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Some of these terms are 16th century English; more of them have evolved as words used with a special meaning by Faire actors. Note that terms do vary quite a bit among different Faires.


Actor, performer, participant = Someone who works for, or at, Faire (usually in costume) either as paid staff or as a volunteer

Anon = goodbye (literally means "later")

Bat Sweat/Dragon Piss = Lemonade mixed with salt. Used to replace minerals and protect against dehydration.

BFA = Basic Faire Accent

Bit or Gig = a bit of acting, a skit, or a starting point for improvisation in character

Boothie = Someone that works for/in a booth selling games or merchandise.

Carbon Condition = said as a way not to yell "Fire!" in public

Cross Keyes Inn = a mythical place "right down that path over there," useful when you really have to leave, send someone away, end a conversation, or get out of sticky situations ("Good sir, I will meet you later at the Cross Keyes Inn.")

E'en = evening

Faire Boogers = black mucus (often coated with fire retardant :)

Fairesite = place where Faire is being held

Fie! (pronounced "Fy!") = equivalent to "Darn it!"

Flanders = literally the Netherlands, figuratively means "somewhere far away where they have strange customs." ("Far Cathay" is even farther and stranger.)

Flemish painter = a camera

God's Blood, God's Teeth, etc. = fairly mild (by Elizabethan standards) swear words

Good Morrow (or "Good den") = Hello

Gramercy = thank you

Hawker = Someone that tries to bring customers into their booth.

Hog Tie = When a group of members of (usually) the opposite sex circle you and you must kiss each one to get out. -- Fairy Ring = Same as Hog Tie but the group surrounds a couple and they must kiss each other to get out.

In Very Sooth = really. Sometimes used as code for "I really mean this, I'm not just acting" (i.e. "In very sooth, I must away to the privies.")

I' Faith = really. Sometimes used as code for, "This *isn't* a real statement I'm about to make, I'm only acting." ("I'faith, I have ne'er been to school.")

Kissing John Barleycorn = Drunk
-- John Barleycorn = a figure symbolizing grain
-- "the blood of John Barleycorn" = Ale or beer

Mayhap = maybe

Pageant = a skit or short play, often performed in the street

Pet = paying customer who comes weekend after weekend, in a costume possibly better than yours, and soaks it all up...

A Pox on you = I hope you contract a horrible incurable disease and die

Privy = bathroom

Privy Monster = a creature that inhabits the privy and eats small children.

Recover = put your hat back on (after doffing it to the nobility)

Rennie = person who goes from Faire to Faire performing/working

Shire (or "our shire") = a mythical English locality where the Faire is set (It often has its own name, i.e. "Chipping-Under-Oakwood" for the RPF Faires in California. "Chipping" is derived from the same word as "cheap," and means "market.") -- Likewise, "Ah, the fair Shire of the South Bay, yes, I know that area."

Spaniard = sometimes used as a code word for an emergency of some kind.

Traveler = traditional (at Faire) term for paying visitor, in reference to their "odd" (i.e. 20th century) clothing and speech.

Turkey = sarcastic (or affectionate) nickname for Faire customer
-- Turkey With Dressing = same as above but in costume.
-- Customer, patron, visitor, guest = more polite terms for paying visitor to Faire

"The Beer Is In The Pickup Truck" = Faire is over for the day, it's time to revert to the 20th century (to be most effective, should be said with a broad Deep South accent)




Combine one word from each of the three columns below, prefaced

with "Thou":

