Historical Fiction Tools: Elizabethan Swearing, Cursing and Vocabulary

I’m writing a historical fiction novel at the moment and damn does it take a lot of research.

I’m not writing it as Shakespeare might’ve, because I want my readers to be able to understand it without sitting through a term of English GCSE lessons, but I’m trying to remain as authentic as possible and not using words like ‘laser’ or ‘a load of hot air’ when they wouldn’t have had lasers or hot air balloons in the late 16th century.

To this end, I’ve been doing a lot of Googling and have compiled a list of Elizabethan saying, idioms, forms of address and some general swear words. Yay!

Enjoy, my fellow #histfic writers:

Elizabethan Insults

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Elizabethans sure knew how to bandy around the insults. A lot of insults are based on social status but your moral character could also be called into question (and given that a lot of your business or indeed your dignity would have relied on your ability to make an oath before God and have it believed) this was a pretty damning insult to men and women alike.

What you’re insulting
Social Status Action-taking, Arrant, Barber-monger, Base, Beggarly, Caitiff, Churl, Churlish, Coistril, Cullionly, Eater of broken meats, Finical, Glass-gazing, Hundred-pound, Knave, Knavish, Lily-livered, One-trunk-inheriting, Peasant, Proud, Rascal, Rascally, Rogue, Roguish, Ruffian, Ruffianly, Shallow, Slave, Super-serviceable, Three-suited, Varlet, Vile, Villain, Villainous, Whoreson, Worsted-stocking, Wretch, Wretched…
Moral Character Brazen-faced, Cocklorel, False, Foresworn, Lurdane, Lying, One that wouldst be a bawd, Pander, Recreant, Runagate, Traitor, Traitorous
Intelligence Ass, Cokes, Coxcomb, Fool, Foolish, Natural, Prating
Likening them to an animal Beast, Capon, Cur, Dog, Jackanapes, Toad
Saying they’re diseased Filthy, Lousy (Louse ridden), Scabbed, Scurvy

If you’re feeling particularly angry (or rather, if your characters are) they can also use a combination of the following:

  • Beshrew thee
  • Fie upon thee
  • A pox upon thee/Upon thy
  • Devil take thee,
  • A plague upon thee/Upon thy…
  • Morraine Seize thee
  • Hang thee

Elizabethan Oaths

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These were a bit stronger than our modern day swear words because taking an oath in Elizabethan times meant invoking God to listen and bear witness to your oath. If you were a Catholic and you said something like ‘God’s Flesh’, you believed that you were actually harming God with your words. This is what makes the latter portion of the oaths table so strong. Needless to say, it would’ve been more than just frowned upon… it would have been outright blasphemy.

Oath Level
Polite Truth, Forsooth, In good earnest, La (used mostly by women), ‘Pon my honour/faith, By my troth, Pardy, I’ faith/In faith, Faith, By this light, By this hand, Trust me, On my conscience, So God mend me
Emphatic Jesu, By the Mass, Coads-nigs, Od rabbit it, Marry, God’s truth, God’s Mercy/vengeance, By the Rood, Cuds-me, By St George, Marry gip, God ‘a mercy (God have mercy), ‘Fore God, Coads, Od rat it, Od save us, By’r lady, By heaven
Strong God’s [Teeth, Wounds (= nons, ‘zounds), Blood (= ‘Slud), Life (= Lifelings), Heart (= Heartlings), Corpus, Body (Bodikins), Foot, Feet, Bones, Flesh (=Fish), Lid, Lids, Arms. Death, Name, Crown, Dignity, Bread, Loaves, Hat, Malt, Hook (‘zooks), Nails, Plenty, Fury, Gown, Pity (pittikins), Light], God’s blessed mother, God’s precious blood [‘sprecious], God’s blessed will, Codso


  • Good Morrow/Day/Even,
  • [God] Gi’ you good day,
  • What ho,
  • How do you,
  • [God] Save you,
  • How now,
  • Farewells,
  • God be with you,
  • Fare [you] well.


