Featured Image for the medieval glossary page "The Golden Gloss" - a golden turnip tilted to the left.

The Golden Gloss

The medieval glossary of English (old/middle/modern) words as used in the middle ages. Of highlight are words misunderstood or unknown to the general public (or newer participants.)

UPDATED 09/01/2023

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There are currently 13 terms in this directory beginning with the letter A.
An area of land 43,560 ft2 (4046.86 m2 .) The modern use and size of an acre has been consistent since the 13th century when it was defined by law a 40 poles by 4 poles. In its oldest usage it was a general term for open areas. As agriculture progressed the word began to refer to the area a yoke of oxen could plow in a day, which is about four furlongs.

The right to nominate someone to a vacant ecclesiastical position, such as the parish priest. This right was usually held by the lord of the local manor and the process (called presentation) was usually made to the Bishop of the dioecy, though as with many medieval rituals and practices actual location and time will effect the nuance of this concept.

Joe Metz wearing Ailettes for the medieval glossary

A component of armor coming into fashion around the late 1200s and disappears by the early 1300s; a piece of rigid material laced to the mail covering the tops of the shoulders and collar bone area, usually rectangular. Generally they lay flat on the body. As with the shape and size, some variation existed. They are the subject of debate as to their protective vs. heraldic/decorative purposes.

A padded and quilted garment, usually of linen, worn under or instead of plate or mail.

Allure (also alure)
A walkway or passage behind a parapet, also refers at time to other walkways such as the galleries of clerestories, the aisles of churches, or just walkable areas along castle walls in general.

Penance imposed by a priest on a member of the nobility requiring payment of a sum of money to the benefit of the poor.

A punishment in law taking the form of a fine.

Argent (heraldry)
The metallic color silver.

A wooden coffer or chest, frequently used in medieval households to store grain.

A person who has been granted and is entitled to bear a coat of arms.

A flat, square stone typically used for paving, shingling, or wall facings, more similar to paving stones, stone shingles, or veneer stone than bricks or blocks.

The formal and legal process of severing or revoking a person's rights, especially in regards to title or property (and the ability to pass said rights on) due to being sentenced of serious felonies, treason, and capital crimes. Also known as attinctura.

Azure (heraldry)
The color blue.


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