Words and Language


An INTEGRAL part of any Renaissance Character is the ability to speak like one. Breaking out into modern American slang is BAD. Elizabethan english can seem daunting at first, but if you take it a little at a time (and allow yourself time to adapt!) you’ll be successful.

I’ve pulled a list of basic terms off of THIS website; it’s no longer updated so it’s easier to just copy them here.


“Hello” is an exclamation of surprise, not greeting. You might try “Good Morrow”, “God ye good den.”, “How now?”, “God save you”, or “Good Day”.

Instead of “Good Bye” try “Anon”, “Fare thee well” or “God save thee!”

It’s “Aye” or “Yay” not “Yes.”
Try “Nay” or “Indeed Not” for “No”.

“You” can be either “thee/thou” or even “you/ye”
“You would” or “You should” best heard as “Thou would’st” or “Thou should’st”.

I would “beg your pardon” instead of excusing myself.
In order to get your attention I wouldn’t cry: “Listen”, but I would say “Hark!”
Say “prithee” or “if it please thee” instead of “please”.
A wandering babe would be told to “come hither” not “here.”

“A Salesperson” barks louder as a “Hawker”. Affectionately you might call your grandfather “Gaffer”. A beautiful young woman could be a lusty “wench” or maybe a fair “maiden”. Perhaps your pet name for your boyfriend/girlfriend is “Sweeting”. A doll might be called “poppet”, but so would a child.

Some exclamations:
“Alack!”, “Alackaday!”, “Alas!”, “Fie!”, “Out upon it!”, “Go to!”
“I’faith!”, or “Now, by my faith!”
“Marry!”, “‘Zounds (God’s wounds, pron: ZOONDS)”, “Hey-ho!”, “God’s Death!”, “God’s Teeth!”, or “What ho!”

Instead of a bar you would find the local “tavern” to buy some “Ale”.

Some general words to know:

  • Anon – Later
  • As you will – Okay, or whatever.
  • By your leave – Excuse me or please, when in the company of another.
  • Carouse- Party!
  • Chide – Scold or nag
  • Cutpurse- Thief
  • E’en – Evening or even
  • E’er – Ever or before
  • Fie – A curse.
  • Grammercy – Thank you
  • Maid or Maiden – A young woman of upstanding virtue
  • Marry! – An exclaimation of shock
  • Mayhap – Perhaps. Do not mistakenly say “Mayhaps” – there is no plural form
  • Morrow – Days or tomorrow.
  • N’er – Never.
  • Nonpariel – A beauty
  • Oft – Often
  • In Faith – In truth, sometimes just “faith”. A mild exclaimation.
  • Perchance – Maybe or Possibly.
  • Poppet – A doll or a young child
  • Pray pardon me – Excuse me
  • Pray tell – Please tell me
  • Prithee – Please, literally “I pray thee”
  • Privy – Bathroom, or more literally, outhouse
  • Stay – Stop or wait.
  • S’wounds! – An exclaimation, like wow. A shortened from “gods wounds”.
  • Tosspot- Drunkard
  • Verily – Very, Truly or Truthfully.
  • Wench – A young woman
  • Wherefore – Why
  • Yonder – Over there.


For a more detailed list of ye olde terms, go HERE! 


Want to Insult somebody? Take a look HERE for Elizabethan English.

Look HERE for some Nordic insults. (for all you Vikings out there.)


But what about other languages?

Here’s a list of basic Gaelic Terms (if you’re Irish or Scottish)

Here’s a list of basic Norse Terms (if you’re of the Viking persuasion)

Here’s a list of basic Italian Terms.

Here’s a list of basic German Terms.

Here’s a list of basic Swedish Terms.

Here’s a list of basic Norwegian Terms.



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