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

By: Kennita Leon

Do You Know the Meanings of These Old-Timey Words?
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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"?
To run away from
A shrew
A prostitute
The word "strumpet" was formerly used to refer to a female prostitute. Shakespeare is credited with the introduction of the word.
An astronomer

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What do you think "gallant" means?
Brave
Gallant has two meanings. The first is synonymous with brave and courageous. The second refers to a gentleman or suitor.
Of a humorous nature
Overly critical of
To reject or disavow

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Derived from the Latin word "edere," can you tell us what "ensurient" is supposed to mean?
Hungry
The word "esurient" is derived from the Latin word edere. It is an old term used in place of hungry and greedy.
The opposite of
An extremely religious person
Sorrowful

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Which of the options is closest in meaning to "kirtle"?
To take control of
A false accusation
A piece of clothing
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.
To be self-conscious

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What do you think a fandangle is?
Nonsense
A fandangle can either refer to a fancy ornament or nonsense. The word is believed to have been introduced during the mid 19th century.
Impulsive
A shrew
Another person's wishes

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"Methinks" is an Old English word. What does it mean?
An honest man
Ambitious
An astronomer
I think
"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."

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Can you tell us what the French word "accouchement" means?
Of a humorous nature
The process of childbirth
The word "accouchement" is of French origin; the word "accoucheur" means acting as a midwife. It refers to the process of childbirth.
To run away from
To reject or disavow

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What is a larcener?
Emotionally hardened
A thief
The word "larcener" is a noun that means one who commits larceny. In other words, a larcener is a thief.
Sorrowful
An extremely religious person

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Derived from the French word "areer," do you know what "raiment" means?
To take control of
Fancy clothes
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.
Overly critical of
To influence

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Can you tell us which of these options is the definition of "scullion"?
A shrew
Another person's wishes
A kitchen servant
A scullion is a kitchen servant who is responsible for the low-grade kitchen tasks. It is a late 15th-century word.
Impulsive

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What is the meaning of the 16th-century word "dandiprat"?
A false accusation
The opposite of
An astronomer
A coin
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.

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What is a knave?
Ambitious
Sorrowful
To be self-conscious
Deceitful man
The word "knave" was used to refer to vagrants, dishonest and deceitful men. The term is also used interchangeably with jack in cards.

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Which of the options is the definition of "recompense"?
To compensate
Recompense is synonymous with compensate. It means to reimburse, make up for the loss of, or make amends to.
To reject or disavow
To take control of
An extremely religious person

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A fancy archaic word, what is "glabriety"?
An honest man
To run away from
Baldness
Glabriety is a fancy archaic word that is no longer used today. Its meaning refers to baldness.
Another person's wishes

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Do you know what "ambuscade" means?
An ambush
An ambuscade is an ambush. This refers to a situation where individuals lie in wait to attack by surprise.
A shrew
Overly critical of
Impulsive

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"Malapert" is a Middle English word. Do you what its definition is?
Of a humorous nature
To be disrespectful
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 opposite of
Emotionally hardened

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The word "prithee" was derived from a phrase. What does it mean?
To influence
An astronomer
Please
"Prithee" is a word indicating politeness; it means "please." It is said to have evolved from the phrase "I pray thee."
Ambitious

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What does it mean to "inscribe"?
To follow another person's wishes
To reject or disavow
To be self-conscious
To create a record of
To inscribe is to create a permanent record of something by carving, writing or printing words or symbols.

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Of the options, which is the definition of "doxy"?
A lover
A doxy is a lover or mistress. The word can also be used to refer to a prostitute or any kind of promiscuous woman.
An extremely religious person
To take control of
To run away from

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Derived from an Old English word, what does "hie" mean?
To go quickly
"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."
An enemy
Impulsive
Overly critical of

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What does the archaic word "betimes" mean?
Sorrowful
Of a humorous nature
A shrew
Sometimes
Although an archaic word, "betimes" is sometimes used in North American English. It means in good time or early, or sometimes or on occasion.

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Which of the options is the definition of the Latin-derived word "orison"?
Another person's wishes
Prayer
Orison is derived from the Latin word "oratio." It is an archaic word for prayer.
An enemy
An astronomer

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A word of unknown origin, what do you think "tantivy" means?
Ambitious
The opposite of
To gallop
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.
To reject or disavow

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This word can be spelled more than one way. What does "coxcomb" mean?
A false accusation
To run away from
A vain man
A coxcomb is a man who is very vain and conceited. The word can also be spelled "cockscomb."
An extremely religious person

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What do you think the word "hearken" means?
To be self-conscious
To take control of
To listen
"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."
An enemy

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The word "natheless" dates back to the 12th-century, but what does it mean?
A shrew
Another person's wishes
Of a humorous nature
Nevertheless
"Natheless" is the historical way of saying "nevertheless." The word can be dated as far back as the 12th century.

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Can you tell us what the word "verily" means?
To influence
Impulsive
To be certain of
"Verily" places emphasis on a belief or idea. It means to be very certain or very true.
Overly critical of

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What does the old-time word "feminal" suggest?
An astronomer
Womanly
As can be inferred from the stem of the word, "feminal" means feminine or womanly.
An enemy
Sorrowful

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What does the word "asunder," which is commonly used in religious ceremonies, mean?
To take apart
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.
To reject or disavow
To run away from
Ambitious

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Having evolved from the Old English word "thriga," what does "thrice" mean?
The opposite of
Three times
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.
A shrew
Another person's wishes

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What does the word "mooncalf" refer to?
To influence
An extremely religious person
An enemy
Foolish
A mooncalf is an insulting term used to refer to someone as being foolish or mentally handicapped.

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What does the 17th-century Spanish-inspired word "picaroon" mean?
To be self-conscious
To take control of
Of a humorous nature
A scoundrel
"Picaroon" was introduced in English during the 17th century and it was derived from the Spanish word "picaron," meaning rogue or scoundrel.

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What is the definition of the Old English word "behoof"?
For the benefit of
The word "behoof" is an Old English noun synonymous with the words "benefit" and "advantage."
Overly critical of
Impulsive
Ambitious

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What do you think the term "withal" means?
To run away from
In addition to
The term withal was used to mean "also," "in addition to" or "in further consideration."
A shrew
An astronomer

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Which options best matches the word "cannonade"?
An enemy
To reject or disavow
To attack with gunfire
"To cannonade" means to attack using gunfire continuously. In old English, "cannonade" means to bombard.
Another person's wishes

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