REED Anglo-Latin Wordbook

Abigail Ann Young

Introduction | Works Consulted  |  Abbreviations Used  |  Navigating the Wordbook


This wordbook is a compilation of the Latin vocabulary glossed in the Bristol (1997), Cambridge (1989), Cheshire (2007), Cornwall (1999), Dorset (1999), Ecclesiastical London (2008), Herefordshire (1990), Inns of Court (2010), Kent:Diocese of Canterbury (2002), Lancashire (1991), Lincolnshire (2009), Oxford (2004), Shropshire (1994), Somerset (1996), Sussex (2000), Wales (2005), and Worcestershire (1990) collections. In the Lincolnshire glossary, words beginning with A-L were prepared by Abigail Ann Young and ones beginning with M-Z were prepared by Patrick Gregory, based in both cases on this wordlist through Ecclesiastical London. Eventually the Latin vocabulary for collections prior to Cambridge will be integrated into this compilation and the entire word-list checked and revised by the use of concordances to the various collections. Words are now included in the Latin Glossaries printed in REED collections if they are not to be found in the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) or if their classical meaning has changed or become restricted in medieval or Renaissance usage. Special attention has been paid to the terminology of drama, music, and pastimes. This represents a change from the selection criteria of the earliest printed glossaries: our selection criteria had to change when the OLD superseded Lewis and Short as the standard reference dictionary for Classical Latin. In the final version of the compilation, the OLD will be used as the sole criterion for inclusion.

If a word is found in the OLD, but appears in the text in an obscure spelling or anomalous inflectional form for which the OLD provides no cross-reference, that word has been included and its standard lexical entry form indicated, without giving a definition. If the spelling variants or anomalous inflectional forms have been treated as scribal errors and more correct forms given in textual notes, the forms thus noted are not repeated here. But most of the Latin words used in the records are common classical words whose spelling has changed, if at all, according to common medieval variations. The results of these common variations are not treated here as new words, nor are forms of glossed words resulting from such variations treated as variant spellings. These variations are:

  • ML c for CL t before i
  • ML cc for CL ct before i
  • ML d for CL t in a final position
  • ML e for CL ae or oe
  • ML ff for CL f, common in an initial position
  • ML addition of h
  • ML omission of CL h
  • ML variation between i and e before another vowel
  • ML n for CL m before another nasal
  • Intrusion of ML p in CL consonant clusters mm, mn, ms, or mt
  • ML doubling of CL single consonants
  • ML singling of CL double consonants

No attempt has been made to correct these spellings to classical norms; rather, scribal practice has been followed in such cases. Where the same word occurs in spellings that differ according to the list above, the most common spelling (or the earliest, when numbers of occurrences are roughly equal) is treated as standard and used for the headword. Because the most common spelling varies from collection to collection, for the purpose of this compilation I have used ML 'c' before 'i' in headforms by convention, except in consonant clusters like 'cti' or 'pti' cluster, where the CL 't' has been used. If the usage of different collections varied for single and double consonants, the most etymologically appropriate form has been used as the headform. In accordance with OLD practice, variation in the spelling of certain borrowed vocabulary like 'ebdomada' (or 'hebdomada') is indicated by '(h)' in headforms and the presence of radical 'c' and 's' in words compounded with 'ex' is indicated by '(c)' and '(s)' in headforms. We have conformed to the practice of the OLD as regards 'i/j' and 'u/v' variation: in this glossary only the letter forms 'i' and 'u' are used. If a noun of the first declension appears only in documents whose scribes consistently used classical orthography, its genitive singular is listed as '-ae'; otherwise the ML '-e' is used. In headwords, either the ML 'e' or the CL 'ae' (or even '(a)e') may appear, depending on the orthographic variations of the different collections. Users should therefore check under both possible spellings. All listed variant spellings will be found under the headword, at the end of the definition, set apart in boldface type. Where the variant spelling would not closely follow the headword alphabetically, it is also listed separately and cross-referenced to the main entry. Manuscript capitalization has not been preserved; however, if proper names are glossed, they are capitalized in accordance with modern usage. Half-brackets used in the text to indicate insertions, and italics used to indicate expansions, are ignored.

