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A Glossary of Archaic Words and
Phrases in the Authorised Version of the
Bible and the Book of Common Prayer




Macmillan and Co.


[ The right of Translation is reserved]



IT is the object of the following Glossary to explain and
illustrate all such words, phrases, and constructions, in the
Authorised Version of the Old and New Testaments and
the Apocrypha, and in the Book of Common Prayer, as are
either obsolete or archaic. In books which have become so
familiar, and which have so leavened our language, it is
somewhat difficult to fix a standard by which to decide
whether a word is partially or entirely obsolete, whether the
phrase of which it is part is fallen into disuse, and whether
the construction in which it is found is such as no modern
writer would employ. In endeavouring to form an opinion
for myself on these points, I have excluded from the com-
parison all such works in modern English literature as are
immediately or indirectly derived from the books in question ;
I mean all sermons, devotional writings, and the so-called
religious newspapers and periodicals. Their language is to
so large an extent made up of unconscious quotation from
our Authorised Version that, while they keep alive much
that is valuable, they create the impression that the language
has undergone far less change than has in reality befallen it.
Setting aside therefore all literature of this kind, I have en-
deavoured, in the case of each word, or phrase, or construc-
tion, to ascertain whether it would find a place naturally in
the usual prose writing of the day : I say ' naturally,' because
w. b


I wish to exclude all conscious and intentional employment
of archaisms. It is necessary, moreover, to take prose as
the standard, because in all languages poetry has dominion
over the words of many generations. By this subjective
process I may have excluded some expressions which others
would have inserted, and I may have inserted some which
they would have excluded. I will only ask any reader,
before pronouncing a judgement upon this point, to consider
carefully the context of the passages which are in each case
selected for illustration. There are of course instances in
which there will be differences of opinion, but I hope I shall
have succeeded in making these as few as possible.

In considering the language of our English Bible, we
must bear in mind that it has become what it is by a growth
of eighty-six years, from the publication of Tyndale's New
Testament in 1525 to that of the Authorised Version in 1611.
Further, it must be remembered that our translators founded
their work upon the previous versions, retaining whatever in
them could be retained, and amending what was faulty.
The result was therefore of necessity a kind of mosaic, and
the English of the Authorised Version represents, not the
language of 1611 in its integrity, but the language which
prevailed from time to time during the previous century. It
is in the writings of this period, therefore, that illustrations
are to be sought, and from them the examples given in the
present volume are chiefly derived. All these examples,
except where the contrary is expressly stated, have been
gathered in the course of independent reading, and in the
few instances where quotations have been borrowed they
have been carefully verified.

At the end I have added, for convenience of reference,
an index of the editions of books most frequently quoted.
In the case of works not included in this index, as they are
less frequently referred to, the date of the edition is given


with the quotation. I may take this opportunity of mention-
ing a curious bibliographical fact with regard to Udal's
translation of Erasmus's Paraphrase, which I have not seen
elsewhere mentioned. Of the first volume of this work,
printed in 1548, three editions at least were issued, all bear-
ing the same date. Before describing the differences between
them it will be as well to state that the volume contains the
Paraphrase of Erasmus on the four Gospels and the Acts of
the Apostles, that each book is preceded by the translator's
dedication, and by Erasmus's preface, and that, in all the
editions of 1548, each book has the folios separately num-
bered and a separate set of signatures. The three copies
bearing the date 1548, which I have examined, are roughly
distinguished as follows :

In (i) the folios are not numbered in the translator's
dedication or in Erasmus's preface, but in the paraphrase

In (2) the system of numbering the folios is so irregular
that it can best be distinguished as agreeing neither with (i)
nor (3).

In (3) the numbering of the folios includes both the
translator's dedication and Erasmus's preface.

In the edition of 1551 the folios are numbered continu-
ously throughout the volume.

As I only recently discovered these variations, I used for
purposes of quotation copies of the editions marked (i) and
(3) indiscriminately. All the quotations in the letters A C
are from the latter. In the rest of the volume the quotations
are all from (i).