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Elizabethan Word
‘Fore God An emphatic oath
A Coin/a penny Half a farthing.
A-swame Fainting
Abject To cast out. To reject.
Abram-man, Abraham-man a category of vagrant who excited sympathy or fear in onlookers by feigning madness.
Abram, Abraham a lunatic or mad; naked.
Abroach, To Set To let the liquid out of a cask.
Ace A one on a die.
Action-taking An insult of social position.
Advoutery Adultery.
Affiance Confidence, trust.
Agnus Dei A wax disc imprinted with the Lamb of God and the crossed keys of the Papacy and has been blessed by the Pope
Ague Malaria
Alderman The elected representative of a Ward to the City Council.
Ale-bush Inn sign, Inn.
All Hallows Toll collector’s office at the market.

(Eve) Halloween

Altham Wife of a vagabond.
Amerce To fine (as a legal punishment)
Ames-ace A term of contempt, referring to “snake-eyes” on dice.
Amort, all Out of spirits.
Angel A gold coin, value 10 shillings.
Angler A thief who uses a hook on a line, also Hookman, Curber or Hooker.
Antic A clown or merry-andrew.
Apple-squire Pimp.
Apronman A workman or mechanic.
Apt To make fit, adapt.
Aqua Fortis Nitric Acid
Aqua Vitae “Water of Life”; Whisky or Brandy
Armour of proof Strong armour of tested quality.
Arquebus A Firearm, matchlock or Wheellock
Arrant 1.(subs.) Errand. 2.(Adj) Itinerant, Downright. An insult of social position.
Ass An insult of an intellectual character
Ataunt Drunk (see Taunt)
Autem A Church.
Autem-mort A married, female vagrant.
Backsword Heavy single-edged short sword
Bailie Bailiff, Sherrif or Constable’s officer
Bale (of Dice) 2-3 matched dice, the set required for any game.
Ballow (North Midlands) Cudgel
Balter, Baltered (North Midlands) To Matt, Matted.
Band, falling Flat plain linen collar worn instead of a ruff.
Bandog A fierce watchdog.
Bandore Stringed musical instrument like a Lute or Guitar.
Barb, or Barbary Horse A breed of horse from “Barbery” or Berber, coast of the Mediteranean. Smaller than the Arab horse
Barber-monger An insult of social position.
Barnard, Barnacle A member of a group of swindlers; he first appears to be the victim of a joke in which the dupe takes part.
Barnard’s law A special “department” of the cony-catcher’s craft. The dupe is persuaded to think he is cheating others
Barred Dice See Dicing terms.
Bartholomew Babies Dolls similar to those sold at Bartholomew Fair.
Base An insult of social position.
Bash To be put out of countenance.
Basil A fetter
Basilisco A piece of heavy ordinance, cannon.
Basinet A round, bowl-like pot helm.
Bat-fowling Cony catching at cards.
Bate Strife or Dicord.
Batlet A bat used to beat clothes in the wash
Batteler A rank among the poor students at Oxford.
Bauer Beaver, the lower face portion of the helmet.
Bausan Horse colors White spots on a coloured background
Bawd A lower class woman, generally a prostitute.
Bawdy Basket Name for a peddling woman.
Bawker a rougish player in a Bowling Alley who has confederates in the audience.
Bay (French, Bai; Spanish, Bayo; Latin, Badius) Horse colours A chestnut coloured body with black points (which make it different to a bay)
Bayamblanc (French) Horse colours Bay or Chestnut with white points.
Baybauson (French) Horse colours Bay or Chestnut with white spots.
Bayclere (French) Horse colours A brightly coloured bay.
Beadle 1. One who makes a proclamation for another, or who bears another’s warrant or mandate for a duty. 2. A Herald, or crier. 3. An under-baliff or tipstaff. 4. An officer appointed by a Parish to keep order in church, to punish petty offenders and act as messenger of the Parish n general. 5. A Parish Constable.
Beak 1. To season by heat. 2. Magistrate
Beast A bestial insult
Beater Taker-up, the first person in a group of Cony- catchers to introduce himself to the dupe.
Beaupere Companion
Beck Constable
Beggarly An insult of social position.
Bell-Brow A place where one might find a receiver of stolen property.
Bellman Watchman or Town Crier.