The glossaries include words found in records printed or quoted in the Records, Introduction, Appendixes, and Endnotes of their respective volumes. Definitions are given only for those senses of a particular word which are used in the records printed in these collections. In any given collection, every sense of a given word that occurs in that collection will be given if any sense needs to be listed. However, in this compilation it has not been practical to include every sense from every collection of every word that has been noticed in a post-CL form in a particular collection. So the lack of listed page numbers from a particular collection for a particular CL word does not necessarily imply that the word does not appear in those collections, only that, if it occurs, it occurs only in CL senses. Occasionally a proper noun appears in the glossary, eg, 'Andreas' or 'Maria', because of a particular special usage but no attempt is made to indicate every occurrence of that name in its normal usage. More attention has been paid in recent collections to post-CL usage of common prepositions and such usage is not noticed for all collections, however, I do intend at some future point to go back over previous collections to add to the articles on such prepositions as 'ad' or 'per'.

For every word, sense, and variant recorded the glossary cites the earliest example occurring in each collection but because of the arrangement of county collections, the first occurrence chronologically may not necessarily be the first occurrence in page order. Therefore the other occurrence(s) indicated by 'etc' may in fact precede the first occurrence in page order in a given collection. Page order has only been used if there are two earliest occurrences in different documents assigned to the same year. In such cases, the occurrence that also appears earliest in page order is given. If a glossed word occurs twice in a single line, superscript numerals are used after the line number to distinguish the occurrences. Within references, page and line numbers are separated by an oblique stroke. Words occurring within marginalia are indicated by a lower-case 'm' following the page and line reference. Words occurring within collation notes are indicated by a lower-case 'c' following the page and line reference to which the collation note applies. Page and line references are preceded by a letter or letters differentiating the collections: BR (Bristol), C (Cambridge), CH (Cheshire), CR (Cornwall), DR (Dorset), EL (Ecclesiastical London), H (Herefordshire), EK (Kent, Diocese of Canterbury), IC (Inns of Court), L (Lancashire), LI (Lincolnshire), OX (Oxford), SH (Shropshire), SM (Somerset), SX (Sussex), WL (Wales), and W (Worcestershire).

It is difficult to know in some cases whether certain words are being used in a CL sense or in one of the modified senses acquired in Anglo-Latin usage during the Middle Ages. In these circumstances, the range of possibilities has been fully indicated under the appropriate lexical entry. (When it seems useful to indicate the possibility that a given sense was intended in a given passage, even if no certainty exists, a '?' is added after the appropriate page and line reference under that sense.) Unclear, technical, or archaic terms, especially those pertaining to canon or common law, performance, and music, are usually given a stock translation equivalent but receive a fuller treatment in the glossary.

As a rule, only one occurrence of each word, or each sense or form of each word, will be listed; 'etc' following a reference means that there is at least one more occurrence of that word, sense, or form in the collection. The one occurrence listed is either the sole occurrence or the first chronologically. Multiple occurrences of each sense may be listed for words defined in more than one sense; in fact all possible occurrences of a given sense may be listed if it is difficult to distinguish the senses in context.

All headwords are given in a standard dictionary form: nouns are listed by nominative, genitive, and gender; adjectives by the terminations of the nominative singular or, in the case of adjectives of one termination, by the nominative and genitive; verbs by their principal parts.

A slightly unusual situation was created by the extensive use in some Inns of Court appendix texts of fictive Latin names, sometimes relying on multi-lingual roots or involving multi-lingual puns. Although these names often appear in otherwise English contexts, they have been glossed here when they are not composed of words or names found in the OLD or explained within the documents in which they occur.

