90 Hard Words in the Bible

A List of Uncommon Biblical Words with their Definitions

In my article 5 Reasons to Use the King James Version, I said that some of the features most criticized in the King James Bible are among the best reasons to keep it! For example, consider the thee’s and thou’s. The King James Version was not written in the everyday language of people on the street in 1611. It was written in high English, a very precise form of our language. In modern English, the second person pronoun is expressed with one word, whether in the singular or the plural. That word is you.

The King James Version lets us know whether the Scripture means a singular you or a plural you. Thou or thee mean one person being addressed, and ye or you mean several. This feature often helps us interpret a passage.

Such features make the King James Version the most helpful translation of the Bible in English. There are some words in the Bible that are not used very often in today’s English. Here is a list of 90 of them with their definitions for your convenience:

afore = before

aforetime = in times past

artificer = craftsman

audience = hearing

bewrayeth = betrayeth

bondmen = slaves

cast = throw, put

caul = fat

charity = love

chide = contend

cleave, clave = cut, cling

coast = border

conversation = lifestyle

deal = part

dearth = famine

discomfit = defeat

discover = expose

divers = diverse, various

emulation = jealousy

ensample = example

ere = before

espied = discovered

even = evening

forswear = perjure

forthwith = immediately

fretting = festering

froward = perverse

graven = carved

hearken = listen

heave = lift

holpen = helped

husbandman = farmer

husbandry = farming

kine = cows

let = hinder, lease

list = want

mammon = money

meat = food, meal

meet = fitting, suitable

mingle = mix

minish = diminish

morrow = next day

nigh = near

ouches = settings

ought = any

peculiar = special

peradventure = perhaps, suppose

plaiting = braiding

privily = privately

prove = test, try

publican = tax collector

purloining = pilfering, embezzling

quick = alive

quicken = make alive

remove = move

rend = tear

rereward = rear guard

save, saving = except

seethe = boil

selfsame = very same

shew = show

singular = special

sodden = boiled

sore = greatly

straightway = immediately

stranger = foreigner

strawed = scattered

succour = help

suffer = allow

tell = count

tempt = test, try

terrible = awe-inspiring

throughly = thoroughly

turtle = turtle dove

twain = two

usury = interest

verily = truly

victuals = food supplies

want = lack

ward = prison

wax = become

whence = from where

wherefore = why or therefore

whither = where

wist = knew

wittingly = knowingly

wont = accustomed

wot = know

wreathen = braided

wroth = angry

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