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3

artless base-court apple-john

bawdy bat-fowling baggage

beslubbering beef-witted barnacle

bootless beetle-headed bladder

churlish boil-brained boar-pig‘

clouted clay-brained bum-bailey

craven common-kissing canker-blossom

currish crook-pated clack-dish

dankish dismal-dreaming clotpole

dissembling dizzy-eyed coxcomb

droning doghearted codpiece

errant dread-bolted death-token

fawning earth-vexing dewberry

fobbing elf-skinned flap-dragon

froward fat-kidneyed flax-wench

frothy fen-sucked flirt-gill

gleeking flap-mouthed foot-licker

goatish fly-bitten fustilarian

gorbellied folly-fallen giglet

impertinent fool-born gudgeon

infectious full-gorged haggard

jarring guts-griping harpy

loggerheaded half-faced hedge-pig

lumpish hasty-witted horn-beast

mammering hedge-born hugger-mugger

mangled hell-hated jolthead

mewling idle-headed lewdster

paunchy ill-breeding lout

pribbling ill-nurtured maggot-pie

puking knotty-pated malt-worm

puny milk-livered mammet

quailing motley-minded measle

rank onion-eyed minnow

reeky plume-plucked miscreant

roguish pottle-deep moldwarp

ruttish pox-marked mumble-news

saucy reeling-ripe nut-hook

spleeny rough-hewn pigeon-egg

spongy rude-growing pignut

surly rump-fed puttock

tottering shard-borne pumpion

unmuzzled sheep-biting ratsbane

vain spur-galled scut

venomed swag-bellied skainsmate

villainous tardy-gaited strumpet

warped tickle-brained varlet

wayward toad-spotted vassal

weedy urchin-snouted whey-face

yeasty weather-bitten wagtail

Contributed By Sandra Shepard © Sheena Shepard Gunn

Clan Chieftess, Clan Gunn





Hans Sachs, writing in 1568, selected this list of "All the Trades on

the Earth". (If the columns of text are not clear, change them to a

non-proportionate font like Monaco)

Apothecary Fabric-shearer Oilmaker

Armorer (trims nap and Organist

Astronomer makes pleats) Painter (portraits


Bagger Falconer landscapes)

Baker Farmer Paperer

Balance-maker Fiddler (this is an Parchmenter

Barber unfair translation, Peddler

Basin-beater Geiger is applied to Pin-maker

Bather (owner of any player of bowed Piper

a bath) and stringed Potter

Beer-brewer instruments) Procurator (or

Bellfounder Fisher Proctor, this is a

Bellmaker (these are Fool for Money kind of legal


the little bells on Fool or


sleighs and clothing, Furrier Redsmith (brass)

not the large civic Gemcutter Roper

bells cast by the Glasspainter Saddler

Bellfounder) Glazier Sculptor

Belter Gluttonous Fool Scythe-smith

Blockcutter (for block Goldbeater Ship's Captain

printing) Goldsmith Shoemaker

Bookbinder Grinder (knife Siever

Bookprinter sharpener) Singer

Bowyer Gunsmith Smith (blacksmith)

Bricker (brick baker, Gunstocker Spectacle-maker

not mason) Harper Spurrer

Bronze-founder Hatter Stonecutter

Brush-binder Hunter Tailor

Buffoon Illuminator Tanner

Butcher Jew Tapestry-maker

Carpenter Joiner Thimbler

Clockmaker Knifesmith Thonger (maker of

Combmaker Lantern-maker leather straps

Compass-smith Locksmith or laces)

Cook Lutemaker Typefounder

Cooper Lutenist Vintner

Coppersmith Mail-maker Wagoner

Dentist Merchant Weaver

Doctor Miller Wire-drawer

Drummer Miner Woodturner

Dyer Mintmaster (coin

Embroiderer stamper)

Engraver (for Mirrorer

printing, not to Nailer

decorate items) Needler

*The Book of Trades* by Jost Amman and Hans Sachs, with an introduction

by Benjamin A. Rifkin. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1973.

(reprint of *Eygentliche Beschreibung Aller Staende auff Erden...*,

Frankfurt am Main: 1568)

A truly incredible list of medieval occupations is available in Bertil

Thuresson. *Middle English Occupational Terms*.

Nendeln/Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1968. (reprint of Lund: C.W.K.

Gleerup, 1950. from the Lund Studies in English).

Contributed By Sandra Shepard © Gwynyth


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