Do You Know the Meanings of These Old-Timey Words?


By: Kennita Leon

6 Min Quiz

Image: Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Old-time words, sometimes called archaic words, are those that were once used in everyday speech but are no longer used today, for a variety of reasons. Whether it is because the word itself has evolved or whether it has lost its meaning, these words have been replaced, although they still exist. They are today considered to be words of the past, but that doesn't mean that the odd few people don't still use them, or know what they mean.

Today, we're not going to count the number of times you've muttered "bedchamber" or "affright" in the past year, but we do want to know whether you can tell us what words like them mean. So we'll ask you some questions, and in each of them, you'll find an old-time word. It'll be your job to choose the correct meaning of the word from a list of four. If you can guess enough answers correctly, we'll know that you're a true logophile.

So, if you're ready to prove to us that you're a modern-day person, but you can still hang with those from the olden days, let's get started on this quiz. 

Do you know the definition of the word "strumpet"?

The word "strumpet" was formerly used to refer to a female prostitute. Shakespeare is credited with the introduction of the word.


What do you think "gallant" means?

Gallant has two meanings. The first is synonymous with brave and courageous. The second refers to a gentleman or suitor.


Derived from the Latin word "edere," can you tell us what "ensurient" is supposed to mean?

The word "esurient" is derived from the Latin word edere. It is an old term used in place of hungry and greedy.


Which of the options is closest in meaning to "kirtle"?

A kirtle is a garment of clothing. It can be used to refer either to a woman's gown or petticoat or man's coat or tunic.


What do you think a fandangle is?

A fandangle can either refer to a fancy ornament or nonsense. The word is believed to have been introduced during the mid 19th century.


"Methinks" is an Old English word. What does it mean?

"Methinks" is an old English term that is usually used today to convey humor. It is used to say "it seems to me" or "I think."


Can you tell us what the French word "accouchement" means?

The word "accouchement" is of French origin; the word "accoucheur" means acting as a midwife. It refers to the process of childbirth.


What is a larcener?

The word "larcener" is a noun that means one who commits larceny. In other words, a larcener is a thief.


Derived from the French word "areer," do you know what "raiment" means?

Raiment is derived from the old French word "areer." In Middle English, the word was "arrayment," but it soon evolved. It refers to fancy clothing.


Can you tell us which of these options is the definition of "scullion"?

A scullion is a kitchen servant who is responsible for the low-grade kitchen tasks. It is a late 15th-century word.


What is the meaning of the 16th-century word "dandiprat"?

The word "dandiprat" was used during the 16th century to refer to a coin equivalent to twopence. Its archaic definition is someone of little significance.


What is a knave?

The word "knave" was used to refer to vagrants, dishonest and deceitful men. The term is also used interchangeably with jack in cards.


Which of the options is the definition of "recompense"?

Recompense is synonymous with compensate. It means to reimburse, make up for the loss of, or make amends to.


A fancy archaic word, what is "glabriety"?

Glabriety is a fancy archaic word that is no longer used today. Its meaning refers to baldness.


Do you know what "ambuscade" means?

An ambuscade is an ambush. This refers to a situation where individuals lie in wait to attack by surprise.


"Malapert" is a Middle English word. Do you what its definition is?

This Middle English word came about when the word "mal," meaning "bad" was joined with "apert," which means "insolent." To be malapert is to be disrespectful or impudent.


The word "prithee" was derived from a phrase. What does it mean?

"Prithee" is a word indicating politeness; it means "please." It is said to have evolved from the phrase "I pray thee."


What does it mean to "inscribe"?

To inscribe is to create a permanent record of something by carving, writing or printing words or symbols.


Of the options, which is the definition of "doxy"?

A doxy is a lover or mistress. The word can also be used to refer to a prostitute or any kind of promiscuous woman.


Derived from an Old English word, what does "hie" mean?

"Hie" is an old verb meaning to go quickly. It became part of the English language in the 12th century but was used in Old English as "higian."


What does the archaic word "betimes" mean?

Although an archaic word, "betimes" is sometimes used in North American English. It means in good time or early, or sometimes or on occasion.


Which of the options is the definition of the Latin-derived word "orison"?

Orison is derived from the Latin word "oratio." It is an archaic word for prayer.


A word of unknown origin, what do you think "tantivy" means?

With its unknown origin, a tantivy is a rapid gallop or ride. The word is said to be inspired by the sound of a horse's hooves.


This word can be spelled more than one way. What does "coxcomb" mean?

A coxcomb is a man who is very vain and conceited. The word can also be spelled "cockscomb."


What do you think the word "hearken" means?

"Hearken" is an old term used in place of the verb "listen." An example would be "The man refused to hearken to the wise words of his elders."


The word "natheless" dates back to the 12th-century, but what does it mean?

"Natheless" is the historical way of saying "nevertheless." The word can be dated as far back as the 12th century.


Can you tell us what the word "verily" means?

"Verily" places emphasis on a belief or idea. It means to be very certain or very true.


What does the old-time word "feminal" suggest?

As can be inferred from the stem of the word, "feminal" means feminine or womanly.


What does the word "asunder," which is commonly used in religious ceremonies, mean?

This word is commonly heard during marriage ceremonies in the popular phrase "What God has put together, let no man put asunder." It means to separate or be apart.


Having evolved from the Old English word "thriga," what does "thrice" mean?

The word "thrice" evolved from the Old English word "thriga," then the Middle English word "thries." Thrice is simply an old way of saying three times.


What does the word "mooncalf" refer to?

A mooncalf is an insulting term used to refer to someone as being foolish or mentally handicapped.


What does the 17th-century Spanish-inspired word "picaroon" mean?

"Picaroon" was introduced in English during the 17th century and it was derived from the Spanish word "picaron," meaning rogue or scoundrel.


What is the definition of the Old English word "behoof"?

The word "behoof" is an Old English noun synonymous with the words "benefit" and "advantage."


What do you think the term "withal" means?

The term withal was used to mean "also," "in addition to" or "in further consideration."


Which options best matches the word "cannonade"?

"To cannonade" means to attack using gunfire continuously. In old English, "cannonade" means to bombard.


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