.65 [Kent is wearing a disguise, he turns and says to Oswald] you wagtail!)

Tainture (n.)

Tainture means tainting, staining, and defilement. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 2 (2HG II.i.183 [The Queen says to Gloucester of the Dutchess's Plotting] See there the tainture of thy nest.)

Sapient (adj.)

Sapient means wise, learned, and erudite. It was sited in Shakespeare’s King Lear (KL [Lear says to the Fool] Thou sapient sir, sit here)

“King Lear and the Fool in the Storm” by William Dyce