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Shakespeare frequently uses words which no longer exist in modern English, or which have changed their meaning since Shakespeare’s day. Here are some of the most common, with their modern meanings:
Assay: to try
Base: lower-class, unworthy, illegitimate
Bawd: pimp, procurer of prostitutes
Brave: handsome, well-dressed, confident, outstanding
Caitiff: a wretched, pitiable person
Clepe: to call
Coil: trouble, chaos
Cozen: to cheat
Dame: mistress, mother, senior woman
Discourse: reason, capacity for reason
Doff: to take off
Fain: glad, gladly
Hence: from now on
Hie: to hurry, to go quickly
Hither: towards here
Ill: bad, unskillful, inadequate, evil
Kno to acknowledge, to recognize
Lay: to wager
Let: to hinder, a hindrance
Like: to please
Mark: to notice, to pay attention to
Moiety: a portion, a part
Natural: a fool
Out: all the way, fully
Practise: a trick
Quality: nature, character
Quit: to respond, to repay
Shre a woman who speaks her mind (meant as an insult)
Spleen: anger, impulsiveness
Tall: strong, brave
Thither: towards there
Vein: humor, mood, lifestyle
Whence: from where
Will: desire, intention