Learn The Language of the Times

Animated King Sword

             The Language Of The Times

Want to join in the merriment at the Faire? Many Faire activities invite you to become more than a spectator, but there are other ways to feel like you are one of the merry-making revelers. First and foremost–dress the part. The easiest and quickest way to enter the world of the Renaissance Faire is to come in costume, whether as an elegant courtier, rebellious outlaw or lusty wench. Costumes may be made, purchased, or simply assembled–tights, a belted shirt, hat and boots for a squire, two skirts, blouse and waist-cincher for his damsel. Once dressed appropriately, thou mightst also converse in the tongue of the Realm, for thy pleasure and edification, or, to put it simply, learn some Renaissance words and phrases so you can speak like a 16th century native:

Hail and well met!=Hello, nice to see you!

How stands the hour?=What time is it?

Whither be the privies?=Where are the restrooms?

What be thy tide?=What is your name?

Prithee, attend me!=Please wait on me!

I be parched.=I’m thirsty.

Fare thee well; I must away!=Goodbye, I gotta go!


By my faith!
By St. Thomas!
By our lady! (the blessed virgin)
By the saints!
God’s wounds!
God’s teeth!
By heaven
A pox on thee!

Learn to address the villagers and members of the royal court by their correct titles, but remember to be extremely respectful of the King and Queen:

The King – Your Majesty,  My Liege,  Sire,  Lord King
(Always bow when in the presence of royalty or nobles of a higher rank.)      The Queen – Your Majesty  or   My lady.
Other royalties – Your grace   My lord   (or if female) My lady
Nobles of a higher rank – My lord  or  My lady
An elderly noblewoman – Granddame
The Clergy – (bishop or archbishop) Your Grace (Always kiss the episcopal ring of the bishops and archbishops )
Priests – Father   or  Holy Father.
(It was never necessary to bow in the presence of the lower clergy or monastics : Do bow before bishops, archbishops, cardinals, etc.)
A middle-class man – Goodman
A Peasant – (if they are English)Villien (SERF. Unless they are a free man)
An elderly peasant woman – Mother
Children – Lass or Lad
Note : “Only a noblewoman was refered to as a lady”

Familiar, Unfriendly or Insulting:

Bufoon or Fool
Goose, as in “Ye silly Goose”
Villien (to call someone, particularly a free man , a villien, was insulting)
Sot , as in: “Thou art nothing save it were a drunken Sot”
Knave – (Originally a young male servant) – Later, a man of humble birth or a rogue, as in: “Be gone, ye Knave”
Wolfshead – an outlaw
Half-Wit – Slow or stupid as in : “Ye blundering Half-Wit”
Peacock – For a person brightly or gaudily dressed, as in: “Who is yonder Peacock?

Some examples of insults

“I would that thou didst itch from head to foot and I had the scratching of thee, I would make thee the loathsomest scab in a England.”

”How Ale hath tickled thy poor brain, leaving no power within it save that of weaving obscenities.”

“Beshrew thy shrivled heart”

“How now, my glass gazing, lily livered, useless male.”

“Thou damned tripe-visage scoundrel”

“Thou errant ass, go and shake thine ears”

“How now, my hot livered gallant? Upon what malicious mischief dost thou come today?”

“Thou rotton apple…Thou frantic fiend…Thou great noodle…Thou urchin of hell…Thou hopping flea…Thou impudent hairy nothing”

 Remember, the more you participate, the more fun you’ll have!