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Tol Eressëa is a Tolkien writers roleplay. We are G-rated & well moderated. If you like to write, come join our friendly community of roleplayers as a Tolkien book character. We also have an area for original poetry, short stories and artwork. Many of our members are also playing Lord of the Rings Online and you will find us there on the Landroval server in the kinship Leaves of Laurelin. Come join us there.


 Use of archaic words
Posted: Feb 23 2010, 10:55 AM

Balrog Slayer

Group: Tauristo
Posts: 2,305
Member No.: 1
Joined: 20-October 04

Here is a list of archaic words, or words that are seldom used and have gotten out of the general population, though of some words you might say "I use that word all the time." May they help you with terms and ways of speaking that have alluded you.

abide: (1) put up with, tolerate
abide: (2) await
abjure: renounce, turn away from
abroad: in the open, at large
adamant: diamond, or (more generally) any very hard substance
afield: away, especially from home
aforetime: in earlier times
aghast: terrified, amazed
agin: a dialect word meaning 'against', 'next to'
amiss: not as things should be
anon: soon; ever and anon often
apace: quickly
argent: silver
assuage: soften, lessen, soothe
aught: anything

bade: old past tense of 'bid', pronounced 'bad'
baldric: a shoulder-belt for carrying horns, swords, etc
bannock: flat bread-cake
barrel: the long, cylindrical part of a key
baseborn: ignoble, illegitimate
bay: (of a dog) bark or howl
bebother: bring trouble upon
befall: happen, occur
belie: give a false impression
benighted: in, or overtaken by, darkness
beset: attacked, assaulted by enemies
besom: a stiff broom made out of sticks and twigs
besotted: (1) made drunk
besotted: (2) obsessed, entranced
besought: old past tense of beseech
bier: platform for carrying a coffin or body
bight: a curved recess in the edge of a geographical feature, such as a coast or forest tree-line
billow: (large) wave
bivouac: temporary camp, without tents
blazoned: painted or inscribed (an heraldic term)
bond: storage of wine, etc, until duty has been paid; out of bond released from this
booby: stupid person
boon: favour, gift
brake: thicket
brazen: made of brass
brood: (1) children
brood: (2) related creatures
brook: tolerate, accept
buckler: a small round shield, held in one hand
bulwark: a defensive structure
burg: a fortress, or a fortified town
burgeon: come forth, bud, begin to grow quickly
burnished: polished

cairn: a mound of stones or rocks, used as a marker, memorial or tomb
carcanet: jewelled necklace
carouse: drink heavily
carven: old form of 'carved'
cataract: waterfall
cesspool: a pool of waste-water or sewage
chalcedony: a precious form of quartz: onyx, agate and cornelian are all types of chalcedony
champ: (of a horse) munch on the bit, showing eagerness
chime: agree with, be in harmony with
circlet: a thin band of precious metal, worn on the head
clave: old past tense of cleave, in the sense 'stick, adhere'
cloven: split into two
coëval: born at the same time
cob: spider (the name survives in the term 'cobweb')
coffer: strongbox, especially for holding valuables
comely: pleasant-looking
commons: shared food; short commons insufficient food
compass: accomplish, achieve
conclave: a meeting, or the place where a meeting is held
concourse: large group of people; crowd
confines: borders; borderlands
confusticate: a nonsense word, probably not intended to have a meaning (though its Latin roots can be interpreted 'beat with a cudgel')
cony: rabbit
coomb: short valley in the side of a hill or mountain
coop: cage, imprison
corslet: a piece of armour covering the body, but not the arms or legs
cot: a small shelter; the origin of the word 'cottage'
counsels: words of advice
covet: be jealous of, desire
cozen: lie to, cheat, deceive
craven: coward
crocks: items of crockery: plates, dishes, etc.
culvert: a channel carrying water beneath a thoroughfare
cumbrous: awkward, inconvenient
cunning-handed: deft, artful, dexterous
cur: a worthless or ill-tempered dog
curdle: turn sour

