Some Names I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

I’ve read 37 chapters of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Kenilworth. Here is a list of names, proper nouns, and allusions I’ve had to look up:


Lindabrides is a heroine in a Spanish romance called The Mirror of Knighthood, whose name at one time was a synonym for a kept mistress. The Mirror of Knighthood was once very popular, and is mentioned by Cervantes in Don Quixote as one of the books in Don Quixote’s library. (Infoplease and

Jack Pudding

Jack Pudding is the name of a stock buffoon or clown character who performs pudding tricks, such as swallowing a certain number of yards of black-pudding, in street performances. ( and Wiktionary)


In Kenilworth, Matamoros, or “Moor-slayers,” seem to be Spanish courtiers, who were prone to dueling and brawling. (Wikipedia)


Haly Abenragel, or Hali, was an Arab astrologer of the late 10th and early 11th century. (Wikipedia)


Hermeticism is a religious and philosophical tradition based primarily upon ancient writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism gave prominence to the ideas that there was a single, true philosophy found in all religions and that nature could be influenced by means of magic and arts such as alchemy and astrology. (Wikipedia)

Rosy Cross

The Rosy Cross, or Rose Cross, is a symbol associated with the semi-mythical Christian Rosenkreuz, who was a cabalist, alchemist, and founder of the Rosicrucian Order. The Rosy Cross is in the shape of a cross with a rose at its center. (Wikipedia)


In Greek mythology, Autolycus, whose name means “the wolf itself,” was a son of the Olympian god Hermes and Chione. He was known as a thief and a trickster. In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, a character named Autolycus is a comic thief. (Wikipedia)


Potosi—properly Potosí—is a city in Bolivia, which was formerly a rich silver-mining center. (

Many More Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

I’ve read twenty chapters of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Kenilworth and these are the some of the new words I’ve learned so far:


A bonaroba is a woman who is a showy wanton or a courtesan. (The Free Dictionary)


Cordovan is a soft, smooth leather originally made at Córdoba, Spain of goatskin, but later made also of split horsehide, pigskin, and so forth. (


A ferule a rod, cane, or flat piece of wood used for punishing children, especially by striking them on the hand. (


A jackanape (or jackanapes) is an impudent or mischievous person. (Wiktionary)


The word nonage refers to a period of legal minority or any period of immaturity. (The Free Dictionary)


A pantile is a type of fired roof tile. It is S-shaped in appearance and is single lap, meaning that the end of the tile laps only the course immediately below. Pantiles are used in eastern coastal parts of England and Scotland, where they were first imported from Holland in the early 17th century. (Wikipedia)


A precisian is a person who stresses or practices scrupulous adherence to a strict standard, especially of religious observance or morality. (Merriam-Webster)


Sarsenet is a fine, soft fabric, often of silk, made in plain or twill weave and used especially for linings. (


A spiral is a hospital, especially one for patients with contagious diseases, or a highway shelter. (The Free Dictionary)


A spitch-cock is an eel that is split, cut into pieces, and broiled or fried. To spitch-cock is to to split, cut up, and broil or fry an eel, or to treat someone or something severely. (

29 Percent!

I've read 29 percent of the complete works of Sir Walter Scott

The Story

In January of 2014, I bought an ebook titled The Complete Works of Sir Walter Scott for two dollars and commenced reading.

As of today, I have read 29 percent of The Complete Works. According to my Bluefire Reader app, I’ve read 5,317 out of 18,096 pages. Only 12,779 pages and about 43 works to go!

My Progress

It has been a lot of fun reading Sir Walter Scott’s historical novels. These are the novels I’ve read thus far:

Guy Mannering
The Antiquary
Black Dwarf
Old Mortality
Rob Roy
The Heart Of Midlothian
The Bride Of Lammermoor
A Legend Of Montrose
The Monastery
The Abbot

My Goal

These are the Sir Walter Scott works I’ve yet to read. If nothing else, the titles of some of these works are fantastic!

