Shakespeare Glossary: B
BABE: baby; a child’s rag doll.
BACCARE: stand back!
BACCHUS: the god of wine and the son of Zeus and Semele.
BACCHANALS: drunken dance to Bacchus.
BACKWARD: what lies behind; in the past.
BACK: sound all the way through; rear of an army; support, backing; to mount (invented by Shk.).
BACK-FRIEND: a bailiff (usually the bailiff approached from the back to arrest the criminal); false friend.
BACKWARD: the past; behind.
BACON: a man from the country.
BACON-FED: country-bred (the modern form is “chaw-bacon”); also slang for “fat”.
BAFFLE: to disgrace.
BAG: to retreat without surrender of any goods.
BAIT: to harass (i.e. “bear-baiting”).
BAKED-MEATS: meat-pies, pastry.
BALD: naked; bare; bare-headed.
BALDRICK: a belt.
BALE: evil; mischief; injury.
BALK (1): to let slip; to dispute logic.
BALK (2): a little mound or heap.
BALKED: heaped up.
BALLOW: syn. for cudgel.
BALM: to anoint with oil; to sooth, heal (used 3 times in Shk.).
BALMY: fragrant and soothing (invented by Shk.).
BAN: to curse.
BAND: bond; obligation; agreement or promise.
BANDY: to strike or throw; to fight; to beat to and fro like a tennis ball.
BANE: poison; murder, destruction, cause of death of another.
BANK: to coast, skirt.
BARN (1): a child.
BARN (2): to store in a barn.
BARNACLE: species of goose supposed to be hatched from sea shells.
BASE (1): a boy’s game, sometimes called “prisoners’ base.”
BASE (2): reason.
BASE (3): dark-coloured; low-lying.
BASE-COURT: outer court of a mansion or castle.
BASES: pleated skirt of cloth, brocade, or velvet, reaching from waist to knee.
BASE-VIOL: an early version of a modern cello.
BASILISK: a reptile, said to kill with its breath; large cannon, made of brass.
BASIMECU: negative term for a Frenchman.
BASTARD (1): sweet Spanish wine.
BASTARD (2): counterfeit; false.
BATE (1): strife.
BATE (2): a bird’s beating wings.
BATE (3): to blunt; to reduce or diminish.
BAT-FOWLING: catching birds in the dark with a bright light.
BATLET: a small bat, used for beating clothes.
BAWCOCK: a fine fellow.
BAY: deep barking; to pursue with barking.
BEADSMAN: one paid to pray for others (see hermits).
BEARING-CLOTH: child’s christening robe.
BEAT: to flutter; to think deeply or ponder.
BEAVER: face guard of a helmet.
BEDLAM: the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethelem in London, used as an insane asylum.
BED PRESSER: lazy person.
BEETLE (1): a kind of mallet.
BEETLE (2): overhang threateningly.
BEETLE-BROWS: bushy eyebrows.
BEING (1): life, existence.
BEING (2): abode; dwelling.
BELDAME: grandmother; hag.
BELLONA: the goddess of war (Macbeth is “Bellona’s bridegroom”).
BE-METE: to measure.
BE-MOILED: to befoul with dirt.
BERGOMASK: a rustic dance (named after the people of Bergamo, Venice).
BETEEM: to grant.
BETIDE: to happen.
BEZONIAN: a beggar; rascal.
BIGGEN: a night-cap.
BILBERRY: the whortleberry.
BILBO: a sword. Comes from the sword Bilbao, known for its amazing blade.
BILBOES: shackles on an iron bar locked to the floor.
BILL: a bill-hook, a weapon.
BIN: been, are.
BIRD-BOLT: a bolt to be shot from a crossbow at birds.
BIRDING: part. hawking at partridges.
BIRTH-STRANGLED: killed at moment of birth.
BIS COCTUS: twice cooked.
BLANK: the white mark in the middle of a target.
BLENCH: to move; flinch.
BLIND-WORM: small, venomous snake.
BLOOD-BOLTERED: hair matted with blood.
BLOOD-DRINKING: “blood-drinking sighs”: reference to the belief that every sigh causes the heart to lose a drop of blood.
BLOW: to inflate.
BOARD: to make advances to; accost.
BOB (1): to taunt.
BOB (2): to cheat.
BOB (3): to bang or thump.
BODGE: to give way.
BODKIN: dagger; long pin for the hair.
BOLD: to embolden.
BOLTED: sifted, refined.
BOLTER: a sieve.
BOLTING-HUTCH: a hutch in which meal was sifted.
BOMBARD: a barrel, a drunkard.
BONA-ROBAS: a harlot.
BOND: that to which one is bound.
BOOK: learning; writing on a tablet.
BOOT: help, use.
BOOTLESS: without advantage, useless.
BOOTS: bots, a kind of worm.
BORE: calibre of a gun.
BOREAS: the north wind.
BOSKY: covered with underwood.
BOSOM: wish, heart’s desire.
BOTS: worms which infest horses.
BOTTLE: a bundle of hay.
BOURN: a boundary.
BRACE: armour for the arm, state of defence.
BRACH: a hound bitch.
BRAVE: handsome, well-dressed.
BRAWL: a dance.
BREAST: voice (Twelfth Night, 2.3).
BREATHE: to exercise.
BREECHING: liable to be whipt.
BREED-BATE: a breeder of debate, a mischief-maker.
BREESE: the gadfly.
BREWAGE: brewed drink.
BRIBE-BUCK: a stolen buck.
BRING: to attend one on a journey.
BRING: to attend one on a journey.
BROCK: a badger, a term of contempt.
BROKE: to act as a procurer.
BROKEN: having lost some teeth by age.
BROKEN MUSIC: the music of stringed instruments.
BROKER: a sly and crafty knave.
BROTHERHOOD: trading company.
BROWNIST: a follower of a sect of Puritans.
BRUIT (1): noise, report, rumour.
BRUSH: rude assault.
BUCK: suds or lye for washing clothes in.
BUCK-BASKET: the basket in which clothes are carried to the.
BUCK-WASHING: washing in lye.
BUG: a bugbear, a spectre.
BULLY-ROOK: a bragging cheater.
BURGONET: a kind of helmet.
BURST: to break.
BUTT-SHAFT: a light arrow for shooting at a target.