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Shakespeare Glossary: B

BABE:  baby; a child's rag doll.

BACCARE:  stand back!

BACCHUS:  the god of wine and the son of Zeus and Semele.

BACCHANALS:  drunken dance to Bacchus.

BACKWARD:  what lies behind; in the past.

BACK:  sound all the way through; rear of an army; support, backing; to mount (invented by Shk.).

BACK-FRIEND:  a bailiff (usually the bailiff approached from the back to arrest the criminal); false friend.

BACKWARD:  the past; behind.

BACKWARDLY:  perversely.

BACON:  a man from the country.

BACON-FED:  country-bred (the modern form is "chaw-bacon"); also slang for "fat".

BAFFLE:  to disgrace.

BAG:  to retreat without surrender of any goods.

BAIT:  to harass (i.e. "bear-baiting").

BAKED-MEATS:  meat-pies, pastry.

BALD:  naked; bare; bare-headed.

BALDRICK:  a belt.

BALE:  evil; mischief; injury.

BALK (1):  to let slip; to dispute logic.

BALK (2):  a little mound or heap.

BALKED:  heaped up.

BALLOW:  syn. for cudgel.

BALM:  to anoint with oil; to sooth, heal (used 3 times in Shk.).

BALMY:  fragrant and soothing (invented by Shk.).

BALSAM:  balm.

BAN:  to curse.

BAND:  bond; obligation; agreement or promise.

BANDY:  to strike or throw; to fight; to beat to and fro like a tennis ball.

BANE:  poison; murder, destruction, cause of death of another.

BANK:  to coast, skirt.

BARM:  yeast.

BARN (1):  a child.

BARN (2):  to store in a barn.

BARNACLE:  species of goose supposed to be hatched from sea shells.

BASE (1):  a boy's game, sometimes called "prisoners' base."

BASE (2):  reason.

BASE (3):  dark-coloured; low-lying.

BASE-COURT:  outer court of a mansion or castle.

BASES:  pleated skirt of cloth, brocade, or velvet, reaching from waist to knee.

BASE-VIOL:  an early version of a modern cello.

BASILISK:  a reptile, said to kill with its breath; large cannon, made of brass.

BASIMECU:  negative term for a Frenchman.

BASTARD (1):  sweet Spanish wine.

BASTARD (2):  counterfeit; false.

BATE (1):  strife.

BATE (2):  a bird's beating wings.

BATE (3):  to blunt; to reduce or diminish.

BAT-FOWLING:  catching birds in the dark with a bright light.

BATLET:  a small bat, used for beating clothes.

BATTLE:  army.

BAVIN:  brushwood.

BAWCOCK:  a fine fellow.

BAWD:  procurer.

BAY:  deep barking; to pursue with barking.

BEADSMAN:  one paid to pray for others (see hermits).

BEARING-CLOTH:  child's christening robe.

BEAT:  to flutter; to think deeply or ponder.

BEAVER:  face guard of a helmet.

BEDLAM:  the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethelem in London, used as an insane asylum.

BED PRESSER:  lazy person.

BEEF-WITTED:  thick-headed.

BEETLE (1):  a kind of mallet.

BEETLE (2):  overhang threateningly.

BEETLE-BROWS:  bushy eyebrows.

BEING (1):  life, existence.

BEING (2):  abode; dwelling.

BELDAME:  grandmother; hag.

BELLONA:  the goddess of war (Macbeth is "Bellona's bridegroom").

BE-METE:  to measure.

BE-MOILED:  to befoul with dirt.

BENDING:  submissive.

BENVENUTO:  welcome.

BESHREW:  curse.

BERGOMASK:  a rustic dance (named after the people of Bergamo, Venice).

BESTRAUGHT:  distracted.

BETEEM:  to grant.

BETIDE:  to happen.

BEZONIAN:  a beggar; rascal.

BIDING:  abiding-place.

BIGGEN:  a night-cap.

BILBERRY:  the whortleberry.

BILBO:  a sword. Comes from the sword Bilbao, known for its amazing blade.

BILBOES:  shackles on an iron bar locked to the floor.

BILL:  a bill-hook, a weapon.

BIN:  been, are.

BIRD-BOLT:  a bolt to be shot from a crossbow at birds.

BIRDING:  part. hawking at partridges.

BIRTH-STRANGLED:  killed at moment of birth.

BIS COCTUS:  twice cooked.

BISSON:  blinding.

BLANK:  the white mark in the middle of a target.

BLENCH:  to move; flinch.

BLENT:  blended.

BLIND-WORM:  small, venomous snake.

BLOOD-BOLTERED:  hair matted with blood.

BLOOD-DRINKING:  "blood-drinking sighs": reference to the belief that every sigh causes the heart to lose a drop of blood.

BLOW:  to inflate.

BOARD:  to make advances to; accost.

BOB (1):  to taunt.

BOB (2):  to cheat.

BOB (3):  to bang or thump.

BODGE:  to give way.

BODKIN:  dagger; long pin for the hair.

BOLD:  to embolden.

BOLLEN:  swollen.

BOLTED:  sifted, refined.

BOLTER:  a sieve.

BOLTING-HUTCH:  a hutch in which meal was sifted.

BOMBARD:  a barrel, a drunkard.

BOMBAST:  padding.

BONA-ROBAS:  a harlot.

BOND:  that to which one is bound.

BOOK:  learning; writing on a tablet.

BOOT:  help, use.

BOOT:  advantage.

BOOTLESS:  without advantage, useless.

BOOTS:  bots, a kind of worm.

BORE:  calibre of a gun.

BOREAS:  the north wind.

BORES:  stabs.

BOSKY:  covered with underwood.

BOSOM:  wish, heart's desire.

BOTS:  worms which infest horses.

BOTCHER:  cobbler.

BOTTLE:  a bundle of hay.

BOURN:  a boundary.

BRACE:  armour for the arm, state of defence.

BRACH:  a hound bitch.

BRAID:  deceitful.

BRAVE:  handsome, well-dressed.

BRAVE:  boast.

BRAVERY:  finery.

BRAWL:  a dance.

BREAST:  voice (Twelfth Night, 2.3).

BREATHE:  to exercise.

BREATHING:  exercising.

BREECHING:  liable to be whipt.

BREED-BATE:  a breeder of debate, a mischief-maker.

BREESE:  the gadfly.

BREWAGE:  brewed drink.

BRIBE-BUCK:  a stolen buck.

BRING:  to attend one on a journey.

BRINDED:  striped.

BRING:  to attend one on a journey.

BROCK:  a badger, a term of contempt.

BROKE:  to act as a procurer.

BROKEN:  having lost some teeth by age.

BROKEN MUSIC:  the music of stringed instruments.

BROKER:  a sly and crafty knave.

BROTHERHOOD:  trading company.

BROWNIST:  a follower of a sect of Puritans.

BRUIT (1):  noise, report, rumour.

BRUSH:  rude assault.

BUBUKLES:  pimples.

BUCK:  suds or lye for washing clothes in.

BUCK-BASKET:  the basket in which clothes are carried to the.

BUCKING:  washing.

BUCK-WASHING:  washing in lye.

BUG:  a bugbear, a spectre.

BULLY-ROOK:  a bragging cheater.

BURGONET:  a kind of helmet.

BURST:  to break.

BUSKY:  bushy.

BUTT-SHAFT:  a light arrow for shooting at a target.