Truewit is a character in Ben Jonson's Epicoene; or The Silent Woman (1609) who is genuine and witty
Terence was a Roman playwright with patrons or rich supporters named Scipio Africanus and Gaius Laelius..
Menander and Theophrastus were Greek playwrights and authors. Theophrastus wrote The Characters, which were sketches of personality types. Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher, scientist, and patron of the arts.
A maxim is a short statement of truth, often quite short such as "actions speak louder than words."
To declare something sacred.
Mount Parnassus is a mountain in central Greece, sacred in mythology to Apollo and Dionysus.
A contraction of "pray thee," meaning something like "please" or "please excuse me."
A stoic is a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining. Stoicism, with a capital S, was an ancient philosophical school.
A coxcomb is an somewhat insulting word for a vain and conceited man.
Taciturn means reserved or uncommunicative in speech.
An invective is insulting, abusive, or highly critical language.
Approbation is approval or praise.
A cabal is a secret political clique or faction.
Ratafia is a liqueur flavored with fruit.
To lampoon is to publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm and a lampoon is a publication in which this kind of article is written.
Dropsy is an old-fashioned or less technical term for edema, a condition characterized by the collection of fluids in the body. It was generally a disease that required bed-rest.
Censorious means severely critical of others.
While jade more commonly refers to a type of stone, in old English a jade might also refer to a disreputable or ill-tempered woman.
The Church of St. Pancras was a church in the Fields.
Liveries is an archaic term for clothing.
Dame Partlet was the wife of Chanticleer in Chaucer's The Nun's Priest's Tale.
Rosamond's Pond was a pond and frequent meeting-place in St. James's Park.
A medlar is a small, bushy tree of the rose family that bears small, brown, applelike fruits. It may also refer to the fruit of this tree.
Raillery, a term used frequently in the play, is good-humored teasing or mockery.
A panegyric is a formal public speech, or (in later use) written verse, delivered in high praise of a person or thing.
Repartee is conversation or speech characterized by quick, witty comments or replies.
A trull is an archaic term for a prostitute.
A sultana was a a wife or concubine of a sultan, and Roxolana was the wife of Solyman the Magnificent in Davenant's The Siege of Rhodes.
Fobbed is an archaic term for tricked.
Ribald or ribaldry is referring to sexual matters in an amusingly rude way.
A libertine is a person, especially a man, who behaves without moral principles or a sense of responsibility, especially in sexual matters.
A moiety is a piece or portion of something, more specifically half or a lesser half.
Perukes is an archaic term for wigs.
To tift is to prepare.
Asfoetida is a fetid resinous gum obtained from the roots of a herbaceous plant, used in herbal medicine.
B'w'y was an archaic contraction of "God be with you."
Mopus was an archaic insult meaning dullard or idiot.
Dishabille is the state of being only partly or scantily clothed.
A gibbet is a gallows, where people are hung.
A sibyl is a woman in ancient times supposed to utter the oracles and prophecies of a god; a woman able to tell the future.
Pulvilled means sprinkled with perfumed powder.
A postilion is one who rides the leading left-hand horse of a team or pair drawing a coach or carriage, especially when there is no coachman.
Imprimis is legal language used in court and contracts, meaning "in the first place."
Noli prosequi is more legal language, signifying dropping a case and literally meaning "unwilling to prosecute."
A decimo sexto was a very small book.
Castanets are a small percussion instrument played with the hands and coming in pairs.
Rantipole is an archaic term for bad-mannered.
In vino veritas
"In vino veritas" is a Latin phrase meaning "In wine there is truth."
Maidenhead is an archaic term meaning virginity, literally referring to the hymen.
Bastinadoed means beaten on the soles of the feet.
"Non compos mentis" or "non compos" is a term meaning "not of sound mind". This derives from the Latin "non" meaning "not" and "compos" meaning "having command."
The Way of the World Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Way of the World is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
A Comedy of Manners is named as such to call attention to one of its most central themes - manners, or social etiquette, and the comedy that can ensue because of the importance, especially to the upper class during the Restoration, of preserving...