It has fallen to my lot to finish this work alone. A
portion of it was published some years ago in a periodical
for Sunday Schools called 'The Monthly Paper,' under the
title of ' Notes on Scriptural and Liturgical Words, by the


Rev. J. Eastwood, M.A.,' but this did not extend beyond
the letter H.

Mr Eastwood is known as the author of 'The History of
the Parish of Ecclesfield, Yorkshire,' and was deservedly
esteemed by the late Mr Herbert Coleridge as one of the
most indefatigable contributors to the English Dictionary
projected by the Philological Society.

He had completed the work on the same plan, and his
manuscript was then put into my hands for revision. With
his consent I modified the treatment of the words, in which
he aimed more especially at the instruction of Sunday
School children, and endeavoured, in most instances by
recasting each article, to render the work a contribution to
English lexicography. Besides this, I added a large quan-
tity of examples from my own reading, arranging them in
chronological order, and more than trebled the number of
words in Mr Eastwood's original list. For such etymological
notes as occur in the course of the volume I am alone
responsible. I would willingly have avoided speaking so
much as I have been compelled to do in the first person.
Had my colleague lived to see the completion of the book
in which he took so much interest, it would have had the
advantage of his careful revision, which now has been given
only to the first few sheets. Wanting his friendly counsel,
it has been my endeavour to carry out his wishes to the full,
and with this end in view I have bestowed much time and
labour, in the midst of many interruptions, upon the com-
pletion of what would have been the better for his superin-

To other labourers in the same field I have to express
my obligations for the assistance I have derived from their
works. I would especially mention the following:

A Short Explanation of Obsolete Words in our Version
of the Bible, &c. By the Rev. H. Cotton, D.C.L. Oxf. 1832.


Scripture and the Authorized Version of Scripture, &c.
By Samuel Hinds, D.D. Lond. 1845.

A Glossary to the Obsolete and Unusual Words and
Phrases of the Holy Scriptures, in the Authorized English
Version. By J. Jameson. Lond. 1850.

A Scripture and Prayer Book Glossary; being an expla-
nation of Obsolete Words and Phrases in the English Bible,
Apocrypha, and Book of Common Prayer. By the Rev.
John Booker, A.M. 4th ed. Dublin, 1859.

On the Authorized Version of the New Testament, &c.
By R. C. Trench, D.D. 2nd ed. Lond. 1859.

Motes upon Crystal : or Obsolete Words of the Author-
ized Version of the Holy Bible, &c., Part i. By the Rev.
Kirby Trimmer, A. B. Lond. 1864.

It is my intention at some future time to extend the
plan of the present work to the other English Versions of
the Bible, so as to form a complete Dictionary of the
archaisms which they contain, and to illustrate a well
marked period in the history of the English language. For
this, however, I must wait for more leisure than I can at
present command.


23 Jan. 1866.


WHEN this work, which for want of a better title is still
called The Bible Word-Book, was first issued I did not ex-
pect that eighteen years would pass before its imperfections
and shortcomings were to some extent made good in a second
edition. But as little did I anticipate that for nearly four-
teen of those years I should be called upon to discharge the
duties of a very responsible College office, and to act as
Secretary to the Company appointed for the Revision of the
Authorised Version of the Old Testament. In one respect
this delay has been of advantage, for in the course of the
Revision work my attention has been called to the language
of the Authorised Version, sentence by sentence, phrase by
phrase, and word by word, in such a way that I trust nothing
of importance has escaped my notice. In this second
edition therefore will be found many archaisms of language
and usage which were not recorded in the former, and many
additional illustrations which I have gathered in the course
of eighteen years' reading. The quotations have been veri-
fied throughout


