Weapons terminology can be grouped into four types: (i) terms for swords and daggers, especially in relation to fencing, and their accompanying carrying apparatus (a key reference is Osric’s conversation with Hamlet in Ham V.ii.143,ff); (ii) terms for attacking weapons of war, as used by foot-soldiers or in jousting; (iii) terms for shields; and (iv) terms for guns, both hand-held and mounted.

Swords, daggers, and trappings

backsword 2H4 III.ii.63 a basket-hilted sword with a single-edged blade and a thin back; later, a sword-like stick with a basketwork hilt, used in fencing practice
baldric TNK IV.ii.86 belt worn from one shoulder across the chest and under the opposite arm, used for carrying a weapon, bugle, etc
basket-hilt 2H4 II.iv.127 sword hilt consisting of a steel lattice in a basket shape for protecting the hand
bilbo MW I.i.150 flexible sword from Bilbao
bodkin Ham III.i.76 sharply pointed dagger
carriage Ham V.ii.148 looped strap attached to a sword belt, from which a sword may be hung
chape AW IV.iii.142 metal plate covering the point of a dagger
curtle-axe AYL I.iii.115 short broad sword used for slashing and cutting; cutlass
dagger Ham V.ii.143 [as in modern English]
dudgeon Mac II.i.46 dagger hilt
falchion KL V.iii.274 curved broad sword with the edge on the outer side
foil Ham II.ii.321 light sword specially blunted for use in fencing
girdle Ham V.ii.148 waist-belt for attaching a sword
half-sword 1H4 II.iv.159 small-sized sword
hanger Ham V.ii.148 loop or strap attached to a sword belt, from which a sword may be hung
hilt Ham V.ii.149 [as in modern English]
long sword MW II.i.209 heavy two-handed sword with a long cutting blade
pilcher TN III.i.33 scabbard
poniard Ham V.ii.147 type of short dagger
rapier Ham II.ii.342 light sharp-pointed sword used for thrusting; the sign of a gentleman
scabbard TN III.iv.268 [as in modern English]
scimitar MV II.i.24 short curved sword with a single edge, from the East
sheath RJ V.iii.170 [as in modern English]
sword Ham V.ii.158 [as in modern English]
two-hand sword 2H6 II.i.45 heavy sword wielded with both hands
tuck TN III.iv.220 light sharp-pointed sword used for thrusting; rapier
whinyard E3 I.ii.33 type of short sword

Long-handled weapons

battle-axe Tit III.i.168 [as in modern English]
bill 2H6 II.iv.17 handle ending in a hooked blade [of varying design]
charging-staff TNK IV.ii.140 lance used in jousting
halberd CE V.i.185 handle ending in a combination of axe-blade and spearhead
lance Per II.ii.50 metal-ended shaft used by a charging horseman
partisan Ham I.i.141 handle ending in a broad spear-head, usually with one or more projections at the side
pick E3 I.ii.52 pike
pike H5 IV.i.40 handle ending in a spear-head
spear 1H6 I.i.138 [as in modern English]

Shields and parts

buckler 1H4 I.iii.227 small round shield
pike MA V.ii.21 central spike in a buckler
shield LLL V.ii.549 [as in modern English]
targe Cym V.v.5 light shield
target Ham II.ii.321 light shield, smaller than a targe


basilisk H5 V.ii.17 large brass cannon, firing heavy shot of c.200 lb / c.100 kg
caliver 1H4 IV.ii.19 lightweight musket
cannon AYL II.vii.154 mounted gun of several kinds and sizes, each type firing shot of a particular weight
culverin 1H4 II.iii.55 small cannon with a long barrel, firing shot of c.8--16 lb / c.4--8 kg
demi-cannon TS IV.iii.88 small cannon firing shot of c.30 lb / c.15 kg
gun 1H4 I.iii.55 [as in modern English]
mortar-piece H8 V.iv.46 short high-firing cannon with a large bore
murdering-piece Ham IV.v.96 mortar which scatters lethal projectiles
musket AW III.ii.108 early form of rifle
ordnance Ham V.ii.264 cannon, artillery
pistol MW IV.ii.47 [as in modern English]

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