Belly Cheat Apron
Bench-whistler Idler
Bene Good.
Bene faker of Gybes One who manufactures false passes, licences, etc.
Beneship Very Good, Goodness.
Beray Befoul
Bestraighted Distraught
Bett Past tense and participle of “To Beat”
Bevor A piece of plate armor protecting the throat and chin.
Biggin Close fitting cap worn by babies.
Billman (arch.) a Member of the watch who carried a Bill.
Bing To go.
Bing a waste! Go you hence!, Bugger off!
Bird A cozener’s dupe.
Bit Bite. Coin or Money.
Black Boy Black Coat Parson, Priest
Black Jack Leather drinking mug, tarred on the outside. Also Jack.
Bleater Victim of a “Jack in a box” (q.v.)
Bleating Cheat Calf or sheep
Blood A fast or foppish man.
Blow Inform.
Blower Informer.
Blue Bottle Constable
Blue Coat Beadle or servant in livery
Bob 1. To steal from a person; 2. To make fun of a person.
Boil To betray.
Boll To drink.
Bolt 1. A roll off textile fabric; 2. To stir.
Bombast Stuffing for clothes.
Boon Good?
Boot-haler A freebooter or a Brigand.
Booty 1. A form of play that begins with one player intentionally losing to encourage their oppononent to gamble more readily
Bord A shilling.
Borsholder A petty constable.
Boun To get onesself ready
Bouse 1. Alcoholic Drink; 2. To consume such.
Bousing ken Ale house.
Brabble To quarrel.
Brach A bitch hound.
Brazen-faced An insult of a moral nature
Bread sippets Slices of toast laid under meat to soak up juices
Bribering Stealing
Bristle Dice See Dicing Terms.
Broomman A street sweeper or scavenger.
Buck 1. Large wooden tub with a lid; 2. Clothes prepared for washing; 3. The water involved. 4. The action of washing
Budge a beak To Flee from Justice.
Budget A bag or wallet.
Bufe, Bugher (Bufay or Buufer) A dog.
Bully rook Fine fellow
Bung A purse, a pocket.
Buy A purse.
By heaven An emphatic oath
By my troth A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
By St George An emphatic oath
By the Mass An emphatic oath
By the Rood An emphatic oath
By this hand A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
By this light A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
By’r lady An emphatic oath
Cackling-cheat Cock, capon, chicken
Cacodaemon An evil spirit.
Caitiff An insult of social position.
Calenture A stroke
Caliver A light Musket, a Carbine
Callet A drab.
Canary A fortified wine
Candlemas February 2 and the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.
Canions Loose breeches, usually worn as undergarments.
Cannikin The plague.
Cannon, Lower Piece of plate armor protecting the lower arm. Also called a Vambrace.
Cannon, Upper Piece of plate armor protecting the upper arm.
Canon Law The body of law, apart from the common law, which was applied in ecclesiastical courts, and related mainly to religious and Church matters.
Cant 1. The creole and jargon spoken by thieves, beggers, and vagabonds. 2. To speak this secret language. 3. To beg in a whining fashion.
Cantel The protuberant part at the rear of a saddle.
Cap-case Traveling bag.
Capon A bestial insult
Carcanet A collar of Jewels.
Carl A common fellow, a country man.
Carrel A cubbyhole office in a library or a cloister.
Casson Cheese.
Cast 1. Condemn. 2. Overthrow.
Caster Cloak
Castle v. To See or Look
Catchpole An officer employed for making arrests.
Cater 1. A person who buys provisions, or caters. 2. a four on a die.
Cates Foodstuffs or victuals.
Caudel Hot, spiced wine made with gruel
Caul A spider’s web.
Cautel Precaution or wariness.
Cent/Sant A card game whose goal is to win a hundred points.
Chafer A saucepan.
Chapman A trader, a salesman, a bargainer.
Charger A serving dish
Charm A person that picks locks.
Cheap To trade or Bargain.
Cheaped Something gained at a bargain.
Cheat 1. A fine, forfeiture or reversion that falls to a landlord OR gallows or gibbit
Cheats/Chats Gallows
Chepemans Cheapside Market.
Chestnut Horse colours A chestnut coloured body (Light, bright, dark, or brown) with points of the same colour
Chip A worthless thing.
Chop To buy and sell.
