A-Z of Shakespeare – P


Today’s Shakespearean word of the day is… passado

P - passado

A movement used in fencing, a passado is a forward thrust with the foil with the rear foot moving forward at the same time (see illustration below).

When you had a sword fight, you hoped to fight someone who had learned the same fighting style as you had, so you would know how they were going to attack you or defend themselves. The more flamboyant French and Italian sword-fighting styles were becoming popular while Shakespeare was writing, and the ways of describing some of the moves came from those languages too.

Listen to the pronunciation of passado here


Shakespeare Dictionary _130This definition is taken from the Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary, a unique dictionary to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language, compiled by renowned English language expert David Crystal and Shakespearean actor and producer Ben Crystal.