The general plan of the book is sufficiently described in
the original Preface, and I have nothing to add to what is
there stated. But with regard to the variations in different
copies of Udal's translation of Erasmus's Paraphrase on the
New Testament to which I there called attention, although
I have found nothing to correct in my original statement as
absolutely wrong it is so far inadequate, that while the
three classes into which I roughly divided the copies I had
examined remain the same, there are within these classes
varieties which are not readily to be accounted for. The
only explanation which occurs to me I propose as a con-
jecture and it must be taken for what it is worth. By
the Injunctions of Edward VI., which were issued in 1547,
it was ordered that a copy of the English Translation of
Erasmus's Paraphrase of the Gospels should be placed in
every parish church within a year after the date of the
visitation which was then to be made. It was therefore
necessary in a comparatively short time to produce several
thousand copies, and it appears to have been more ex-
peditious to set up the book in several forms and to
print a small number of copies from each than to print
a very large number from one set of type. I suppose
therefore that when a sheet had been set up several copies
were struck off and given out as 'copy' to different com-
positors, without any instructions to follow minutely the
arrangement of lines and pages, and that this was done
throughout. In any case such an explanation does account
for the variations which I have observed, whether they were
actually brought about in the way I have indicated or not.
In the present edition all the quotations from Udal's Eras-
mus have been made from a copy in my own possession,


which belongs to type (i) described at p. vii., but to facilitate
the verification of the passages I have added in each case
the chapter and verse of the books quoted.

It only remains for me now to record my thanks to
those who have kindly rendered me assistance in the course
of the work ; and among these I would enumerate the Rev.
John Dowden, the Rev. Dr Gotch, the Rev. Professor
Lumby, the Rev. Dr Moulton, the Rev. C. P. Phinn, the
Rev. Professor Skeat, and the Rev. W. H. Walford.

W. A. W.
14 Dec. 1883.


A, An. i. AT the time of the printing of our Authorised
Version (1611) the usage of a or an before words beginning with
h was by no means uniform. Thus we find 'a half '(Ex. xxv. 10),
'a hurt' (Ex. xxi. c\ l a hairy man' (Gen. xxvii. n), ' a hammer'
(Jer. xxiii. 29), ' a hole' (Ex. xxxix. 23*), l a hard thing' (2 Kings
ii. 10), l a harp' (i Chr. xxv. 3), 'a high wall' (Is. xxx. 13), 'a horse-
man ' (2 Mace. xii. 35), ' a hot burning ' (Lev. xiii. 24), and so on ;
while, on the other hand, we more frequently meet with 'an
half (Ex. xxxvii. 6*), 'an hammer' (Judg. iv. 21), ' an hole' (Ex.
xxviii. 32), ' an hairy man' (2 Kings i. 8), ' an hard man ' (Matt.
xxv. 24), 'an harp' (i Sam. xvi. 16)^ 'an high hand' (Ex. xiv. 8),
'an. horse' (Ps. xxxiii. 17), 'an hundred' (Gen. xi. 10), 'dwhot
burning oven ' (2 Esd. iv. 48). The former usage appears on the
whole to be exceptional, and we may infer that at the beginning
of the I7th century the sound of/i had much less of the aspirate
in it than it has at the present day. It must be remembered
also that an (A.S. dn, one) was the earlier form and a the

2. A or An is used as a prefix in a manner which is now
obsolete. Thus ' a dying' (Luke viii. 42), 'a fishing' (John xxi.
3), ' an hungred ' (Matt. iv. 2), as in the following examples.

When the prophet came unto him, and said 'Set thy

house in order, for thou shalt surely die, and not live ' (2 Kings
xx.), it struck him so to the heart that he fell a-iveeping. Lati-
mer, Serm. p. 221.

* Altered in modern editions.
W. I


On a time the King had him out a hunting with him, he
made him see his mother, with whom he grew familiar. North's
Plutarch, Themistocles, p. 139.

Whereas in the meantime we see Christ's faithful and lively
images, bought with no less price than with his most precious
blood, (alas, alas !) to be an hungred, ^-thirst, <z-cold, and to lie
in darkness. Latimer, Serin, p. 37.

