A List of Archaic, Medieval Adverbs (3rd edition 2019)

medieval adverbs

I would not be surprised if this list goes through dozens of editions during my reading career. Right now it’s rather small but I can explain this. Thanks to reading auld literature I have recorded many more medieval and archaic adverbs into my Books of Words, but this here’s just a matter of me finding the time to list them on my blog. Eventually I will find the time to share them all. For now, I hope you find one you’ve never used before.

Medieval Adverbs

medieval adverbs
useful adverbs from the Middle Ages

Enow (11th century) “enough” – Example: He had faced enow of her henpecking.

Adossé (from 18th-C French heraldry) “back to back” – Example: His coat-armor emblazoned two lions adossé.

Affronté / Confronté (from 18th-C French heraldry) “facing one another” – Example: The opponents stood affronté, then the marshal lifted his wand and the duel began.

Pedetemptim (from 18-C French heraldry) “step by step” – Example: The fox crept pedetentim toward the movement in the shadows.

Eftsoons (12th century) – “soon afterward” – Example: Church was pleasant. She went to the market eftsoons.

Cap-a-pie (16th century) – “from head to foot” – Example: The wolf was covered cap-a-pie in mud.

Tête-à-tête (17th century) – “face to face in private” or “vis-a-vis” – Example: I slowed my horse to chat tête-à-tête with the captain.

Well-nigh (11th century) – “almost” “nearly” – Example: The siege was well-nigh lifted.

Widdershins (16th century) – “counterclockwise” “in a left hand” “against the sun’s course” – Example: I rolled the dice widdershins across the floor.

Alfresco (18th century) – “out in the open air” – Example: With our tour of Florence complete, we stopped at the loggia for a refreshment alfresco.

Aloft (13th century) – “overhead” “at a great height” – Example: The knights waved their weapons aloft.

Certes (13th century) – “assuredly” “I assure you” – Example: Certes, Your Magnifico, I meant no harm!

Forsooth (12th century) – “indeed” – Example: It was a sad day forsooth.

Shillyshally (18th century) – “in a hesitating manner” – Example: The pardoned boy bowed shillyshally to his frowning mother.

Whilom (12th century) is synonymous with Erstwhile (16th century) – “in the past” “formerly” – Example: The cardinal, who was whilom a mere priest, said the evening prayer.

Yon (11th century) – “that” – Example: I wouldn’t go near yon graveyard if I were you.

Anywise (13th century) – “in any manner or way” – Example: The queen gets what she wants anywise.

Singly (14th century) – “individually” “one by one” – Example:  Come singly to see His Magnificence!

Anon (11th century) –  “soon” “shortly” – Example: Indeed, my dear brother, the world shall anon be ours!

Lief (13th century) – “readily” “willingly” “gladly” – Example: His Majesty lief accepted the proposition.

Thanks for visiting. I love collecting archaic words that are still usable today and this list deserves to grow. Feel free to share others in the comments!

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