Information about the source
This glossary offers an overview of some of Spenser's hard language. It complements the local glosses provided throughout the edition, by gathering and explaining in one place those unfamiliar words that are especially important in Spenser's diction, common in his usage, or both. The glosses given here cover most of the senses in which these words are used in Spenser's works; in unusual or special cases, a local gloss in our edition will draw out the sense and nuance not attested here.
The glossary gives some indication of the range of orthographical variation evident in (our edition of) Spenser's works for each of the words it includes. These variant forms are given, where appropriate, in [square brackets]. The presentation of variants is not exhaustive. For example, it does not include preterite or progressive forms (for verbs) or plural forms (for nouns) where they are formed in the normal way; however, it frequently does include inflected forms of various kinds (e.g. past participle adjectives for verbs, comparative or superlative forms for adjectives). Our selection of variant forms focuses on those that might puzzle or mislead a modern reader. Variants are thus included in order to clarify connections between forms, and especially inflected forms, that due to compositorial vagaries and other factors might otherwise seem semantically distinct. The range of variants also throws up possible confusions (e.g. between ‘ydrad’ and ‘adrad’ under the lemma ‘dread’), to which the reader may want to be attentive.
Closely connected lemmata (e.g. adjectives formed from nouns, adverbs formed from adjectives) have generally been grouped, except in cases where both terms are substantially attested and form part of the 'student core' glossary. Connected but distinct lemmata have been cross-referenced. Where confusions seem possible or probable, they have been noted.
‘†’ marks words to which readers might pay special attention.