Chop a card To change a card’s place in the deck secretly.
Chopping Vigorous, “Strapping”
Christendom The Christian World as a whole.
Churl An insult of social position.
Churlish An insult of social position.
Cinque A five on a die.
Citron A pale yellow color
Clapperdudgeon 1. Chief Beggar. 2. A beggar born. 3. A term of reproach.
Clark Clerk
Clewner Chiefman among Rogers, or beggars pretending scholarship.
Cleym A sore.
Clink, the A debtor’s prison
Clinker To cause to shrink.
Close stool A chamber pot hidden inside a seat with a lid.
Clothman A clothier.
Cloy To “snap,” steal, obstruct, or encumber.
Cloyed To be intruded upon by others claiming a share.
Cly To steal or seize.
Cly the jerk To be whipped.
Clyster thread A thread inserted into the skin to caused a localized irritation believed to draw the infection away from another part of the body
Coads An emphatic oath
Coads-nigs An emphatic oath
Cob A short legged stout type of horse for riding. Not a special breed.
Cockle/Corncockle A weed of cultivation.
Cocklorel An insult of a moral nature
Codso A strong oath, a rude word (“God’s Own”?)
Coffe Cough
Cog 1. A type of cargo ship. 2. a coin. 3. To cheat at dice or cards, or otherwise practice deceit
Coif 1. A close fitting head covering with a whole for the face, such as those worn by Nuns. 2. A Mail hood worn by men at arms.
Coistril An insult of social position.
Cokes An insult of an intellectual character
Cole A cheating knave.
Collops Chops of meat
Colour 1. Pretence. 2. A false appearance of correctness.
Colt 1. A cheating knave. 2. An innkeeper who becomes the victim of rank-riders.
Comfits Sweets
Commission Shirt
Commodity 1. Advantage, Profit. 2. A parcel of goods handed over by a money lender instead of money (“a commodity of brown paper”). 3. A Prostitute.
Complected The balance of one’s humours (shown in your face)
Conceit, to take a To sicken of some morbid affection.
Congee To make a ceremonious bow.
Conject To devise or plot.
Contraries False dice with an opposite tendency to those that are in play.
Conveyance A trick or piece of roguery.
Conycatch To Con or Cheat
Cope To fasten up a ferret’s mouth.
Copesmate Associate, Comrade.
Copy, to change one’s To alter ones behavior.
Cornipes A Horse.
Cornuto A cuckold (literally, “Furnished with horns”)
Corporal Oath Corporale Juramentum, taken while touching a sacred object.
Corsie A corrosive.
Costiveness Constipation
Cote-Card Court or face card.
Couch A form of embroidery.
Couch a hogshead To lie down to sleep.
Counsellor Solicitor, Advising barrister.
Country Often used in the place of “County”, ergo a “Countryman of mine” means a person from my country
Couples Pairs of leashes holding two hunting dogs.
Courtesy-man The spokesman of a company of beggars pretending to be ex-soldiers; any speaker for a group of others
Courtlax Cutlass
Cousin A dupe.
Couter A piece of plate armor protecting the elbow joint. (Aka “Elbow Cop”)
Cove A man, person, or fellow.
Covert Protection, shelter
Covetise Couvetousness.
Coxcomb An insult of an intellectual character
Crack Talk, big, boast, brag.
Crackmans a Hedge.
Cramp-rings Fetters.
Crank, The Epilepsy, or the “Falling Sickness”. A “counterfeit crank” is one who pretends to be an
Craven. An insult based on social status
Cuffin A man, fellow.
Cuir Boulli Leather that has been hardened by the application of boiling water.
Cullionly An insult of social position.
Cur A bestial insult
Curb The curber/angler/hooksman’s hook.
Curber See Angler.
Cursitor A Wanderer, vagabond, or tramp.
Curtal “Curtail” 1. A small piece of artillery. 2. A horse with a docked tail. 3. Used as a term of abuse. 4. A vagabond who wears a short cloak.
Cushnet A little cushion.
Cut To speak or say.
Cut Bene Whids, to To speak properly, or truely.
Cut benely, to To speak in the fashion of one of gentle birth.
Cuttle Knife
Cuttle-Bung A cutpurse’s knife.
Dag Pistol
Dappled Horse colours Marked with round apple sized spots. Therefore a “dapple gray” horse has dark spots on a gray background.
