Mooncalf—a foolish person

500 Archaic Words That Everyone Really Needs To Use Again

These archaic words will remind you of an era past. But they’re such a refreshing change in pace from modern day vocabulary. Read through this list of archaic words and pick a few to insert into your own lexicon.

1. Abaft—toward or at the stern of a ship; further aft

2. Abroad—out of doors

3. Accouchement—birthing

4. Advertisement—a notice to readers in a book

5. Afeard/afearedt—frightened

6. Affright—frighten (someone)

7. Afore—before

8. Agone—ago

9. Ague—malaria or a similar illness

10. Alack—expression of sorrow or regret

11. Alee—on or toward the lee

12. Aliment—food; nourishment

13. Alow—below

14. Amain—to a high degree; exceedingly; at full speed

15. Ambuscade—an ambush

16. Anent—about; concerning

17. Animalcule—a microscopic animal

18. Anon—at once; immediately

Archaic Words
Archaic Words

20. Appetency—a longing or desire

21. Apricity—a cold winter day with a warm sun

22. Aright—right; correctly

23. Aroint—begone

24. Assay—attempt

25. Asunder—apart

26. Athwart—across; in opposition to; sideways; transversely

27. Audition—the power of hearing

28. Aught—anything at all

29. Avaunt—away; hence

30. Aye—yes

31. Bane—poison

32. Baseborn—of low birth or social standing

33. Bedlam—an asylum

34. Beef-witted—stupid

35. Beforetime—formerly

36. Behold—see or observe

37. Behoof—benefit or advantage

38. Beldam—an old woman

39. Belike—most likely; probably

40. Bethink—oneself of remember; recollect

41. Betimes—in short time; speedily

42. Betwixt—between

Archaic Words
Archaic Words

44. Bijoux—jewelry; trinkets

45. Billow—a large sea wave

46. Blackguard—a scoundrel

47. Blow—produce flowers or be in flower

48. Bodkin—a dagger

49. Bootless—(of a task) ineffectual; useless

50. Brabble—loud dumb argument

51. Breech—a person’s buttocks

52. Bridewell—a prison or reform school for petty offenders

53. Brimstone—sulphur

54. Bruit—a report or rumour

55. Buck—a fashionable and daring young man

56. Bumper—a generous glass of an alcoholic drink

57. Burgess—a full citizen of a town or borough

58. Buss—a kiss

59. Caboose—a kitchen on a ship’s deck

60. Cadet—a younger son or daughter

61. Caducity—the infirmity of old age; senility

62. California widow—a woman who marries a man who goes off to work in other parts of the state for long periods

63. Callipygian—giant ass

64. Camelopard—a giraffe

65. Cannonade—bombard

66. Carl—a man of low birth

67. Ceil—line or plaster the roof of (a building)

68. Certes—in truth; certainly

69. Champaign—open level countryside

70. Chapman—a peddler

71. Chicane—deceive; hoodwink

72. Cicisbeov—a married woman’s male companion or lover

73. Circumjacent—surrounding

74. Cispontine—on the north side of the Thames in London

75. Clepe—to name; to call

76. Clerk—a literate or scholarly person

77. Clew—a ball of thread

78. Clout—a piece of cloth or clothing

79. Cockalorum—a little man who has a big attitude

80. Collogue—talk confidentially

81. Communicant—a person who imparts information

82. Compass—encircle or surround

83. Compeer—a companion or close associate

84. Contemn—treat or regard with contempt

85. Contumely—insolent or insulting language or treatment

86. Cordwainer—a shoemaker

87. Cottier—a rural laborer living in a cottage

88. Coxcomb—a vain and conceited man; a dandy

89. Coz—cousin

90. Crapulous—to feel ill from overindulgence

91. Crinkum—elaborate decoration or detail

92. Crookback—a person with a hunchback

93. Crumpet—a person’s head

94. Cruse—an earthenware pot or jar

95. Cully—a friendly form of address for a man

96. Curmuring—making stomach sounds

