Shakespeare Dictionary - D

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Generate random Shakespearean insults

Shakespeare's word

Meaning (in the sample usage)



Sample usage

deal of

quantity of, greatness of, superiority of


Lear 2.2

1 HIV 1.3

1 HIV 2.4

And put upon him such a deal of man, / That worthied him, got praises of the king

what a candy deal of courtesy

this intolerable deal of sack

delations accusations 1 Oth 3.3 but in a man that's just
They are close delations, working from the heart
That passion cannot rule.




TN 2.4

My love can give no place, bide no denay.


small French coin, 1/12th of a sou


Rich III 1.2

My dukedom to a beggarly denier




Rich III 1.1

and descant on mine own deformity


reward, merit, desert

(noted here as a noun, more often as gerund/adj.)


Lear 3.3

Oth 1.3

This seems a fair deserving,

I confess me knit to thy deserving with cables of perdurable toughness




Shrew Ind.

Another bear the ewer, the third a diaper


  1. verb - make haste
  2. verb - send
  3. noun - dismissal


Rich III 3.4

Lear 2.1

Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner: . . . he longs to see your head.

messenger from hence attend dispatch


draw to


Lear 3.3

and must draw me That which my father loses;

dread, dreadful

terror, fear, awe

reverential or respectful fear; awe


Rich III 1.1

Rich III 3.1

Rich II 1.1

2 HVI 5.1

dreadful marches

Well, my dread lord; so must I call you now

Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.

A messenger from Henry, our dread liege,


pleasing to the ear, melodious


Mids 2.1

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath

Shakespeare Dictionary A-MThe most comprehensive work on this topic is Alexander Schmidt's Shakespeare Lexicon, a typical turn-of-the-century tome, carried out with Teutonic thoroughness. I wonder how the pre-computer-era scholars tackled projects like this; lots of index cards and infinite patience, I suppose.

Incredibly, the book provides EVERY instance of EVERY word, in context, used by Shakespeare. In any event, for anyone who really enjoys Shakespeare, it's fun to pore over this "volume of forgotten lore," read all the occurrences of "housewife", for example, and ponder the subtle differences of meaning from one usage to the next.

You can order the Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary by Alexander Schmidt (a Dover re-print, 1985) from

(Vol. 1 A-M)     (Vol. 2 N-Z)

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