Darkmans The night.
Dauphin (French) The heir to the French Throne.
Dead Spaniard A grey brown colour
Decoy A card game.
Dell A young vagrant woman.
Demander One who gains monies through menace.
Demanders for glimmer Beggers who seek relief on the plea that their homes and goods have been burnt.
Demi or Demi-bar A false die that has hone half the usual Bias.
Denier A penny (from the French for 1/12 of a sou)
Deuce A two on dice.
Deuce-ace “two-one”, Acey-Deucy roll on dice.
Devonshire Kersey A form of rough cloth, originally from Devonshire.
Dewse-a-vill The country, as opposed to the Town.
Dicker Half-score, or ten.
Dickering and Doddering Shivering.
Dish of coals A frying pan containing hot coals with a griddle on top.
Dispence Heavy spending.
Diver Snakesman.
Doddypol A foolish person.
Dodkin “Doit”, a Dutch Coin, or any small coin.
Dog A bestial insult
Dorsermaker Maker of Panniers.
Dosser Basket.
Dottrel 1. Kind of Plover. 2. An easy prey.
Doxy A female vagabond, travelling usually with a man.
Draw To pick a pocket.
Draw-latch A petty thief.
Drift A scheme.
Drigger A thief.
Drink Tobacco To draw in, or inhale tobacco smoke.
Drover A cheating horse-dealer in Smithfield Market.
Drug Drudge.
Dry-vat A box or cask for dry goods.
Duds 1. Clothes (“lag of duds” a washbundle). 2. Things in general.
Duke of Exeter’s daughter The Rack, imported by the D.of Exeter in Henry VIII’s time.
Dummerer A begger who feigns dumbness.
Dun From the Saxon “Dun” or Chestnut-brown Horse colours A dull or dingy brown. If nearly gray, it may be called “Blue-dun”, if almost brown a “Golden” or “Yellow dun”. Dun Horses may have black socks
Dup To open (a door or gate)
Dure Endure.
Eater of broken meats An insult of social position (indicating that the person eats other people’s leftovers).
Faith A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
False An insult of a moral nature
Fauvus (Latin; French, Fauve; Italian, Falbo) Horse colours Tawny, or Brown
Ferrandus (Latin; French, Ferraunt) Horse colours Iron grey.
Ferrantamblanc (French) Horse colours Iron grey with white points.
Ferrauntpompyle (French) Horse colours Irongreyy with darker, apple sized spots.
Fig of Spain A rude gesture, consisting of a fist with the thumb inserted through the first or second fingers.
Filch a thief.
Filthy An insult of a health nature.
Finical An insult of social position.
Flense To skin.
Flux Dysentery.
Foin (1) Stab with a spear (2) To engage in sexual congress.
Fool An insult of an intellectual character
Foolish An insult of an intellectual character
Footpad Mugger
Foresworn An insult of a moral nature
Forsooth A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
French Pox The Spanish Disease, the English Curse.
Gallow To Frighten
Geck A fool
Glass-gazing An insult of a social or moral nature (I *think* suggesting that the person is a fortune
God ‘a mercy (God have mercy) An emphatic oath
God’s ‘zounds) A strong oath
God’s Arms A strong oath
God’s blessed mother A strong oath
God’s blessed will A strong oath
God’s Blood (= ‘Slud) A strong oath
God’s Body (Bodikins) A strong oath
God’s Bones A strong oath
God’s Bread A strong oath
God’s Corpus A strong oath
God’s Crown A strong oath
God’s Death A strong oath
God’s Dignity A strong oath
God’s Feet A strong oath
God’s Flesh (=Fish) A strong oath
God’s Foot A strong oath
God’s Fury A strong oath
God’s Gown A strong oath
God’s Hat A strong oath
God’s Heart (= Heartlings) A strong oath
God’s Hook (‘zooks) A strong oath
God’s Lid A strong oath
God’s Lids A strong oath
God’s Life (= Lifelings) A strong oath
God’s Light] A strong oath
God’s Loaves A strong oath
God’s Malt A strong oath
God’s Mercy/vengence An emphatic oath
God’s Nails A strong oath
God’s Name A strong oath
God’s Nigs A strong oath
God’s Pity (pittikins) A strong oath
God’s Plenty A strong oath
God’s precious blood [‘sprecious] A strong oath
God’s Teeth A strong oath
God’s truth An emphatic oath
God’s Wounds (= nons A strong oath
