Archives For Definitions

Fadge (v.)

Fadge means to succeed, be suitable or to turn out well. You can also understand it to mean turnout, end up or come off.  In the Twelfth Night II.ii.33. Viola sitting alone says “How will this fadge.” Of course meaning, How will this turn out or end up. 


Caduceus (n.)

Caduceus is a heraldic wand which is entwined with two serpent heads. It is said that this is the staff of Mercury who moves at will within and transforms himself as he likes whenever he likes. In William Shakespeare’s telling of “Troilus and Cressida” (TC II.iii.12) it sites “the serpentine craft of thy caduceus,if, thou take not. 



Wapish-headed (adj.)

Wapish-headed means peevish, irascible or to be spiteful. This definitely sounds more like a Shakespearean word than yesterday’s word of Wafture, which may have been a little to clean for the average Shakespeare lover.

Backbite (v.)

Backbite means to slander, revile or to speak badly of someone. This was certainly a common act of behavior in Shakespearean times. There were many occasions in which men spoke badly of others to cast doubt on their standing to steal the women they were interested in. or the work that they had.

Sir John Gilbert’s 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare‘s plays.

Galliass (n.)

A Galliass is a heavily built warship that uses sails and oars. Its appearance is definitely quite intimidating, but that was of course necessary and worked as an advantage as well as a disadvantage. The advantage being that it could house more cannons and weapons. The disadvantage being that a galliass required more workers to run it separate from those that were fighting. A Galliass is larger than a galley.


A woman that does not fulfill her marital responsibilities to her husband in their bed. It also means that either man or the woman is unfaithful in the marriage.

Cabilero (n.) & Cavaliero (adj.)

Calibero (n.) means gallant or fine fellow. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 2 (2H4 V.iii.58 [Shallow to all] I’ll drink to Master Bardolph, and to all the cabileros about London [Q; F Cauileroes])

Cavaliero means gallant, valiant or honourable. It was sited in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor three different times (1) MW II.i.181 [The Host says to Shallow] Cavaliero justice, I say!, (2) MW II.i.1196 [The Host says Ford, of Falstaff] Hast thou no suit against my knight, my guest cavaliero?, (3) MW II.iii.67 [The Host aside says to all except Caius] Master guest, and Master Page, and eke Cavaliero Slender.)

In the cruel speech of rejection, Henry V is at some trouble to ensure that Falstaff be given no opportunity of dialogue” (Bloom 277).

Facinerious (adj.)

Facinerious means that someone is extremely wicked, villainous or criminal.  When you think of almost any Shakespearean piece, there is at least one character or more that can be labeled as Facinerious.  But there are just as many characters that are sweet, honourable, loyal and dedicated.


When someone opts to maliciously discolour the reputation of another out of spite or just to falsely defame their reputation defamation.


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.