This section is an ongoing project dedicated to the words of the Colonial Era. Granted, many of these words would not be used at the local tavern, but may well have been employed in more learned circles. In addition to words used then that are not used now, we also include words that may still be around whose meanings have changed since early America.
Whenever possible, we try to provide a full etymological background of each entry, as well as examples of usage from then-current literature.
Though we use a wide variety of resources for this project, we'd be remiss not to mention Dictionary of Early English by Joseph T. Shipley (Introduction by Mark Van Doren), which you can find in its entirety HERE, readable online, or as a downloadable .pdf file...
Please Contact Us if you have any additions (that we haven't added yet -- this is a work-in-progress) or corrections to these entries...we hope you find this Colonial Dictionary interesting and useful.
A woman's headdress; especially, a kerchief wrapped about the head. [Kerchief comes from French couvre-chef, cover-head.] Voluper seems short for enveloper; Old French envelopeur, a kerchief. Chaucer in THE MILLER'S TALE (1386) says: The tapes of her white voluper Were of the same suyte of hir coler. Cranmer in the BIBLE (1539) translates one of the lines of THE SONG OF SONGS (BALLETTES OF SOLOMON): Thy chekes are lyke a pece of a pomgranate within thy volupers.