Goodman/Goodwife A term or respect for a common person, one down from Mister or
Gorget A plate protecting the neck or throat.
Gossip (“God-sibling”) An old friend, especially female.
Greave A Piece of armor that protects the shin and calf region.
Grisel (French) Horse colours Grey
Griselferraunt (French) Horse colours Grey with dark grey points
Grisliard (French) Horse colours Very small spots of white on a grey coat
Groat A silver four pence piece.
Halberd A polearem that is still carried by the Yeoman of the Guard.
Haquenai (French)[Middle English, Hakene] A riding horse, usually small, and sometimes a pacing horse
Highmen/lowmen False dice altered to throw High/low.
Hobyn [Hobi, Hobin] A hobby — a small horse or middle-sized pony from Ireland
Honey-stalk A regionalism used to denote stalks of clover
Hongre (French, Cheval Hongre) A gelding.
Hookman Hooker, or a thief who uses a long hook to steal things
Horse Coper Farrier or Blacksmith.
Hundred-pound An insult of social position.
I’ faith/In faith A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
Iconoclasts Protestant religious hooligans who destry images on the grounds
In good earnest A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
Inkhorn terms Old, little known words used for obfuscation
Jackanapes A bestial insult
Jakes Privy. Toilet.
Jennet (Spanish, Jineta; French, Genet) A small Spanish horse; also a light horseman.
Jesu An emphatic oath
Jordan Chamber pot
Knave Knavish. An insult of social position.
La A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children, and used mostly by women
Leman (arch.) male or female lover
Liard (French)[Lyart, lyard] Horse colours Very small spots of white on a grey background, or vice versa, giving a silvery grey appearance.
Lily-livered An insult of social position.
Lour Money
Lousy (Louse ridden) An insult of a health nature.
Lurdane An insult of a moral nature
Lying An insult of a moral nature
Marchpane Marzipan
Marrano A Portuguese Sephardic Jew
Marry An emphatic oath
Marry gip An emphatic oath
Melancholia Depression
Mint Gold
Mobled Muffled
Murrey Dull brown purple colour
Nasal A metal bar sometimes fitted to a pot helm to cover the nose.
Natural An insult of an intellectual character
Nightrail Nightgown
Nithing (arch.) Wimp
Nonny-nonny A term of indelicate allusion, based on the practice of using these words to render rude Italian songs
Od rabbit it An emphatic oath
Od rat it An emphatic oath
Od save us An emphatic oath
On my conscience A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
One that wouldst be a bawd An insult of a moral nature
One-trunk-inheriting An insult of social position.
Orangado A Seville Orange, partially hollowed and filled with sugar.
Ordinary, the The set meal at an Inn, often stew thickened with vegetables and bread
Palliard Begger
Pandar An insult of a moral nature
Pannam Bread
Papal Bull A decree issued by the Pope.
Pardy A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
Pash Smash
Passado Early version of the fencing lunge.
Patten A large wooden overshoe worn to protect the slippers.
Pauldron A piece of armor that protects the shoulder joint.
Peledargent (French) Horse colors: “Silver-skin”
Penner A leather belt pouch designed to carry pens, penknife and inks.
Petard An explosive charge used in seiges.
Piccardils Stiffened strips of cloth to support a ruff on a collar.
Pick 1. A hand weapon used to punture armor. 2. A Battering Ram with a narrow point.
Piebald Horse colours Two different colours, strictly speaking black and white. See also Skew Bald.
Pike A very long lance or spear-like weapon.
Pillicock (1) The penis. (2) A vulgar term for a boy.
Plainnesse The use of Plain, well known terms
Points 1. Laces for tying clothes shut or together. 2. Horse colours: The Mane, Tail, and most of the legs. May also indicate the muzzle.
Poleyn A piece of armor that protects the knee joint. Aka a Couter, or in modern language, a “Knee Cop”