97. Cutpurse—a pickpocket

98. Dame—an elderly or mature woman

99. Damsel—a young unmarried woman

100. Dandiprat—a young or insignificant person

101. Darbies—handcuffs

102. Degrade—reduce to a lower rank, especially as a punishment

103. Degree—social or official rank

104. Delate—report (an offence)

105. Demesne—a region or domain

106. Demit—resign from (an office or position)

107. Demoralize—corrupt the morals of

108. Dight—clothed or equipped

109. Discover—divulge (a secret)

110. Disport—frolic

111. Dispraise—censure or criticize

112. Divers—of varying types; several

113. Doit—a very small amount of money

114. Dot—a dowry from which only the interest or annual income was available to the husband

115. Doxy—a lover or mistress

116. Drab—a slovenly woman

117. Drought—thirst

118. Eft—again; afterwards

119. Eftsoons—soon after

120. Egad—exclamation of surprise, anger, or affirmation

121. Eke—in addition; also; likewise

122. Embouchure—the mouth of a river

123. Endlong—lengthwise

124. Enow—enough

125. Equipage—gear; equipment

126. Ere—before (in time)

127. Erelong—before long; soon

128. Erewhile—until now

129. Espousal—a marriage or engagement

130. Esurient—hungry

131. Excogigate—plot, plan, devise

132. Expectations—one’s prospects of inheritance

133. Expiry—death

134. Eyne—eyes

135. Fain—pleased or willing under the circumstances

136. Fainéant—an idle or ineffective person

137. Fair—beautiful

138. Fandangle—a useless or purely ornamental thing

139. Fane—a shrine or temple

140. Fare—travel

141. Fell—an animal skin; a pelt

142. Feminal—feminine; womanly

143. Fervent—hot or glowing

144. Fie—exclamation used to express disgust or outrage

145. Filibeg—a kilt

146. Fishwife—a woman who sells fish

147. Fizgig—a silly or flirtatious young woman

148. Flux—diarrhea or dysentery

149. Forby—past; near

150. Fore—at an earlier time or period

151. Forfend—avert or prevent (something evil or unpleasant)

152. Forsooth—in truth; indeed

153. Forthwith—immediately

154. Forward—(of a person) difficult to deal with; contrary

155. Fourscore—eighty

156. Freak—a whim

157. Frore—frozen or frosty

158. Fruit—offspring

159. Fudge—nonsense

160. Furbish—polish (a weapon)

161. Fuzzle—drunk

162. Gadzooks—an expression of surprise or annoyance

163. Gage—a valued object deposited as a guarantee

164. Gallant—a dashing gentleman

165. Gammer—an old woman

166. Gar—mild oath

167. Gardyloo—warning cry

168. Garland—a literary anthology

169. Garth—a yard or garden

170. Gaud—a trinket

171. Glabriety—baldness

172. Glaciate—freeze over

173. Glebe—a meadow

174. Glim—a candle

175. God’s acre—a churchyard

176. Goodly—attractive, excellent, or virtuous

177. Goody—(with a name) an elderly woman of humble position

178. Gorgonize—to charm

179. Gramercy—expression of gratitude or surprise

180. Grateful—received with gratitude

181. Greenwood—a forest

182. Grimalkin—a cat

183. Groak—to watch someone as they eat

184. Gudgeon—a credulous person

185. Guerdon—a reward

186. Gyve—a fetter or shackle

187. Habiliment—clothing

188. Halt—lame

189. Handmaid—a female servant

190. Hearken—listen

191. Hence—from here

192. Herbary—a herb garden

193. Hereat—as a result of this

194. Heretofore—until now

195. Hereunto—to this document

196. Hereupon—after or as a result of this

197. Heyday—expression of elation or wonder

198. Hie—go quickly

199. Hight—named; called; to command or call

200. Hist—expression used to attract attention

201. Hither—to or toward this place

202. Hoar—frost

203. Horse-coper—a person who deals in horses

204. Horseless carriage—a car

205. Host—an army

206. Houppelande—cloak

