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Shakespearean Words for People Who Aren't Planning on Ever Having Sex Again

Using these words will drive a nail right into the coffin of your social life, I promise.

My whole life, I’ve been a dork.

Tragically, I’m not just dorky in one or two categories. I’m dorky across the board. Well, whatever part of the board that isn’t math or science. In that sense, I’m asymmetrically dorky.

But when it comes to history, the English language, and the unholy fusion of the two—Shakespeare—I sport the 17th century equivalent of a pocket pen protector and birth control glasses.

And now, I’m happy to ruin your social life, too, by introducing you to a handful of the most deliciously elegant words and turns of phrase—all attributable to the gods of my dorky idolatry, the Elizabethan writers, particularly Shakespeare. If you’re done dating or even trying to make anybody like you, feel free to trot out some of these bad boys during your next conversation. People will literally throw themselves off a balcony to get away from you.

WORD OR PHASE: You make a chimney of your face. WHAT IT MEANS: Said of smokers. USED IN A SENTENCE: He propped the cigarette between his lips and held a match to it, indifferent to my complaint that he was making a chimney of his face.

WORD OR PHRASE: Every man might have his fling at her. WHAT IT MEANS: A woman who likes sex. USED IN A SENTENCE: She paraded through the lobby, breasts spilling out of her neckline, making it abundantly clear that every man might have his fling at her.

WORD OR PHRASE: Sluice your gob. WHAT IT MEANS: Take a big swig of something alcoholic. USED IN A SENTENCE: After a day of toiling away in the garden and digging post holes with cranky equipment, it was high time I sluiced my gob with a little nectar of the working man.

WORD OR PHRASE: To hazard one’s soul upon a pair of dice. WHAT IT MEANS: To tempt fate; to throw caution to the wind. USED IN A SENTENCE: With $15 in his checking account, perhaps now was not the best time to hazard his soul upon a pair of dice by investing in cryptocurrency.

WORD OR PHRASE: Cram thy slops with French crowns. WHAT IT MEANS: Slops were 17th century trousers; a French crown was a monetary unit, such as a coin, from France. In other words, to make money. USED IN A SENTENCE: He waded into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, an entire day’s worth of tourist coins beneath his feet, and gleefully began cramming his slops with French crowns.

WORD OR PHASE: To set them by the ears. WHAT IT MEANS: To cause a group of people to squabble. USED IN A SENTENCE: And with that one reluctant admission — “Yes, I’ll be laying off people even though managers are still getting a raise” — he set the whole department by the ears.

WORD OR PHRASE: Unlicked cub. WHAT IT MEANS: A rude or uncouth lad. USED IN A SENTENCE: He arrived late, the unlicked cub, and proceeded to dismantle the entire argument by weaponizing our own logic against us.

WORD OR PHRASE: Quarrelous brabbles. WHAT IT MEANS: Arguments of a particularly heated nature. USED IN A SENTENCE: All a weary mother of two obstreperous children could do at that point was close the door against their quarrelous brabbles and pour herself a sizable glass of wine.

WORD OR PHRASE: Farded with artifice. WHAT IT MEANS: Kim Kardashian. USED IN A SENTENCE: Mardi Gras had transformed her from a bespectacled bluestocking into a painted virago farded with tawdry beads and artifice

WORD OR PHRASE: Vices of a deeper dye. WHAT IT MEANS: There are sins, and then there are sins. USED IN A SENTENCE: To lie on a resume is one thing; but to compulsively lie about being qualified to operate dangerous machinery is a vice of a deeper dye.

WORD OR PHRASE: The foulest place of my arse is fairer than thy face. WHAT IT MEANS: You’re ugly, and I don’t like you. USED IN A SENTENCE: Tired of having her milk money stolen by Francine, the intrepid theater nerd dredged her memory for flowery Elizabethan insults that Francine stood little chance of understanding, and from a safe distance shouted, “The foulest place of my arse is fairer than thy face!”

WORD OR PHRASE: You’d make honey of a dog’s turd. WHAT IT MEANS: Someone who is so Pollyanna, you can’t even with them at this point. USED IN A SENTENCE: I slammed the pan on the stove and turned to her, incandescent with rage. “Stop saying she means well! She doesn’t. This is so you, by the way, always making honey of a dog’s turd.”

WORD OR PHRASE: Fair words butter no parsnips. WHAT IT MEANS: You’re not going to be able to talk your way out of this. USED IN A SENTENCE: Even with the naughty creature purring up at her, she said, “I know who scratched the couch, so you can look as adorable as you like, but fair words butter no parsnips.”

WORD OR PHRASE: In her flowers. WHAT IT MEANS: Menstruating. USED IN A SENTENCE: Melissa wisely eschewed the white pants, knowing what a foolish choice they would be for any woman in her flowers.

WORD OR PHRASE: Clatterfart. WHAT IT MEANS: A gossip. USED IN A SENTENCE: Mike had to tell somebody, but whom could he trust? Certainly not Jonas, that old clatterfart. Jonas couldn’t keep a secret any longer than old Mr. Bartlesby could hold his urine after drinking a Big Gulp.

WORD OR PHRASE: To be in the very rough of fury. WHAT IT MEANS: To be angry enough to pop a blood pressure cuff right off your arm. USED IN A SENTENCE: Knowing Cheetolino was in the very rough of fury about his election results, we instantly tendered our resignations and went into Witness Protection.

WORD OR PHRASE: She is right paggled. WHAT IT MEANS: Very pregnant. USED IN A SENTENCE: Take my word for it, if Justine doesn’t stop using her car as a rolling bedroom, she’s going to be right paggled.

WORD OR PHRASE: Hell-raking oaths. WHAT IT MEANS: Pretty much anything that comes out of my mouth. USED IN A SENTENCE: The beautiful thing about learning Italian is the hell-raking oaths that come tumbling from my lips these days are now expressed in two glorious languages.

WORD OR PHRASE: It drew rivers from mine eyes. WHAT IT MEANS: Crying. USED IN A SENTENCE: Watching the imbecility of politicians across the globe has the power to draw rivers from mine eyes—and to inspire an equally strong impulse to flee.

And there you have it! Use any one of these choice Elizabethan words or phrases, and you can put a toe tag on your love life. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2022 Stacey Eskelin

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