Pomyle Pommele (French) Horse colours: Marked with round apple sized spots. See also Dappled.
Pon my honor/faith A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
Posset A warming or medicinal drink.
Potch Thrust
Pottage Stew
Prating An insult of an intellectual character
Prig (1)(2) To steal
Primero A complex card game similar to poker.
Proud An insult of social position.
Punk Prostitute.
Punkateero A purveyor of Punks, a Pimp.
Rascal Rascally. An insult of social position.
Recreant An insult of a moral nature
Recusant Someone who breaks the law by not going to Church on Sundays
Roan Horse colours: A mixed colour with a decided shade of red. They may also have grey or white
Roaring Boys Hooligans, Thugs
Rogue Roguish. An insult of social position.
Ruffian Ruffianly. An insult of social position.
Runagate An insult of a moral nature
Rushlight A cheap candle made by dipping a dried rush stem into tallow (aka a “Tallow Dip”)
Sabaton (French) A Piece of Armor protecting the upper surface of the foot.
Sack Sherry
Sallet A Type of Pot Helm.
Samite A heavy Satin
Sauced Drink Tobacco or food that have been “enhanced” by the addition of herbs
Scabbed An insult of a health nature.
Screw A form of battering ram with a twisting action to increase damage.
Scurvy An insult of a health nature.
Secretary Hand The prevalent style of handwriting
Shallow An insult of social position.
Sherrif A royal official who lookas after the Crown’s business in a particular shire.The word was originally ‘Shire Reeve’
Skewbald Horse colours Two different colours, generally large, irregular patches of white on a different coloured background other than black and white
Slave An insult of social position.
So God mend me A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
Sonipes Horse (poetic/literary term). A bright chestnut color, reddish brown
Sorel Sor (French; English, Sorrel) Horse colours
Spada Spado. A gelding, or spayed horse.
Stays Corsets, Bodices
Stews A brothel
Stockfish A form of fish dried to be stored forever.
Stomacher A boned triangular piece of cloth, often embroidered, pinned to the front of the corsets.
Stoned Horse Stallion.
Stud A collection for the breeding of horses, now usually centred on a stallion, but originally centred on the mares
Super-serviceable An insult of social position.
Tarre To provoke or incite
Tawny Orange-Gold color
Tercio Spanish equivalent of a Brigade (about 3000 men, including pike and arqubusiers).
Tertian fever Three day Malaria
Tester Roof of a four poster bed.
Three-suited An insult of social position.
Tithe A tax paid to the Church, ormally one tenth of a person’s income.
Toad A bestial insult
Tobacco Introduced to England by Hawkins and as fashionable (and early on as expensive as) Cocaine.
Trained Bands Company size groups that formed the bulk of the English Military. Regional militia.
Traitor Traitorous. An insult of a moral nature
Trencher Dinner plate, early of bread, now of wood, silver, or pewter.
Trucklebed Small bed on wheels that was normally pushed under another bed when not in use. Trundlebed.
Trull Prostitute.
Trust me A polite “oath”, suitable for women and children
Tunnage and Poundage men Customs officers.
Upright Man Sturdy Begger or vagrant.
Vails (North Midlands) Perks or Tips
Varius (Latin; French, Vair) Horse colours
Varlet An insult of social position.
Varmint Vermin
Veney Playing a friendly practice fight with sticks, often ending in broken bones.
Veney stick A heavy stick, like a sledgehammer handle used for sword practice.
Vile An insult of social position.
Villain Villainous. An insult of social position.
Whoreson An insult of social position.
Winding up a jack Winding the clockwork mechanism for turning a spit for even cooking.
Worsted-stocking An insult of social position.
Wretch An insult of social position.
Writ A legal document which could be obtained in order to bring a case to court without the normal time it took.
Yard The Naughty bits of a Stallion.


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