207. Howbeit—nevertheless

208. Husbandman—a farmer

209. Ifsoever—if ever

210. Ilke—kind or nature

211. Immedicable—untreatable

212. Imminent—overhanging

213. In sooth—actually

214. Indite—write; compose

215. Inly—inwardly; thoroughly

216. Inscribe—enter the name of (someone) on a list

217. Intelligence—news

218. Intelligencer—a person who gathers intelligence

219. Invest—surround (a place) in order to besiege or blockade it

220. Iron horse—a steam locomotive

221. Iwis—surely; certainly

222. Izzard—the letter Z

223. Jade—a bad-tempered or disreputable woman

224. Jakes—an outdoor toilet

225. Job—turn a public office or a position of trust to private advantage

226. Kickshaw—a fancy but insubstantial cooked dish

227. Kirtle—a woman’s gown or a man’s tunic

228. Knave—a dishonest or unscrupulous man

229. Lackaday—expression of regret or deprecation

230. Larcener—thief

231. Latchet—a narrow thong or lace for fastening a shoe or sandal

232. Laud—praise

233. Laver—a basin or similar container used for washing oneself

234. Leech—a doctor or healer

235. Leman—a lover or sweetheart

236. Let—hinder

237. Lethophobia—do you fear oblivion at all? You may well be lethophobic!

238. Levant—abscond leaving unpaid debts

239. Levy—a body of enlisted troops

240. Lief—soon; gladly

241. Loathly—repulsive

242. Lordling—a minor lord

243. Love apple—a tomato

244. Lucifer—a match

245. Lurdan—an idle or incompetent person

246. Lying—in seclusion before and after childbirth

247. Magdalen—a reformed prostitute

248. Mage—a magician or learned person

249. Magnify—glorify; extol

250. Maid—a girl or young woman

251. Malapert—presumptuous and impudent

252. Malison—a curse

253. Man-at-arms—a soldier

254. Marry—an expression of surprise, indignation, or emphatic assertion

255. Maugre—in spite of

256. Mayhap—perhaps; possibly

257. Mazed—bewildered

258. Measure—a dance

259. Meat—food of any kind

260. Mechanical—a manual worker

261. Meet—suitable or proper

262. Melodist—a singer

263. Meseems—it seems to me

264. Methinks—I believe; I think

265. Moil—drudgery

266. Monsterful—extraordinary or wonderful

Archaic Words
Archaic Words

268. Morrow—the the following day

269. Mummer—an actor in the theater

270. Nary—not a one; not at all

271. Natheless—nevertheless; notwithstanding

272. Natural—a person born with impaired intelligence

273. Naught—nothing

274. Nay—no

275. Needs—of necessity; necessarily

276. Nigh—nearly; almost

277. Nithing—a contemptible or despicable person

278. Noise—(something) about talk about or make known publicly

279. Nowise—not at all

280. Nubbing—cheat a gallows

281. Numbles—a deer’s entrails as food

282. Od—mild oath

283. Orison—a prayer

284. Orts—scraps; remains

285. Otherwhere—elsewhere

286. Otiose—lazy; slothful

287. Overbrim—spill; overflow

288. Overleap—jump over or across

289. Overset—capsize; flip over

290. Pale—an area within determined bounds or subject to a particular jurisdiction

291. Palfrey—a docile riding horse

292. Parcel—partly

293. Pardie—mild oath; certainly or truly

294. Parfay—by my faith; verily

295. Pate—a person’s head

296. Paynim—a pagan

Archaic Words
Archaic Words

298. Peeler—a police officer

299. Pelf—money, especially when gained dishonestly

300. Peradventure—perhaps; possibly; by adventure; by chance

301. Perchance—by some chance

302. Peregrinate—travel or wander from place to place

303. Periapt—a charm or amulet

304. Pestilence—a fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague

305. Peterman—a thief or safecracker

306. Physic—medicinal drugs or medical treatment

307. Picaroon—a scoundrel

308. Piepowder—a traveler or trader

