Ten Medieval Terms You’ve Never Heard Of

Ten Medieval Terms You’ve Never Heard Of

How often has this happened to you? You’re reading a fascinating compelling story about the life and times of your favorite medieval personages. You’re deep into the book, loving every moment reliving the past, and then suddenly, you run across a word or phrase in which you have no idea what it means. You’re immediately taken out of the Middle Ages and thrust back in to 21st-century life.  It’s a shock!

Perhaps, if you’re on your Kindle you may get the definition – but not often on these archaic words, If you’re really studious, you can look this mysterious medieval word up in the modern dictionary – if the word is still included.

Canterbury Tales PROLOGUE

So to help increase your uninterrupted reading pleasure … and your knowledge of all things medieval (won’t you be the hit at your next “logophile” party!), e-Royalty has unearthed 10 medieval terms you most likely have never heard of. 


A penalty given to a liege’s vassals for a breach of conduct. With this penalty, a vassal’s lands were confiscated by his liege.  Commise is similar to an attainder which we know kings passed out like candy.

2. Sackbut

(Any guesses first?) A sackbut was an early version of the trombone. This early musical instrument looked like a medieval weapon known as a saqueboute – a type of lance.

3. Phala

A small building on the grounds of a castle where weapons are stored.

4. Tron

A weighing machine used in public markets.

5. Fletch

The skill of attaching feathers on an arrow. An arrow maker was called a Fletcher.

6. Armiger

A young man who carried the shield of a knight

7. Peytral

The padded breastplate armor used on a horse

8. Tail

An arbitrary tax levied by the king. And I’m sure not popular at all.

9. Misericord

A very slender knife that can easily pass though the small slits in a knight’s helmet.

10. Wedd

A pledge you make to another. Originally used to mean a “blood brother”, but without the painful slicing and sharing of blood.