Humanities › Literature 'Macbeth' Vocabulary Share Flipboard Email Print Macbeth Study Guide Overview Summary Characters Themes and Symbols Key Quotes Vocabulary Quiz Studio-Annika / Getty Images By Angelica Frey Classics Expert M.A., Classics, Catholic University of Milan M.A., Journalism, New York University. B.A., Classics, Catholic University of Milan Angelica Frey holds an M.A. in Classics from the Catholic University of Milan, where she studied Greek, Old Norse, and Old English. our editorial process Angelica Frey Updated January 29, 2020 Understanding the vocabulary of Shakespeare's Macbeth is essential to understanding the play as a whole. This Macbeth vocabulary guide includes a diverse array of words that connect to the play's narrative, with definitions and examples from the text provided. 01 of 15 Beldam Definition: an old woman, a hag Example: "Have I not reason, beldams as you are?" 02 of 15 Compunctious Definition: showing remorse Example: "Make thick my blood, / Stop up th’access and passage to remorse, / That no compunctious visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between / Th’ effect and it." 03 of 15 Dolor Definition: sorrow, sadness Example: "Each new morn / New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows / Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds / As if it felt with Scotland and yelled out / Like syllable of dolor." 04 of 15 Equivocator Definition: someone who speaks ambiguously and without answering one way or another, often in order to avoid commitment Example: "Faith, here’s an equivocator / that could swear in both the scales against either / scale, who committed treason enough for God’s / sake yet could not equivocate to heaven." 05 of 15 Ecstasy Definition: a frenzy, an out-of-control state; or an overwhelming sense of happiness Example: "Better be with the dead, / Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, / Than on the torture of the mind to lie / In restless ecstasy." 06 of 15 Harbinger Definition: someone who announces or precedes something else Example: "I'll be myself the harbinger and make joyful / The hearing of my wife with your approach. / So humbly take my leave." 07 of 15 Hurly-Burly Definition: an active, busy, noisy activity Example: "When the hurly-burly's done, / When the battle's lost and won." 08 of 15 Incarnadine Definition: crimson-colored; or, to make something crimson-colored Example: "Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red." 09 of 15 Interim Definition: the time between one event and another Example: "Think upon what hath chanced, / and at more time, / The interim having weighed it, let us speak / Our free hearts each to other." 10 of 15 Nonpareil Definition: unmatched, without equal Example: "Thou art the best o’ th’ cutthroats, / Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance. / If thou didst it, thou art the nonpareil." 11 of 15 Knell Definition: the sound of a bell, typically solemn and marking a death Example: "I go, and it is done. The bell invites me. / Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell / That summons thee to heaven or to hell." 12 of 15 Warder Definition: a guard Example: "...his two chamberlains / Will I with wine and wassail so convince / That memory, the warder of the brain, / Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason / A limbeck only." 13 of 15 Rouse Definition: to awaken, to stir (as in becoming conscious after sleep) Example: "The time has been my senses would have cooled / To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair / Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir / As life were in ’t." 14 of 15 Accursed Definition: doomed, under a curse Example: "Some holy angel / Fly to the court of England and unfold / His message ere he come, that a swift blessing / May soon return to this our suffering country / Under a hand accursed." 15 of 15 Pernicious Definition: causing harm in a gradual, slow-building way Example: "This avarice / Sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root / Than summer-seeming lust..."