dainty: morsel, delicacy
damask: steel and iron specially welded to make a serpentine pattern
darkling: dark (poetical)
daunt: intimidate
declaim: speak or recite passionately
deem: consider, conclude
defile: ruin, corrupt
defray: pay for
dell: small valley
descry: catch sight of, especially something difficult to see
devices: things, especially situations, devised or engineered
dingle: deep hollow, usually shaded with trees
dissemble: hide one's true intentions
divers: numerous and various
dolven: delved, dug out
doom: fate (as opposed to modern usage, doom in this sense is not necessarily bad)
dotard: a person who has lost their wits, especially through old age
doughty: strong, powerful
draught: (1) drawing or pulling force
draught: (2) a drink drawn from a barrel or storage jar
drear: dismal, gloomy
dregs: sediment found at the bottom of wine, tea, etc. To 'drink to the dregs' is to completely drain a cup or (metaphorically) fully involve oneself
dry: (of bricks or stone) laid without mortar
durstn't: dare not
dwimmer-crafty: skilled in the arts of magic

eaves: the fringe of a forest (from the resemblance of the overhanging forest canopy to the eaves of a house)
ell: a measure of length, usually equivalent to 45 inches or 114 cm
embattled: (1) of a fortress, having battlements
embattled: (2) of an army, fortified against attack (this is the dictionary definition, but in The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's usage seems to mean simply 'in battle')
embrasure: bevelled door or window frame cut into a wall
encompass: surround
ere: before
errantry: journeying in search of adventure
espy: catch sight of
essay: attempt
esteem: consider to be of worth; esteem too lightly underestimate
et: a variation of 'ate', common in British rural dialects
etten: eaten - see 'et'
ewer: large, wide-mouthed water jug
eyot: a small island, especially found in a river

faggot: bundle of sticks used as firewood
falter: waver, lose courage
fane: temple
fare: travel, go on a journey
fastness: secure fortress
fawn: cringe, grovel
fealty: allegiance and service to a lord
feign: pretend
fell: (1) merciless, terrifying
fell: (2) animal's hide
fell: (3) moorland hill
fender: a metal frame placed around a fireplace
fetter: chain, shackle
fey: certain of death; having no thought for one's own fate
figured: marked with drawings or writing
firth: An inlet of the sea at a wide river estuary
flagon: large jug or mug, usually used to hold wine or beer
flammifer: in Latin, flammifer means 'fiery', but Tolkien's usage is likely meant to suggest 'flame-bearer', as a reference to the blazing Silmaril borne by Eärendil.
flank: the exposed side of an attacking or marching army
flotsam: floating wreckage; flotsam and jetsam items washed up by the sea, or a flood (also used figuratively)
flummoxed: bewildered, disconcerted
footpad: a thief (historically, a 'footpad' was a highwayman who had no horse)
forbear: hold back from
forebode: foresee (especially something that is evil)
forespeak: foretell, predict
foreswear: swear not to do something
forgo: let go, do without
forlorn: abandoned, desolate
forsake: desert, turn away from (the past tense is forsook)
forsooth: in truth, actually
fortnight: a period of two weeks
fosse: a defensive trench or ditch
founder: sink, after taking on water
fraught: full (of)
freshet: a stream, or (strictly) a flood of fresh water
furlong: one eighth of a mile (220 yards), or about one fifth of a kilometre

gaffer a word meaning both 'old man' and 'foreman': its use as the nickname of Hamfast Gamgee is probably mean to combine both meanings.
gainsay contradict
gallop boil and bubble
game crippled
gammer old woman
garth an enclosed garden or yard
ghyll deep ravine
gibbet A gallows built to display the body of an executed criminal
gimlet A sharp boring tool, similar in general design to a corkscrew; see like gimlets see sharply
girdle (1) belt or cord used especially to confine clothing
girdle (2) something which surrounds or encircles; girdle of Arda the central regions of Arda, equidistant from the far north and south
girt bound or attached with a belt
glede burning coal or cinder
gloaming the twilight of evening
glower scowl, frown
goggle stare with round eyes
graven engraved, carved
greened made green from the mosses and lichens on a tree's trunk
grot old form of 'grotto'; an ornamental or picturesque cavern
guileful treacherous, deceitful
gunwale the top edge of a boat's side, pronounced (and sometimes spelt) 'gunnel'

habergeon a mail-coat without sleeves
hale robust, strong of body
hame hide, pelt
hang to leave food, especially game, in the open until it becomes 'high' or tender
harbour succour, assistance
hardly (1) with great difficulty
hardly (2) only just
harry ravage
haste hurry, rush
hauberk mail-coat
headstall a covering for a horse's head, used as an alternative to bridle and bit
hearken listen, pay attention
heed thought, consideration
heedless careless of danger
hence from here
hew chop, slice
hither (1) to here, to this place; hither and thither in various directions
hither (2) nearer, closer
hoar grey- or white-haired
hobble limp, walk with difficulty
hock the middle joint of a horse's or pony's leg
hue form or shape
hummock a small hill or knoll (in The Lord of the Rings, 'hummock' is used metaphorically to describe the shape made by the palantír beneath Gandalf's cloak)
hunter's moon the full moon of mid- to late October
hythe a small harbour or haven, especially on a river

