Many words used in Shakespearean English seem archaic to us today, and are sometimes consciously used as archaisms in such genres as poetry, historical novels, and comic books. The use of forsooth, zounds, by my troth, and the like adds an (often artificial) element of antique colouring to an otherwise modern text. Some of the forms will also still be heard in regional dialects.
Archaisms were also around in Shakespeare’s time, usually items taken from Chaucer and his contemporaries, or popularized by later writers with a historical consciousness, such as Spenser. The instances typically occur in cases 
where characters are reading texts where an older style of language has been contrived, such as a love-letter, scroll, or play script; but they also turn up in certain types of character (such as school-masters) and in the speech of such bombastic personalities as Pistol (in Henry V) and Don Armado (in Love’s Labour’s Lost). Archaisms are most notable in Shakespeare’s poems, and in the Chorus monologues of the medieval poet Gower in Pericles; these include several instances of a y- prefix before verbs, a remnant of the Old English ge- form used chiefly as a past-time marker in past participles. Further examples are given under individual entries in the Glossary.

Noises and calls made by people

Item Gloss Example
clepe call Ven 993 [of Venus and death] She clepes him king of graves
eke also, moreover, too MND III.i.88 [Flute as Thisbe, of Pyramus] Most brisky juvenal, and eke most lovely Jew
eyne eyes Luc 1229 the maid with swelling drops 'gan wet / Her circled eyne
forthy therefore, for this reason Per Chorus.II.19 [Gower alone, of Helicanus] forthy he strive / To killen bad
hight is called LLL I.i.168 [King to Berowne, of the Spanish visitor] that Armado hight
hild held Luc 1257 let it not be hild / Poor women's faults, that they are so fulfill'd / With men's abuses!
iwis assuredly, certainly, truly MV II.ix.68 [Arragon, reading the portrait's schedule] There be fools alive iwis, / Silvered o'er
ne nor Per Chorus.II.36 [Gower alone, of Pericles] Ne aught escapend but himself
sain said LLL III.i.81 [Armado to Mote, of the word 'envoy'] it is an epilogue or discourse to make plain / Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain
shoon shoes Ham IV.v.26 [Ophelia singing] And his sandal shoon
speken speak Per Chorus II.12 [Gower alone] each man / Thinks all is writ he speken can
tofore earlier, beforehand LLL III.i.81 [Armado to Mote] Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain
wight person, human being H5 II.i.57 [Pistol to Nym] O braggart vile, and damned furious wight!
writ gospel, holy writ Per Chorus.II.12 [Gower alone, of Pericles] each man / Thinks all is writ he speken can [i.e. everything he says is as true as the gospel]
y-clad decked out, clothed 2H6 I.i.33 [King to Queen, of her] Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty
yclept called LLL V.ii.594 [Holofernes to audience] Judas I am, yclept Maccabaeus
y-ravished entrance, enrapture, carry away with joy Per Chorus.III.35 [Gower alone, of the news that Pericles is a king] this ... / Y-ravished the regions round
y-slacked reduce to inactivity, quieten down Per Chorus.III.1 [Gower alone] Now sleep y-slacked hath the rout

Jump directly to