Tale of Two Cities Glossary
Glossary of Terms
ancien régimeThe pre-revolutionary monarchical, aristocratic rule of France.
barristerA lawyer who handles court cases.
châteauA French aristocrat's country home.
conciergerieA prison in Paris.
dollA disparaging term for women in the nineteenth century.
fortnightTwo weeks; fourteen days.
garretAn attic or room on the top floor of a house or apartment.
guillotineA heavy blade held up by two posts which is dropped on the victim's neck in order to behead the victim.
hackney-coachA coach for hire; an older equivalent of a taxi.
head drawerMan in charge of a hotel.
jackalAn accomplice who assists in menial or slightly disreputable acts.
letter de cachetA sealed letter, especially from a sovereign, often ordering arbitrary imprisonment.
mail-coachBefore the introduction of railways there were two types of coaches on English roads: the mail-coach and the stage-coach. The mail-coaches were subsidized by the Post Office, whereas stage-coaches were privately owned.
millerA man whose profession is to grind wheat. Millers are usually portrayed as all white because they are covered in flour.
Old BaileyThe Old Bailey Court, the central court where criminals were prosecuted.
pikeA long spear.
postilionMan who rides the near horse of the leaders to guide the horses drawing a coach.
punchA spiced fruit beverage with an alcoholic base.
quarteringAn antiquated punishment for criminals involving dismembering them into four parts.
quidSlang for a pound (British currency).
Resurrection-ManA person who digs up dead bodies to sell parts of them to scientists. Also called "Resurrectionist."
Saint AntoineA district of Paris very active in the revolution, especially in the storming of the Bastille.
scrivenerScribe or copier.
shoeType of brakes under a carriage.
snuffPowdered tobacco inhaled through the nose.
solicitorA lawyer who handles wills and estates and most matters not involving a court.
spectreA ghost or apparition.
Temple BarA London landmark located near Tellson's Bank.
Tower of LondonThe state prison in London.
tumbrilA crude two-wheeled cart used to carry prisoners to be executed in the French Revolution.
VersaillesA city southwest of Paris known for the opulent French royal palace built for King Louis XIV.
wardsomeone for whom someone else has responsibility, especially financially
WhitefriarsIn Dickens's time, a disreputable district of London.
wood-sawyerA man who chops wood.
Tale of Two Cities Essays and Related Content
- Tale of Two Cities: Major Themes
- Tale of Two Cities: Essays
- Tale of Two Cities: E-Text
- Tale of Two Cities: Questions
- Tale of Two Cities: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- Charles Dickens: Biography
- Tale of Two Cities Summary
- About Tale of Two Cities
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Summary and Analysis of Book I, Chapters 1-4
- Summary and Analysis of Book I, Chapters 5-6
- Summary and Analysis of Book II, Chapters 1-3
- Summary and Analysis of Book II, Chapters 4-9
- Summary and Analysis of Book II, Chapters 10-14
- Summary and Analysis of Book II, Chapters 15-19
- Summary and Analysis of Book II, Chapters 20-24
- Summary and Analysis of Book III, Chapters 1-7
- Summary and Analysis of Book III, Chapters 8-15
- The French Revolution
- Related Links on Tale of Two Cities
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources