The following is a list of common medieval terms that you might run across as a reader of my stories, or others set in Medieval Times. But don’t worry; I won’t use too many of these—just enough to flavor the narrative or dialogue.

  • Aid: A financial obligation the vassal owed his lord for special circumstances or occasions.
  • Anon: At once or soon.
  • Aye, Yea: Yes.
  • Cornettes: Two-pointed headdress.
  • Coz: Cousin.
  • Craft: A skilled labor.
  • Daub: Clay and hair smeared over a wooden structure of a house.
  • Demesne: Land held directly by the lord.
  • Eyre: English Court.
  • Fief, Feud: Land held from a lord.
  • Fisyk: Medicine.
  • Flail: A stick used to separate wheat grains from ears.
  • Frankpledge: A pledge made by all the members of a community in which they vowed to take responsibility for their actions. If one person broke the law, all were responsible for bringing that person to justice.
  • Free-lance: A term used for mercenaries.
  • Heriot: A death tax paid by the murderer if someone was killed.
  • Hither: Here.
  • Host: Military service owed to a lord.
  • Journeyman, Journeywoman: A skilled worker who was employed by guildmasters or who worked independently for daily wages.
  • Knave: A disrespectful form of address to a man.
  • Knotty-pated, Addle-pated: stupid.
  • Ling: A type of fish.
  • Lingulae: The keys on an organ.
  • Manor: Land held by a lord and worked by tenants.
  • Nay: No.
  • Oblate: Someone who entered the church at an early age.
  • Oblation: A fee paid to the church by someone who gave their child to the clergy.
  • Rogue: Vagrant.
  • Sally: Counterattack.
  • Simpkin: A fool.
  • Sirrah: A derogatory way to address a man.
  • Sister: the wife of a guildmaster who was allowed to enter the guild.
  • Span: The term for preparing a crossbow to be shot.
  • Tallow: a type of candle made from animal fat.
  • Thee: You. Used as an object for familiar people and social equals.
  • Thine: Yours. Used for social equals and friends.
  • Thither: There.
  • Thou: You. Used as a subject for social equals and familiar people.
  • Thy: Your. Used for social equals and friends.
  • ‘Tis: The contraction of it is.
  • Tourney: A tournament, especially a melee.
  • ‘Twas: Contraction for it was.
  • ‘Twill: contraction of it will.
  • ‘Twould: The contraction of it would.
  • Vassal: A servant who had sworn allegiance to an overlord.
  • Villein, Serf: One who owed labor to a lord and was not a free man.
  • Wench: A disrespectful term for a woman.
  • Yon: That.