The Pirate
The Fortunes Of Nigel
Peveril Of The Peak
Quentin Durward
St. Ronans Well
The Betrothed
The Talisman
The Fair Maid Of Perth
Anne Of Geierstein
Count Robert Of Paris
Castle Dangerous

Shorter Fiction
Chronicles Of The Canongate
The Highland Widow
The Two Drovers
The Surgeon’s Daughter
Stories From The Keepsake
My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror
The Tapestried Chamber
Death Of The Laird’s Jock
The Inferno Of Altisidora
Christopher Corduroy
Depravity Among Animals
A Highland Anecdote

Non Fiction
The Life Of John Dryden
Paul’s Letters To His Kinsfolk
Letters Of Malachi Malagrowther
Tales Of A Grandfather Volume 1
Tales Of A Grandfather Volume 2
Tales Of A Grandfather Volume 3
Tales Of A Grandfather Volume 4
Tales Of A Grandfather Volume 5
The Life Of Napoleon Buonaparte
Letters On Demonology And Witchcraft
Minor Prose Works
The Journal Of Sir Walter Scott

“Annot Lyle’s Songs”
“Ballads, Translated, or Imitated, from the German, &C.”
“Border Ballad”
“Bothwell Castle”
“Cadyow Castle”
“Carle, Now the King’s Come”
“Claud Halcro and Norna”
“Claud Halcro’s Song”
“Claud Halcro’s Verses”
“Cleveland’s Songs”
“Contributions to the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border”
“County Guy”
“Davie Gellatley’s Song”
“Death Chant”
“Donald Caird’s Come Again”
“Duet Between the Black Knight and Wamba”
“Elspeth’s Ballad”
“Epilogue to the Appeal. Spoken by Mrs. Henry Siddons, 1818”
“Epilogue to the Drama Founded on Saint Ronan’s Well”
“Epitaph on Mrs. Erskine”
“Epitaph. Designed for a Monument in Lichfield Cathedral”
“Farewell to MacKenzie, High Chief of Kintail”
“Farewell to the Muse”
“Flora MacIvor’s Song”
“For a ‘That and a ‘That”
“Frederick and Alice”
“Funeral Hymn”
“Glee for King Charles”
“Glenfinlas, or, Lord Ronald’s Coronach”
“Goldthred’s Song”
“Halbert’s Invocation”
“Harold the Dauntless”
“Health to Lord Melville”
“Hunting Song”
“Imitation of the Farewell to MacKenzie”
“Inscription for the Monument of the Rev. George Scott”
“Jock of Hazeldean”
“Juvenile Lines”
“Lines Addressed to Monsieur Alexandre, the Celebrated Ventriloquist”
“Lines Addressed to Ranald MacDonald, Esq., of Staffa”
“Lines to Sir Cuthbert Sharp”
“Lines Written for Miss Smith”
“Lucy Ashton’s Song”
“Lullaby of an Infant Chief”
“MacGregor’s Gathering”
“MacKrimmon’s Lament”
“Madge Wildfire’s Songs”
“Major Bellenden’s Song”
“March of the Monks of Bangor”
“Miscellaneous Poems”
“Mr. Kemble’s Farewell Address”
“My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror”
“Nora’s Vow”
“Norman the Forester’s Song”
“Norna’s Incantations”
“Oh, Bold and True”
“On a Thunder-storm”
“On Ettrick Forest’s Mountains Dun”
“On the Massacre of Glencoe”
“On the Setting Sun”
“One Hour With Thee”
“Pharos Loquitur”
“Pibroch of Donail Dhu”
“Prologue to Miss Baillik’s Play of the Family Legend”
“Rebecca’s Hymn”
“Rhein-wein Lied”
“Romance of Dunois”
“Saint Cloud”
“Saxon War-song”
“Soldier, Wake”
“Son of a Witch Song”
“Song of the Glee-maiden”
“Song of the Mermaids and Mermen”
“Song of the Zetland Fisherman”
“Song, for the Anniversary Meeting of the Pitt Club of Scotland”
“Songs of the White Lady of Avenel”
“Songs: In Halbert’s Second Interview with the White Lady of Avenel”
“St. Swithin’s Chair”
“The Bannatyne Club”
“The Bard’s Incantation”
“The Barefooted Friar”
“The Battle of Sempach”
“The Black Knight’s Song”
“The Bloody Vest”
“The Bold Dragoon”
“The Bridal of Triermain”
“The Crusader’s Return”
“The Dance of Death”
“The Death of Keeldar”
“The Dying Bard”
“The Dying Gypsy Smuggler”
“The Erl-king”
“The Eve of St. John”
“The Field of Waterloo”
“The Fire-king”
“The Foray”
“The Gray Brother”
“The Lady of the Lake”
“The Lay of Poor Louise”
“The Lay of the Last Minstrel”
“The Lord of the Isles”
“The Maid of Neidpath”
“The Maid of Toro”
“The Noble Moringer”
“The Norman Horse-shoe”
“The Orphan Maid”
“The Palmer”
“The Poacher”
“The Reiver’s Wedding”
“The Resolve”
“The Return to Ulster”
“The Search After Happiness”
“The Secret Tribunal”
“The Shepherd’s Tale”
“The Song of Harold Harfager”
“The Song of the Tempest”
“The Sun Upon the Weirdlaw Hill”
“The Troubadour”
“The Truth of Woman”
“The Violet”
“The Vision of Don Roderick”
“The White Lady to Edward Glendinning”
“The White Lady to Mary Avenel”
“The White Lady’s Farewell”
“The Wild Huntsman”
“The Maid of Isla”
“Thomas the Rhymer”
“To a Lady—With Flowers From a Roman Wall”
“To an Oak Tree”
“To Halbert”
“To His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch”
“To J. G. Lockhart, Esq”
“To the Sub-prior”
“Twist Ye, Twine Ye”
“Verses Found in Bothwell’s Pocket-book”
“Wandering Willie”
“War-songs of the MacLeans”
“War-song of the Royal Edinburgh Light Dragoons”
“William and Helen”