Thou, now a-dying, say'st thou flatterest me.

Shakespeare, Rich. II. II. I. 90.
We would so, and then go a bat-fowling.

Id. The Tempest, II. i. 185.

In these cases, 'weeping,' 'hunting,' 'dying,' &c. are verbal
nouns, the termination -ing corresponding to the A.S. -ung. Com-
pare 'a warfare,' I Cor. ix. 7. ' An-hungred' is a genuine parti-
ciple in form, used as an adjective, and the affix appears to
have an intensive force.

Yet sone a hungerd from thence I yode.

Lydgate, Minor Poems (Percy Soc.), p. 106.

Shakespeare uses the form ' a-hungry,' in The Merry Wives of
Windsor, I. i. 280, where Master Slender says, 'I am not
a-hungry, I thank you, forsooth.' Compare Sir Andrew in
Twelfth Night, ir. 3. 136 : "Twere as good a deed as to drink
when a man's a-hungry? Perhaps it was a provincial word even
in Shakespeare's time, for ' Coriolanus (r. i. 209), imitating the
language of the common people, says scornfully, 'They said
they were an-hungry?

This prefix a- or an- is generally regarded as a corruption of
the Anglo-Saxon particle on-, but more probably the two are
essentially identical and only different dialectical forms of the
same. An- with its abbreviation - is said to characterize the
dialect of the southern counties, while on- and o- mark the
northern dialect. In many instances the two forms remain side
by side, as in aboard and on board, aground and on ground
(Shakespeare, 2 Hen. IV. IV. 4. 40), a high* and on high, afoot
and on foot, asleep and on sleep (Acts xiii. 36 ; A.S. on slap\
aloft and on loft (Chaucer, Man of Law's Tale, 4697), abed and
on bed (Chaucer, Wife of Bath's Tale, 6509), apart and on

* One heaved a-high to be hurl'd down below.

Shakespeare, Rich. III. iv. 4. 86.


part (Chaucer, Shipments Tale, 14667), alive and on live
(Chaucer, Wife of Bath's Prol, 5587), aland (Sir Generydes,
93) and on land, ahead, and on head (Homilies, p. 509, 3).
Compare also the A.S. forms on-ginnan and a-ginnan, to begin,
on-weg and a-weg, away. On the other hand, most of the words
which formerly had the prefix have rejected it. Of this class are
abow, acool, adaunt, adraw, afire, &c. &c. In a work (2 Chr.
ii. 1 8) the prefix is the same as in ado. Compare Shakespeare,
2 Hen. IV. IV. 3. 124:

So that skill in the weapon is nothing without sack ; for that
sets it a-work.

And husbandmen dare not set them a ivorke. More, Utopia
(ed. Arber), p. 38.

Set your talents a works, lay not vp your tresure for taking
rust. Gosson, The Schools of Abuse (ed. Arber), p. 52.

3. Used with numerals (Luke ix. 28).

And everich of these riotoures ran,

Til thay come to the tre, and ther thay founde

Of florins fyn of gold y-coyned rounde,

Wei neygh a seven busshels, as hem thought.

Chaucer, Pardoner's Tale, 14186.

And there were foutld not past a two "hundred men slaine, and
eight knights of the round table in their pavilions. King Arthur,
c. 63, vol. I. p. 122.

Leauinge much fayre yssue, that is to witte, Edward the
Prynce a thirtene yeare of age, &c. Sir T. More, Works, p. 35.

A three yeeres a go, I had expounded the booke of Psalmes in
this my slender schoole. Calvin, On the Psalms, trans. Golding
[To the Reader, p. r].

Compare also Tyndale's version of Acts xxiv. 24, 'Aftir a cer-
tayne dayes cam Felix, and his wife Brasilia.'