Works Consulted

Black's Law Dictionary. 5th ed (St Paul, 1979). [Black's]

The Catholic Encyclopedia. On-line edition (, 2003; originally published New York, 1908--12). [CEO]

Cheney, C.R. (ed). Handbook of Dates for Students of English History. New ed rev by Michael Jones (Cambridge, 2000). [Cheney]

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. R.E. Latham and D.R. Howlett (eds). Fascicules 1--6:A--PRO (London, 1975--2009). [DML]

Grove Music Online. L. Macy (ed.)

Latham, R.E. (ed). Revised Medieval Latin Word-List from British and Irish Sources (London, 1965). [Latham]

LeNeve, John. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857, IX, Lincoln Diocese. Revised and expanded ed compiled by Joyce M. Horn and David M. Smith (London, 1999). [LeNeve]

Liddell, H.G.; Scott, R.; Jones, H.S. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. (Oxford, 1940, rpt 1996). [LSJ]

Middle English Dictionary. Hans Kurath and Sherman H. Kuhn, et al (eds). (Ann Arbor, 1952--2001). [MED]

Munrow, David. [Musical] Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (London, 1976).

The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Lesley Brown (ed). 2 vols (Oxford, 1993). [NSOED]

The Oxford Classical Dictionary. N.G.L. Hammond and H.H. Scullard (eds). 2nd ed (Oxford, 1970). [OCD]

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone (eds). 2nd ed with corrections (Oxford, 1978). [ODCC]

The Oxford English Dictionary. Compact ed. 2 vols (New York, 1971). [OED]

Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed 1989 (ed. J. A. Simpson and E.S. C. Weiner), Additions 1993--7 (ed. John Simpson and Edmund Weiner; Michael Proffitt), and 3rd ed. (in progress) Mar. 2000-- (ed. John Simpson). OED Online. [OEDO]

Oxford Latin Dictionary. P.G.W. Glare (ed) (Oxford, 1982). [OLD]

Page, Christopher. Voices and Instruments of the Middle Ages. Appendix 1 (London, 1987).

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of British Surnames. 2nd ed with corrections and additions, R.M. Wilson (ed) (London, 1977). [Reaney]

Souter, Alexander. A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. (Oxford, 1949). [Souter]

Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Vols 1-10: A-P (Leipzig, 1900-). [TLL]

Winston-Allen, Anne. Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park, Pennsylvania, 1997).

Young, Abigail Ann. 'Plays and Players: the Latin Terms for Performance.' REEDN 9, no 2 (1984), 56--62 and 10, no 1 (1985), 9--16.

--- . 'Minstrels and Minstrelsy: Household Retainers or Instrumentalists?' REEDN 20, no 1 (1995), 11--17.


abbrev      abbreviation
abl         ablative
acc         accusative
act         active voice
adj         adjective
adv         adverb
AL          Anglo-Latin
art         article
attr        attributive
CL          Classical Latin
coll        collective(ly)
comm        common gender
compar      comparative
conj        conjunction
cp          compare
dat         dative
Dt          Deuteronomy
E           English
EG           English Glossary
f           feminine
F            French
gd          gerund
gdve        gerundive
gen         genitive
Gk          Greek
intr        intransitive
imper       imperative
indecl      indeclinable
L           Latin
LL          Late Latin
m           masculine
ME          Middle English
ML          Medieval Latin
n           noun
nt          neuter
occ         occurrence(s)
OE          Old English
OF          Old French
pass        passive voice
per         person
pf          perfect tense
pfp         perfect participle
phr         phrase(s)
pl          plural
pr          present tense
prep        preposition
pron        pronoun
prp         present participle
refl        reflexive
sbst        substantive
sg          singular
subj        subjunctive
superl      superlative
tr          transitive
v           verb
var         variant(s)
vb          verbal

Navigating the Word-List

You may access the Word-List in one of two ways -- by browsing through it or by using the Quick List of performance-related terminology.

Anglo-Latin Wordbook
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Principal Terms Relating to Performance

These pages created and maintained by Abigail Ann Young. Original text copyright (C) Records of Early English Drama, 2007.

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