Poetic Plays
Halidon Hill
Macduff’s Cross
The Doom Of Devorgoil

Lots of Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

I finally made it to the end of the novel The Abbot by Sir Walter Scott. (Hurray! All ends well for our hero.) The final chapters of the novel contained quite an assortment of words for hats, helmets, and clothing!


A barret is a kind of cap formerly worn by soldiers; it is also called a barret cap. It is also a flat cap worn by Roman Catholic ecclesiastics. (Fine Dictionary)


A basnet is a steel head-piece or helmet. (Dictionary of the Scots Language)


A culvering is an early form of handgun. (Dictionary of the Scots Language)


Eftsoons is an obsolete or archaic way of saying soon afterward or once again. (


To exheridate a person means to disinherit them. (Merriam-Webster)


A farthingale is a hoop skirt or framework for expanding a woman’s skirt, worn in the16th and 17th centuries. (


Garbulle is the Scots variant of variant of garboil. A garboil is a confusion, disturbance, uproar, or tumult—such as a brawl. (Word Finder)


To kent is to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with person or thing or to understand or perceive an idea or situation. (


A knapscap is a helmet or headpiece. (Dictionary of the Scots Language)


A part let is a garment for the neck and shoulders, usually ruffled and having acollar, worn in the 16th century. (

Further Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

Someday, I will make it to the end of the novel The Abbot by Sir Walter Scott. In the meantime, I keep learning new words!


Bellona is an ancient Roman goddess of war, often associated with Mars. Her main attribute is the military helmet that she wears on her head. She often holds a sword, a shield, or other weapons of battle. (Wikipedia)


A church is a simple, close-fitting cap worn by women in colonial America and a kerchief worn by Scottish women. (


A knosp is a bud-like ornament. (


A massy-more is the underground dungeon of a castle. (Collins Dictionary)


A petronel is a 16th or 17th century firearm, described by a contemporary as a firearm used by horsemen. (Wikipedia)


A pilniewinks is a medieval instrument of torture for the fingers and thumbs. (Collins Dictionary)


A thumbikins is an instrument of torture for compressing the thumb. It is also known as a thumbscrew or a thumbikin. (Wiktionary)


A vasquine is a close-fitting bodice with tabs, or a basque. In England, the word vasquine has been used to refer to a petticoat. A basque, by the way, is a section of bodice below the waist, shaped to the hips. (Corset Terms Dictionary)

A Slew of Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

I’m still reading the novel The Abbot by Sir Walter Scott. And—great Scott!—I’m still learning new words!