4. Redundantly, in the phrase ' in a readiness ' (2 Cor. x. 6).

When al thynges were prepared in a redynes and the day of
departinge and settynge forvvarde was appoynted...the whole
armye went on shypboorde. Hall, Rich. III. fol. 16 b.

And that therfore the Skottes muste be hadde in a readines,
as it were in a standynge, readie at all occasions, in aunters the
Englishmen shoulde sturre neuer so lytle, incontinent to set
vpon them. More, Utopia (ed. Arber), p. 57.



In Josh. iv. 3, where the A.V. has ' where the priests' feet
stood firm,' the Geneva Bible reads, ' where the Priests stode in
a readines.'

Abashed, followed by ' of/ occurs in Ecclus. iv. 25, ' be
abashed of the error of thine ignorance.' The earlier versions,
from Coverdale downwards, have 'ashamed,' and our translators
in substituting a stronger word appear to have neglected to
alter the preposition to ' at' as in Tobit ii. 14.

Abate, v. t. (Lev. xxvii. 18; Deut. xxxiv. 7; Wisd. xvi. 24;
Ecclus. xxv. 23 ; I Mace. v. 3). Literally, to beat down, from
Fr. abattre; hence to lower, depress, diminish, weaken the force
of anything. In this sense it is equivalent to ' bate,' which is
merely an abbreviated form of the word.

Abate hem with benes for bollyng of her wombe.
Piers Plowman, B-text, VI. 218.

You would abate the strength of your displeasure.

Shakespeare, Mer. of Ven. v. i. 198.

Haply, my presence
May well abate the over-merry spleen,
Which otherwise would grow into extremes.

Id. Tarn, of Shrew, Ind. I. 137.

It is true, that Taxes levied by Consent of the Estate, doe
abate Mens Courage lesse. Bacon, Ess. xxix. p. 121.

Abhor, v.t. (Te Deum; Oath of Allegiance). Lat. abhorreo,
' to have the hair stand on end with terror ' (from Jwrreo, ' to
bristle ') ; hence 'to shrink from with dread.' In the old canon
law, according to Nares, it was technically employed in the
sense of ' to protest against, reject solemnly.' In Calvini Lexi-
con Jttridicum we find ' Abhorrere, alienum esse.'

I haue scene many of you whiche were wont to sporte your
selues at Theaters, when you perceiued the abuse of those
places, schoole your selues, and of your owne accorde abhorre
Playes. Gosson, Schoole of Abuse (ed. Arber), p. 58.

He condemneth the Cardinall of vntroth, accuseth hym of
dissimulation, abhorreth his practises, as by y* whiche he lost
the fruition of the K. of Englande his friendship, and might no
longer enioy it. Holinshed, Chron. p. 1517 b.


Therefore I say again,
I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul
Refuse you for my judge.

Shakespeare, Hen, VIII, II. 4. 8r.

This house is but a butchery ;
Abhor it, fear it, do not enter it.

Id. A s You Like It, II. 3. 28.

It is used in the A.V. to express several different Hebrew
words, most of which involve the idea of loathing or disgust.
But in Prov. xxii. 14, ' he that is abhorred of the Lord ' would be
better rendered ' he with whom Jehovah is angry ' (see Ps. vii.
ii ; Mai. i. 4), and 'despised' would be better than abhorred in
Deut. xxxii. 19 and I Sam. ii. 17.

Abhorring, sb. (Is. Ixvi. 24). An object of abhorrence.

Rather on Nilus' mud

Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring,

Shakespeare, A nt. and CL v. 2. 60.

Abide, v.t. (Ps. xxxvii. 9, Pr. Bk. ; Acts xx. 23). To wait for,
await ; from A. S. dbidan. Mr Wedgwood (Diet, of Eng, Etym.
s.v.) observes that in old English "the active sense of looking
out for a thing was much more strongly felt in the word abide
than it is now." He quotes in illustration of this Wiclif's ver-
sion of 2 Pet. iii. ii, "What manner men behoveth you to be in
holi livings abiding and highing unto the coming of the day of
our Lord." In the sense of awaiting it is used by Shakespeare :
Abide me, if thou darest.

