Go back in time at Renaissance Festival - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Go back in time at Renaissance Festival

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, February 6, 2009 8:24 pm | Updated: 2:40 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Leave your snazzy 21st-century vocabulary at home. Modern slang like brodown, sideboob, faceboink, brickberry and Palinized will do you no good at the Arizona Renaissance Festival.

Leave your snazzy 21st-century vocabulary at home.

Modern slang like brodown, sideboob, faceboink, brickberry and Palinized will do you no good at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, where each spring, a creosote- and cactus-studded swath of desert in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains becomes a 16th-century European shire.

The festival opens 10 a.m. Saturday. The 30-acre event boasts three daily jousting tournaments, falconry shows, elephant and camel rides, and thrilling feats like fire-eating, axe- and knife-throwing, archery, catapulting and fiery whip-cracking. You can even get married at the Festival Wedding Chapel.

But you’d better dust off your college Shakespeare texts if you want to understand even half of what the hundreds of lords, ladies, knaves, nobles, peasants and minstrels working the festival grounds have to say. The costumed villagers are indoctrinated in Renaissance-era lingo, lending a sometimes befuddling feel to the fair — or faire, to be properly Elizabethan about it.

For some help, we take a page from the Arizona Renaissance Festival’s official Renaissance Language and Vocabulary guides, made available to all tight-wearing jesters, cleavage-bearing wenches and armor-sporting knights at the festival.

After all, if you want to buy one of those toddler-sized turkey legs and a chalice of mead, you’d better be able to ask the food vendor — er, peddler — for change.

The basics

Yes = aye, yea

No = nay

Maybe, perhaps = mayhap, haply, perchance, belike

Please = prithee, pray, I pray thee

Thank you = gramercy, God grant thee mercy, God yield thee

Excuse me = by your leave, I cry thy mercy

Bathroom = privvy

How are you? = How fare thee?

What time is it? = How stands the hour?

Come here = come hither, come forward

Go away = be gone

Hurrah! = Huzzah!

Wow! = Marry!, I’faith!

No kidding = Forsooth, Insooth, Go to

Honestly, really, seriously = forsooth, in sooth, by my troth, in troth


Good day, good morrow, how now?, well met, hail


God speed, farewell, fare thee well, safe journey, anon

How to address people you meet

The King (they hold court each day at 11 a.m.) = Your Majesty, Your Highness, My Liege, Sire

The Queen (she holds court each day at 11 a.m.) = Your Majesty, Your Highness

Nobility = Your Grace, My Lord or My Lady, Good my Lord or Good my Lady

Someone whose profession you know = Master Blacksmith; Mistress Lavender (a washer woman)

Someone whose last name you know = Master Doe, Mistress Doe

Someone whose first name you know = Master John; Mistress Jane

Someone whose name or profession you don’t know = Master, Mistress, good fellow, good woman, good sir, good wife, friend, cousin, neighbor

Children = lad, lass, young master, little maid

Commonly confused words

Thee/thou = both mean “you” and should only be used when addressing one’s social equals or inferiors. Royalty is never addressed “thee” or “thou” but “you.” When used with “thou,” the words “will” and “shall” become “wilt” and “shalt.”

Hither = here

Thither = there

Whither = where

Hence = away from here

Thence = away from there

Whence = from where

Yon = over there

Yonder = way over there

How to craft a Shakespearean insult

No one could deliver a sting of the tongue like the famous Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon. To do it like he did, chose one word from each column, and preface the phrase 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

cockered, clapper-clawed, bugbear

clouted, clay-brained, bum-bailey

craven, common-kissing, canker-blossom

currish, crook-pated, clack-dish

dankish, dismal-dreaming, clotpole

droning, doghearted, codpiece

fobbing, elf-skinned, flap-dragon

forward, 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

jarring, guts-griping, harpy

loggerheaded, half-faced, hedge-pig

lumpish, hasty-witted, horn-beast

mammering, hedge-born, hugger-mugger

mangled, hell-hated, joithead

mewling, ill-nurtured, maggot-pie

puking, knotty-pated, malt-worm

puny, milk-livered, mammet

qualling, motley-minded, measle

rank, onion-eyed, minnow

reeky, plume-plucked, miscreant

ruttish, pox-marked, moldwarp

surly, 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, whey-face

yeasty, weather-bitten, wagtail

Arizona Renaissance Festival

What: The ultimate 16th-century European fantasy village, complete with a royal court, jousting knights, an artisan marketplace, singing minstrels, gypsies and farm animals.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 29, and Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 16.

Where: 7 miles east of Apache Junction on U.S. 60. You can’t miss the signs or the festival traffic.

Cost: Tickets, when purchased in advance at Fry’s Food and Drug Stores, are $18 for adults and $8 for children ages 5-12. Tickets purchased at the gate or online cost $2 more. Tickets for seniors (age 60 and older) are $17 and may only be purchased at the gate.

Tickets include entertainment — such as Tournament Jousting and Birds of Prey shows — and parking, but bring extra cash for food, drink, arts, crafts, rides and games.

The popular twice-daily Pleasure Feast, a two-hour, six-course meal with risque adult entertainment, is $79.95 per person. The cost includes festival admission and souvenirs, but reservations must be made in advance, as tickets are limited.

Information: (520) 463-2700 or http://royalfaires.com/arizona

Special event weekends

Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 16

During opening weekend, you can get into the festival for a cut rate of two tickets for $20 — if you have a special coupon. The deal also works on Presidents Day, Feb. 16. Coupons are available, in limited quantities, at Arriba Mexican Grill restaurants, Shell gas stations, Wendy’s fast-food locations and Phoenix Flower Shops in the Valley. You must show the coupon at the festival gate to get the deal; it’s not good on tickets purchased at Fry’s Food and Drug Stores or online.

Feb. 14

Married couples are invited to renew their vows at a free ceremony 12:30 p.m. at the Festival Wedding Chapel. Festival admission rates apply.

Feb. 21-22

During the Renaissance, the nobility of Venice had a long-standing tradition of wearing masks when they engaged in activities like gambling, drinking and romantic conquests. Venetian Carnevale, a lavish celebration of masked revelry, makes a comeback these two days, when children and adults are encouraged to bring homemade masks. They’ll be judged in contests at noon Saturday (for kids) and Sunday (for adults). There are also wine lectures and tastings each day at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 at the Feast Hall Green.

Feb. 28 and March 1

British, French and Dutch pirates roamed the Caribbean during the 1500s and 1600s, and pirates will invade the festival with a treasure hunt for kids 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and a kids costume contest at noon. A contest for adults in pirate garb is noon Sunday.

March 7-8

An enchanted village with talking trees, wizards, elves and fairies is the draw during a weekend steeped in magic and fantasy. Children are invited to dress as elves or fairies for a contest at noon on Saturday. Adults can enjoy wine lectures and tastings each day at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 at the Feast Hall Green, and the adult Renaissance costume contest is noon Sunday.

March 14-15

Celebrate the Celtic nations of Scotland and Ireland with the Sexiest Knees in a Kilt Contest at noon Saturday. Contestants will be judged on personality, presence and — most important — the sex appeal of their knees. Contestants are required to wear proper undergarments beneath their kilts.

March 21

Girls ages 5-12 are invited to dress up for the Fairest Princess Contest at noon.

  • Discuss


GetOut on Facebook


GetOut on Twitter


GetOut on Google+


Subscribe to GetOut via RSS

RSS Feeds

Your Az Jobs