A heresiarch is a person who is the originator of heretical doctrine, or a person who is the founder of a sect that sustains such a doctrine. (Wikipedia)


A marplot is a person who frustrates or ruins a plan or undertaking by meddling. (


A morisco was a former Muslim who was forced to convert to Christianity rather than face death or expulsion from Spain. Over time, the term morisco was used pejoratively to refer to nominal Catholics who were suspected of secretly practicing Islam. (Wikipedia)


A runagate is a fugitive or runaway and a vagabond or wanderer. (


The phrase “with a wanion” is equivalent in meaning to the phrases “with a vengeance,” “with a plague,” or “with misfortune.” (The Free Dictionary)


A weasand is a throat, esophagus, gullet, trachea, or windpipe. (


A yoldring is a species of bunting, which is also called a yellowhammer. (What Does That Mean?) In turn, a bunting is any of several small, chiefly seed-eating birds of the genera Emberiza, Passerina, and Plectrophena. (

It Never Ends! Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

I have yet to exhaust Sir Walter Scott’s vast vocabulary. These words all appear in the novel The Abbot, which is something of a sequel to the novel The Monastery.


A coronach is the third part of a round of keening, the traditional improvised singing at a death, wake or funeral in the Highlands of Scotland and in Ireland. (Wikipedia)


A culverin is a medieval ancestor of the musket, used in the 15th and 16th centuries. (Wikipedia)

Don-jon Keep

A donjon is a massive inner tower in a medieval castle (Merriam-Webster) and a don-jon keep is a dungeon. (Merriam-Webster)


Galliard is an adjective that means gay or lively. Also, a galliard is the name of a sprightly dance with five steps to a phrase that was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. (Merriam-Webster)


A galopin is an urchin, scamp, brat, or ragamuffin. (Wiktionary)


A lurdane is a lazy, stupid person. (Merriam-Webster)


A petard was a small bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications, which dates back to the 16th century. (Wikipedia)

[At last I know what the Shakespearean phrase “hoist with his own petard” means! If a petard detonated prematurely, the petardier would be lifted, or hoisted, by the explosion. In other words, the bomber would be blown up by his own bomb.]

Additional Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

Thanks again to Sir Walter Scott, I learned a vast number of new words while reading his novel The Monastery. An exceptionally small sampling follows.


A paronomasia is a play on words, especially a pun. (


A clachan is a small village or hamlet. (


A cruive is a kind of weir or dam for trapping salmon; a sort of hedge formed of stakes on a tidal river or the sea-beach, for catching fish; or a hovel. (


To be bodin is to be summoned or requested to appear in arms. (Dictionary of the Scots Language)


In Scots law, effeir means to be suitable or to belong. An effeir is also that which belongs or is becoming to one’s rank or station. An effeir is a property, quality, state, or condition. (


To obnubilate is to cloud over, becloud, darken, or obscure. (


A harquebusier is a soldier armed with a harquebus, which is a term for any of several small-caliber long guns operated by a matchlock or wheel-lock mechanism, dating from about 1400. (

Yet More Words I Learned From Sir Walter Scott

This is a mere sampling of unfamiliar words and allusions that I’ve come across in Ivanhoe—a novel about medieval knights and outlaws (Robin Hood!), Saxons and Normans, Christians and Jews, heraldry and chivalry by Sir Walter Scott. The list below came from a single chapter of the novel. Preceptor and Preceptory A preceptor is the head of a preceptory—naturally! A preceptor is also an instructor, teacher, tutor, or head of a school. ( And a preceptory is a subordinate house or community of the Knights Templars. ( Vair Vair is a fur—generally thought to be squirrel fur—often used to line and trim clothing in the 13th and 14th centuries. Vair is also one of the principal furs commonly represented on heraldic shields. ( Orle In heraldry, an orle is a border around a shield. ( Arblast An arblast was a later, larger, and better version of the crossbow that came into use in Europe in the 12th century. (Wikipedia) Romaunts Romaunt is an archaic word for a romantic tale or poem. ( Copestone Copestone is another word for capstone. A copestone is the top stone of a building or other structure. ( Consuetude A consuetude is an established custom, especially one that has legal force. ( Brand of Phineas The brand of Phineas is an allusion to the Biblical Phineas, who was the grandson of Aaron and a priest among the Israelites during the time of the Exodus. He executed a sinful man and woman using a javelin. (Wikipedia) Compeer A compeer is a person who is your equal in rank, status, or ability. A compeer is also a companion or comrade. ( Periapts A periapt is a charm or amulet. (

Words I Learned from Sir Walter Scott

Just after Christmas, I started reading Waverley—the very first historical novel, which was authored by Sir Walter Scott and published in 1814.