ill evil, wrong

jetsam items thrown overboard from a ship, and later washed ashore

keen sharp
kerb a raised edge to a road or path
kindle set fire to, begin to burn

lave wash, bathe
lay a poem that is meant to be sung
league a measure of distance, usually considered to be equivalent to three miles
leaguer an encampment or encampments, especially for defensive purposes
leave permission
lee shelter, especially from wind and weather
leech healer
leechcraft an old name for the practice of medicine, from the ancient belief that blood-sucking leeches had a healing effect
lissom lithe, supple
loath reluctant
lob spider (seen, for example, in the name Shelob)
loth reluctant [a variation on loath above]
louver a domed structure built on a roof with side-openings to allow smoke to escape
lower to become less high (used of hills, cliffs, and so on)

malefactor one who commits an evil act
mantle cloak, cover
mar spoil or damage beyond repair
march share borders
marchwarden border guard
mark notice, detect
marshal place in proper order
mattock a primitive weapon, originally a farming tool, perhaps best described as a double-headed battle-hoe
maw jaws and throat, especially of a ferocious animal
mayhap perhaps
mead (1) an alcoholic drink made from honey
mead (2) meadow
mere lake or pond
mew a type of gull
midge tiny airborne biting insect; not unlike a mosquito, but much smaller
mischance accident
misgive fill with doubt or suspicion
moonshine fantastic ideas
muster collect, assemble

nethermost lowest, deepest
nicety precision, exactness; weigh to a nicety measure exactly
nigh near; well nigh, wellnigh almost, very nearly
nightshade probably simply 'darkness' (the literal use of this word appears to be unique to Tolkien - in historical English, it is only used figuratively as the name of a poisonous plant)
noisome foul-smelling, poisonous
nook corner, recess

obeisance bowing or kneeling in submission
oft often
ostler stable-keeper
oust take possession of another's lands, property, title, etc.
outworn exhausted
overbear defeat by weight of numbers

pallid pale
panoply full suit of armour
parapet defensive wall built to protect troops
parley discuss terms of peace or cease-fire
passward something granting passage of a guard
pate head, mind
pent restricted, confined
penthouse the area beneath a sloping roof, especially as a later extension to an existing building
perforce having no choice, being forced
pinion a bird's wing, and especially the tip
plash splash
portage transporting a boat overland
portent omen, sign
postern a back- or side-entrance
profound deep
prosy dull, contented with the commonplace
provender food
puissant powerful, influential
purloin steal

quaff drink deeply
quail give way to, be intimidated by

raiment clothing
rearguard that part of an army set to cover its rear ranks, especially in retreat
rede counsel
redound contribute to, advance
redress setting right
reft past tense of the old word reave, to take by force
rent past tense of rend, to tear or split
repair go often
respite relief, calm interval
revelry merrymaking
rick a stack, especially of hay
rill a small stream
rude simple, primitive
rue regret, repent of
rumour sound

sable heraldic term for black
sallow having yellow or pale brown skin
save except
semblance appearance
shade ghost or phantasm
shank leg; especially that part between the knee and ankle
sheaf bundle or cluster of stalks
shoal a particularly shallow part of a river- or sea-bed
shore slice, tear (an old past tense of 'shear')
shun refuse
sister-son nephew
slot track followed by a hunter
slowcoach someone who moves slowly, or is often late
sluggard slow or lazy person
smite strike, attack (the past tense is smote)
snuff sniff deeply
sojourn temporary stay
sooth true, truthful
sortie an attack launched by a besieged force
spinney group of trees, or small wood
stead place, position
stem block, hold back
stock the trunk or stump of a tree; stock and stone inanimate things
stoop in falconry, to swoop on prey
straightway immmediately, directly
strait narrowly confining
straitly narrowly, tightly
strand shore, shoreline, especially a beach
stricken struck; (as an adjective) damaged, broken
succour give aid
sunder divide, separate
surname an additional name indicating some quality or ability (as distinct from modern usage, surname in this context has no connection with family)
sward region of short grass, lawn
swart dark-skinned
swarthy dark-skinned
swath a strip of grass that has been flattened or mown
swoon faint