309. Pismire—an ant

310. Pistoleer—a soldier armed with a pistol

311. Plain over—lament; cry over

312. Plight—solemnly pledge or promise (faith or loyalty)

313. Pollard—an animal that has lost its horns or cast its antlers

314. Poltroon—an utter coward

315. Popinjay—a parrot

316. Pore on—think about

317. Portage—the action of carrying or transporting

318. Portion—a dowry

319. Posy—a short motto or line of verse inscribed inside a ring

320. Potation—a beverage

321. Pouncet-box—a small box with a perforated lid used for holding a substance impregnated with perfume

322. Prithee—expression of wish or request

323. Profess—teach (a subject) as a professor

324. Puissant—powerful; mighty

325. Purblind—short-sighted

326. Purfle—an ornamental or embroidered edge of a garment

327. Pythoness—a woman believed to be possessed by a spirit and to be able to foresee the future

328. Quaggy—marshy or boggy

329. Quality—high social standing

330. Quean—an impudent girl or woman

331. Quick, the—the living

332. Quidnunc—an inquisitive, gossipy person

333. Quiz—look intently at (someone)

334. Quockerwodger—marionette

335. Quoth—said (in I/he/she quoth)

336. Quotha—expression of surprise or contempt

337. Rack (of a cloud)—be driven by the wind

338. Raiment—clothing

339. Rapscallion—a mischievous person

340. Rathe-ripe—(of fruit) ripening early in the year; (of a person) precocious

341. Reave—carry out a plundering raid

342. Receipt—a recipe

343. Recipe—a medical prescription

344. Recompense—punish or reward appropriately

345. Recreant—cowardly

346. Rede—advice or counsel

347. Reduce—besiege and capture (a town or fortress)

348. Relieve—make (something) stand out

349. Remit—diminish

350. Repair—an abode or haunt

351. Repulsive—lacking friendliness or sympathy

352. Riband—a ribbon

353. Rover—a pirate

354. Ruth—a feeling of pity, distress, or grief

355. Sable—black mourning clothes

356. Sacring—the consecration of a bishop, a sovereign, or the Eucharistic elements

357. Saddle-bow—the pommel of a saddle

358. Salamander—a red-hot iron or poker

359. Sanative—healing

360. Sanguinary—involving or causing much bloodshed

361. Sap—make (a building, etc.) insecure by removing its foundations

362. Saturnism—lead poisoning

363. Scantling—a specimen, sample, or small amount

364. Scapegrace—a mischievous person; a rascal

Archaic Words
Archaic Words

366. Sciolist—a person who pretends to be knowledgeable

367. Scold—a woman who nags or grumbles constantly

368. Scot—a tax-like payment

369. Scrag—a neck

370. Scruple—a very small amount of something, especially a quality

371. Scullion—a menial servant

372. Scurvy—worthless or contemptible

373. Sea coal—mineral coal

374. Sea smoke—fog

375. Seizing—a length of cord or rope on board a ship

376. Semovedly—separately

377. Sennight—a week

378. Sepulture—burial

379. Shambles—a slaughterhouse

380. Shrift—forgiveness

381. Shrive—(of a priest) absolve (a person making a confession)

382. Siege—seat or throne

383. Silly—helpless; defenceless

384. Sippet—a small piece of bread or toast for dipping into soup or sauce

385. Sith—since

386. Skirt—an edge, border, or extreme part

387. Slipshod—(of shoes) worn down at the heel

388. Sluberdegullion—slacker; couch potato

389. Slugabed—a lazy person who stays in bed late

390. Small beer—weak beer

391. Smite—defeat or conquer

392. Smoothly—in truth; truly

393. Snoutfair—a good-looking person

394. Snowbrowth—freshly melted snow

395. Soak—drink heavily

396. Somedeal—somewhat

397. Somewhither—to some place; somewhere

398. Sooth—truth; reality; in truth

399. Soothfast—truthful; honest; faithful

400. Sore—extremely; severely

