Glossary of Unfamiliar Terms
Racks: An instrument of torture in which the victim’s arm and leg bones could be pulled out of their sockets.
Alchemist: “Scientists” who sought to convert base metals into gold.
Jade: a cruel woman.
Blunderbore: This was the giant of the Jack the Giant Killer fairy tales, a carnivorous giant who ground men’s bones to make his bread.
Keep: The strong, innermost structure in a fort or castle.
A-suing: Seeking justice.
Vapidly: Without animation, flavor, or underlying content.
Jumping Joan: A country dance.
Lackadaydee: Affected, pensive, sentimental or artificially tender.
Popinjay: Vain, empty-headed fop, decked out in ornamental finery. A parrot.
Jibe: A sneering comment.
Brain Pan: A skull.
Odd freak: An unexpected occurrence.
Halberd: A medieval weapon combining an ax blade and spear on a long handle.
Double gratings: Inner and outer metal gates to the cell.
Marks: A medieval English coin worth 13.33 shillings.
Pall: A black cloak or cover.
Auricular: Literally, the ear. Here it refers to the figurative meaning of a person’s reaction to what you tell him, based on his attitudes and prejudices.
Cock and bull tale : An unbelievable, boastful bit of fiction.
Kirtle: A kind of short gown or jacket.
Unalloyed: Not debased, pure.
Lieutenant: Pronounced LEF-tenant in the UK.