tarn mountain lake
tarry pause, wait
thenceforward from that time on
thither to or in that place
thraldom slavery
thrall slave
thrawn (1) twisted, misshapen
thrawn (2) obstinate, stubborn
throe violent agony
throve old past tense of 'thrive'
thwart foil, stop
tidings news
tipsy slightly drunk
tithe one tenth
toils trap, snare
toothsome pleasantly appetising
tor rocky hill, especially among moorland
toss-pot drunkard
tracery complex interlinked ornamentation
traffic trade
trammels nets, traps
traverse travel through or across
trove found treasure
truncheon a wooden shaft used as a weapon, or part of a weapon
tryst an arranged meeting; break tryst fail to attend a tryst
tumult noisy disturbance
tunic a loose, short-sleeved garment
tuppence two pence, a very small amount of money; not care tuppence have no interest
turnkey jailor
tussock clump of grass
twine twist strands together into a rope

umbel long flower, as in hemlock or parsley
unblazoned an heraldic term: plain, undecorated
ungentle rough, coarse
unquiet anxious, concerned
unsated unsatisfied
unsullied pure, uncorrupted
upbraid criticise
upheave push or force upwards

vale the valley of a river
varmint pest, bothersome person or animal
vassal servant, bondsman
vie struggle with, be rival to
vigil watchfulness; hold vigil make devotion
viol an old instrument, usually with six strings, similar to a violin but held in a vertical position like a 'cello

waif homeless person
wain wagon; The Wain the constellation of the Plough or Big Dipper
wan pale
wards the 'teeth' of a key
ware old form of aware
waver (1) shimmer, flicker
waver (2) show indecision
wax grow stronger; increase
waylay intercept, prevent from going forward
wayward uncontrollable, unpredictable
web tapestry
wellnigh almost, very nearly
weregild a payment in compensation for a death (literally 'man-gold')
wheedle coax, persuade
whelm engulf, cover
whence from where
whereat for which reason
wherefore for what (or which) reason
whet sharpen
whither to which place
wile trick, deceit
wizened of shrivelled appearance
wold an upland region of moorland
wont customarily, regularly; wont to err thus regularly make mistakes of this kind
worrit worry
worst defeat
wrack clouds being driven by a strong wind
wraith ghost, apparition
wreathe engulf, surround (especially of vapour or fire)
wrest take by force
writhen writhing, twisting
wroth angry

yammer wail, weep
yoke wooden harness for oxen; under the yoke under complete control
yonder over there
yore long ago

zenith highest point

Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and keen, and his voice like music; on his brow sat wisdom, and in his hand was strength.

Glorfindel Biography

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Posted: Feb 28 2010, 04:14 PM


Group: Members
Posts: 609
Member No.: 19
Joined: 23-October 04


Cob is also a rather ancient name of a horsetype. Still used fx Irish Cob, Welsh Cob.

and when I am discussing horses I must mention the english/medieval name for gelding. Thoose days they often used the word "cut".

The medieval names for the horse's gaits are:

go (walk), trot, prik ( gallop). Sometimes the word amble was used for canter, but its more common meaning is for when horses move their legs laterally.

But one must not forget that gaited horse were much more common in medieval times than now.

ie they had 5 gaits. Walk, trot, amble, rack and canter/gallop.

Rack is what for example breeds like Tennesee Walker and Saddlebreed do. Non US breeds that do rack is fx the Icelandic pony ( in Iceland called tölt) and the Paso Fino.

A black horse was called a "morel", a bay "baynard", a grey "grisel", iron grey "ferraunt", peat colored "lyard", black and white "bauzan".


Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away.
Thomas Fuller (1608 - 1661)
Posted: Mar 13 2010, 11:47 AM

Balrog Slayer

Group: Tauristo
Posts: 2,305
Member No.: 1
Joined: 20-October 04

Thanks for the addition Bar. I didn't see this until today for some reason...

Anyway, I think what we want in our writing is to write more like late 19th century/early 20th century writers did rather than medieval times. Like Tolkien wrote and how he was influenced. Many of his words are not used in these times, sad to say. Having grown up being cared for by my grandparents for the most part, I learned those words early and many of them are still with me.

Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and keen, and his voice like music; on his brow sat wisdom, and in his hand was strength.

Glorfindel Biography

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