The KickAss Glossary to Shakespeare’s Works

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About the KickAss Companion

The KickAss Companion to Shakespeare, as with the rest of KickAss Shakespeare, is designed to make Shakespeare readable and enjoyable to modern audiences at all levels of interest. With nearly 20,000 entries and over 180,000 active links to usage examples in the plays and poems it is the most comprehensive resource of its kind on the Internet. And it is growing as new and more modern definitions and explanations are being added.

But most importantly the glossary is easily accessible and user friendly.

How to use the Companion

From within a KickAss play or poem

Search input box 1When reading a play you can select the term you want to look up (double-click, touch or whatever your device requires to select text) and then click the A-Z button at the bottom-left corner of the window. If you want to enter text directly click the magnifying glass icon to the left of the A-Z button to display the general search bar.


In the search bar enter the text you are looking for and click the Glossary button. From the search dialog you can also search the current page for text orsearch the Internet using Google. (KickAss will add the play name and Shakespeare to the search string before calling Google in a browser page.)

Close the search dialog by either clicking the button.


Display Options

When looking up a term from within a play or poem the results can be displayed in either of two ways: 1) a pop-up window which is closed as soon as you click or touch outside of the window and, 2) in a completely new window.

The advantages of a using a pop-up window (the Show in pop-up option shown at right) is that it is quick and interrupts the flow of reading as little as possible.

The advantages of using a new window (clear the check box for Show in popup on the left-hand popup menu) is that is it much more configurable and, if you are running the web app on a desktop such as a Windows PC or a Mac, you can put the two windows side by side for very efficient viewing of definitions and explanations as shown below.


Side by side windows. On the left Macbeth on the right the glossary entry for broil.


Active Links

References to quotations in specific plays provide act, scene and line numbers. However the line numbers may not be the same as what you see in your text as there are many different texts with different numbering systems. But line numbers are needed here since simply clicking on one of the cited links (there are over 180,000 of them) and KickAss will display the play or poem in a new window, scroll to the appropriate place in the text and highlight the text:


The Origin of the KickAss Glossary

The original foundation for the KickAss Glossary is the monumental work by Alexander Schmidt, SHAKESPEARE-LEXICON, A COMPLETE DICTIONARY OF ALL THE ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE WORKS OF THE POET. Third edition 1902.

We scanned in nearly 1,500 pages (one of which is shown below), digitized the graphics, vetted and corrected the text, reformatted the entries, replaced most abbreviations and word stubs and created active links for every play reference.

The work continues. Character biographies are being added as the plays and poems are being produced (search for Macbeth to see an example) and definitions and references are being expanded to satisfy the needs not only of of academics, dramaturgs, and actors but also those new to Shakespeare.

However explanations and definitions are constantly being expanded, updated and added to by KickAss Shakespeare.


The basic text of the KickAss Companion will be made available in PDF format for use by the public.

Below is a side by side comparison of the original work by Schmidt and the modern KickAss Glossary.