Mid. Nighfs Dream, in. 2. 422.

So also in Gower (Conf. Am. I. p. 220):

This Perseus as nought seende
This mischef which that him abode.

And Tyndale (Doctr. Treat, p. 37) :

While I abode a faithful companion, which now hath taken
another voyage upon him.

In Ps. xxxvii. 7, Pr. Bk. ' abide upon' is used in the sense of
' wait upon,' as in Gower (Conf. Am. I. p. 71) :

She wolde in Ysis temple at eve
Upon her goddes grace abide
To serven him the nightes tide.


From this idea to that of simple endurance the transition
is easy (Num. xxxi. 23; Joel ii. n). Compare Shakespeare,
3 Hen. VI. iv. 3. 58 :

What fates impose, that men must needs abide.

And Cymb. i. I. 89;

You must be gone;

And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes.

This fear of death was the bitterest pain that ever he abodti.
Latimer, Serm. p. 223.

Abject, sb. (Ps. xxxv. 15). From Lat. abjectus, cast aside ; a
worthless, despicable person or thing.

Finallie, sturgion and pike, which fishe, as in times paste, it
hathe ben taken for an abjecte, soe now thought verie precius
emonge Englishemen. Pol. Vergil, Hist. Vol. I. p. 24.
Yet farre I deem'd it better so to dye
Then at my enmies foote an abiect lye.

Mirror for Magistrates, fol. lob.

Yf hir majesty fayle with such suplye and maintenance as
shalbe fytt, all she hath donn hetherto wylbe utterly lost and
cast away, and wee hir pore subiectes no better than abiectes.
Leycester Correspondence, 5 Dec. 1585, p. 23.

Not for my selfe a sinfull wretch I pray,
That in thy presence am an abiect vilde.

Fairfax's Tasso, xil. 27.
We are the queen's objects, and must obey.

Shakespeare, Rich. III. I. i. 106.
All other objects will but objects prove.

Ben Jonson, Poetaster, I. i.

'Abject* was formerly used as a verb, in the sense of 're-

How comyn wytte doothe full well electe
What it shoulde take, and what it shall abjecte.

Hawes, Pastime of Pleasure, cap. 8, p. 29.
Basely objecting and binding ourselves to the elements and
creatures. Homilies, p. 445, 1. 4.

Abroad, adv. (Judg. xii. 9 ; i Sam. ix. 26 ; I Kings ii. 42 ;
Lam. i. 20). Away from home, out of doors as opposed to in-
doors ; not necessarily out of the country. It occurs in the
forms abrod (Rob. of Glouc. p. 542), abroad (Wiclif, Matt, xxiii.


5), on brod (Destruction of Troy, 8780). After a verb of motion
it is used simply for 'out' or 'forth.'

When any did send him rare fruites, or fish, from the countries
neare the sea side, he would send them abroad vnto his friendes.
North's Plutarch, Alex. p. 729.

She's kept as warily as is your gold :

Never does come abroad, never takes air

But at a window. Ben Jonson, The Fox, I. i.

Compare the Spectator, No. 329, in the description of Sir Roger

de Coverley:

He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the

Widow Trueby's water, which he told me he always drank before

he went abroad.

To 'come abroad,' in the sense of 'get abroad,' 'become

known,' is found in Mark iv. 22, Rom. xvi. 19.

Abuse, v.t. (Judg. xix. 25; I Sam. xxxi. 4; i Chr. x. 4). To
misuse, deceive, mock, as in the margin of the two last pas-
sages ; from Fr. 'abuser, Lat. abuti. Sir T. More says of Jane
Shore :

But when the king had abused \izr, anon her husband. ..left
her vp to him al togither. Works, p. 56 h.

Whether thou beest he or no,
Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me.

Shakespeare, Temp. v. j. 112.

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