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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Dictionary
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0477  Tuesday, 15 March 2005

From:           Mark Alexander <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 14 Mar 2005 14:35:37 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Dictionary

Hello,

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good Shakespeare dictionary.  I am
curious about the actually meaning of the many words at the time
Shakespeare wrote them.  For example, in Hamlet when he says, "How
absolute the knave is", I can look the word knave up in a modern
dictionary, and get the following definitions:

a. a man of humble birth
b. a male servant
c. an unprincipled, crafty man

Now which is the correct definition for what Hamlet really means?  Is he
calling him a male servant? a man of humble birth? a crafty man? or is
it none of the above?  How does one know exactly?  I was thinking an
Elizabethan or Shakespeare dictionary would be more accurate.

This is but one example of probably hundreds and hundreds.  Any insight
on this problem would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Alexander

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