I have made it to the end of Chapter X, and I now present below the words, phases, and allusions—hitherto unknown to me—that I have learned so far from my new friend, Sir Walter Scott.

Click the highlighted link to see the definition of each word or phase. And, then, go get a copy of Waverley (and a couple of English, French, Latin, and legal dictionaries) and find out what happens next!

“The list of the beauties who displayed their hebdomadal finery at the parish church at Waverley was neither numerous nor select.”

“I know not whether it was by the ‘merest accident in the world,’ a phase which, from female lips, does not always exclude malice prepense, or whether it was from a conformity of taste, that Miss Cecilia more than once crossed Edward in his favourite walks through Waverley-Chase.”

“The doctor, who was a believer in all poetry which was composed by his friends, and written out in fair straight lines, with a capital at the beginning of each, communicated this treasure to Aunt Rachel, who, with her spectacles dimmed with tears, transferred them to her commonplace book, among choice receipts for cookery and medicine, favourite texts, and portions from High-Church divines, and a few songs, amatory and Jacobitical, which she had carolled in her younger days, from whence her nephew’s poetical tentamina were extracted when the volume itself, with other authentic records of the Waverley family, were exposed to the inspection of the unworthy editor of this memorable history.”

“[I]t is a melancholy fact, that my history here must take leave of the fair Cecilia, who, like many a daughter of Eve, after the departure of Edward, and the dissipation of certain idle visions which she had adopted, quietly contented herself with a pisaller, and gave her hand, at the distance of six months, to the aforementioned Jonas, son of the Baronet’s steward, and heir (no unfertile prospect) to a steward’s fortune, besides the snug probability of succeeding to his father’s office.”

“After inspecting the cavalry, Sir Everard again conducted his nephew to the library, where he produced a letter, carefully folded, surrounded by a little stripe of flox-silk, according to ancient form, and sealed with an accurate impression of the Waverley coat-of-arms.”

“He was, besides, himself a special admirer of the old Patavinian [Titus Livius], …”

“The Baron of Bradwardine, for he was generally so called in Scotland (although his intimates, from his place of residence, used to denominate him Tully-Veolan, or more familiarly, Tully), no sooner stood rectus in curia than he posted down to pay his respects and make his acknowledgements at Waverley-Honour.”

“[A] French tourist … has recorded, as one of the memorabilia of Caledonia, that the state maintained, in each village a relay of curs, called collies, whose duty it was to chase the chevaux de poste (too starved and exhausted to move without such a stimulous) from one hamlet to another, till their annoying convoy drove them to the end of their stage.”

“The broken ground on which the village was built had never been levelled; so that these inclosures presented declivities of every degree, here rising like terraces, there sinking like tan-pits.”

“There were loop-holes for musketry, and iron stanchions on the lower windows, probably to repel any roving band of gypsies, or resist a predatory visit from the caterans of the neighbouring Highlands.”

“This dove-cot, or columbarium, as the owner called it, was no small resource to a Scottish laird of that period, …”

“The scene, though pleasing, was not quite equal to the gardens of Alcina; …”

“It must not be forgotten, that all sorts of bears, small and large, demi or in full proportion, were carved over the windows, upon the ends of the gables, terminated the spouts, and supported the turrets, with the ancient family motto, ‘Beware the Bear’, cut under each hyperborean form.”

“A strange guide, thought Edward, and not much unlike one of Shakespeare’s roynish clowns.”

“After his demele with the law of high treason in 1715, he had lived in retirement, conversing almost entirely with those of his own principles in the vicinage.”

“—but this Bullsegg, being portly and comely of aspect, intermarried with the lady dowager, who was young and amorous, and possessed himself of the estate, which devolved on this unhappy woman by a settlement of her umwhile husband, in direct contravention of an unrecorded tallie, and to the prejudice of the disponer’s own flesh and blood, …”

“He was a confessor in her cause in 1715, when a Whiggish mob destroyed his meeting-house, tore his surplice, and plundered his dwelling-house of four silver spoons, intromitting also with his mart and his mealark, and with two barrels, one of single and one of double ale, besides three bottles of brandy.”