401. Speed—prosperity; success

402. Spence—a pantry or larder

403. Statuary—a sculptor

404. Steed— a horse

405. Stoup—a container for drinking beer, etc.; a flagon

406. Strait—strict; rigorous; constricted

407. Stripe—a blow with a lash

408. Strumpet—a female prostitute or a promiscuous woman

409. Success—a good or bad outcome

410. Suffer—endure; tolerate

411. Swain—a country youth

412. Swash—flamboyantly swagger about or wield a sword

413. Sweeting—darling

414. Sweetmeat—an item of confectionery or sweet food

415. Sweven—vision seen in sleep; a dream

416. Swink—to toil; to labour

417. Swith—instantly; quickly

418. Swoopstake—in an indiscriminate manner

419. Taiga—a forest

420. Tantivy—a rapid gallop or ride

421. Tapster—a person who serves at a bar

422. Tenter—a person in charge of something, especially factory machinery

423. Thenceforth—from that time, place, or point onward

424. Thereinto—into that or it

425. Thereon—thereupon

426. Thereunto—to that

427. Therewith—thereupon; forthwith

428. Therewithal—besides

429. Thither—to or toward that place

430. Thole—to endure; to suffer

431. Thrice—three times

432. Thro—through

433. Tilt—with engage in a contest with

434. Timbrel—a tambourine or similar instrument

435. Tithe—a tenth

436. Tocsin—an alarm bell or signal

437. Tope—drink to excess

438. Tother—the other

439. Trig—neat and smart

440. Troth—faith or loyalty when pledged in a solemn undertaking

441. Turnkey—a jailer

442. Twain—two

443. Twattle—to gossip

444. Tweeny—a maid who assisted both the cook and the housemaid

445. Twelvemonth—a year

446. Twitter-light—twilight

447. Twixt—between

448. Up to snuff—up to the required standard

449. Usward—toward us

450. Vale—a farewell; a sendoff

451. Varlet—an unprincipled rogue

452. Venery—hunting

453. Verily—truly; certainly; confidently

454. Virtue—virginity

455. Visionary—existing only in the imagination

456. Wain— a wagon or cart

457. Wait on/upon—pay a respectful visit to

458. Waits—street singers of Christmas carols

459. Wanion—ill luck; misfortune

460. Ware—of aware of

461. Wassail—revelry

462. Wast—second person singular past of be

463. Watchful—wakeful

464. Weasand—the esophagus or gullet

465. Weed—garment or outfit worn during mourning

466. Ween—think or suppose; be of the opinion

467. Wellaway—expression of sorrow or lamentation; alas

468. Wench—a girl or young woman

469. Whenas—when

470. Whence—from what place or source

471. Whereagainst—against which

472. Wherefore—for what reason

473. Whereinsoever—in whatsoever respect or place

474. Whereinto—into which; into what

475. Whereof—of what

476. Whereout—out of which

477. Wherethrough—through which; through the agency of

478. Whereuntil—to what

479. Wherewith—with or by which

480. Whichsoever—every one that

481. Whilom—formerly; once; former

482. White—goods domestic linen

483. Whither—to what place or state

484. Whithersoever—to any place whatsoever

485. Whitherward—toward what or which place

486. Whosoever—every one who

487. Wife—a woman, especially an old or uneducated one

488. Wight—a person of a specified kind

489. With squirrel—pregnant

490. Withal—besides; therewith; nevertheless; with

491. Wonder-wench—sweetheart

492. Wont—accustomed

493. Wood mad—insane; wild

494. Wright—a maker or builder

495. Yare—marked by quickness and agility; nimble; prepared; easily handled

496. Ye—you

497. Yoicks—expression of surprise or excitement

498. Yoke—the amount of land that one pair of oxen could plough in a day

499. Yon—yonder; that over there; those over there

500. Zounds—an expression of surprise or indignation Thought Catalog Logo Mark