KJV Vocab Test

King James Bible 1772 - Genesis 3

Let’s do a vocabulary test! See how well you can do on your own without reading the verse and post your score in the comments. All references are taken from the King James Version.

1. wen (Lev 2:22)

2. victuals (Mat 14:15)

3. vestry (2 Kings 10:22)

4. upbraideth (James 1:5)

5. unction (1 John 2:20)

6. trow (Luke 17:9)

7. tow (Judges 16:9)

8. surfeiting (Luke 21:34)

9. sundry (Heb 1:1)

10. suborned (Acts 6:11)

11. stomacher (Isa 3:24)

12. sop (John 13:26)

13. sod (Gen 25:29)

14. slow bellies (Titus 1:12)

15. scrip (Luke 9:3)

16. provender (Gen 24:25)

17. privy (Acts 5:2)

18. pottage (Hag 2:12)

19. peradventure (2 Timothy 2:25)

20. penury (Luke 21:4)

21. paps (Luke 11:27)

22. Osee (Romans 9:25)

23. offscouring (1 Co 4:13)

24. nitre (Pro 25:20)

25. murrain (Exodus 9:3)

26. mess (Gen 43:34)

27. meet (Mark 7:27)

28. mazzaroth (Job 38:32)

29. marishes (Eze 47:11)

30. listeth (John 3:8)

31. let (Rom 1:13)

32. kine (Gen 41:2)

33. jangling (1 Timothy 1:6)

34. inditing (Psa 45:1)

35. husbandman (Joel 1:11)

36. holpen (Psa 86:17)

37. hoary (Job 38:29)

38. heady (2 Timothy 3:4)

39. hart (Psa 42:1)

40. haply (Mark 11:13)

41. habergeon (Exo 28:32)

42. gainsay (Luke 21:15)

43. gaddest (Jer 2:36)

44. fuller (Mark 9:3)

45. flux (Acts 28:8)

46. execration (Jer 42:18)

47. euroclydon (Acts 27:14)

48. earing (Gen 45:6)

49. crisping pins (Isa 3:22)

This list came from elsewhere on the Internet but I haven’t been able to find the original source. If it’s yours please let me know and I’ll be happy to give you credit.

140 thoughts on “KJV Vocab Test”

    1. I rather enjoy #21’s…

      Do you like paps a lot?
      (Yes, I like paps a lot.)
      Paps a lot, paps a lot.
      (You gotta like paps a lot.)
      Really like paps a lot.
      (You gotta like paps a lot.)
      Paps a lot, paps a lot.
      (You gotta like paps a lot.)

  1. wait a minute…

    I was told the KJV was written at a 5th grade reading level!


    1. Because all short words are equally understandable. I imagine there are a lot of foreign language texts that are also written at a fifth-grade level, but most of us here could not read them even though most of us have college education!

    2. Yep. That’s why KJV-onlyists only use “readability scales” that completely ignore vocabulary.

      1. As I said the other day, I find it much easier to read almost any 100-word, polysyllabic-filled sentence in English than a 15-word, all-monosyllabic sentence in Mandarin.

  2. Yikes! A little less than half of them, but that’s only because when I was a pastor I had to look them up so I could update the language for all the other people who couldn’t understand the KJV.

  3. In Judges 16:9, there is another word: withs.

    So you need know what tow and withs are.

    Good list. I know quite a few. But there are some in there I need to look up.

    1. See, it was bothering me that the list ended at 49 instead of 50. Darrell, will you please add the 50th for your OCD readers?

      1. Apparently you are unaware that 49 is an especially perfect number, being the square of 7. GO attend a Bill Gothard conference and you will see the light on this. (Actually, since you are OCD, please go do ANYTHING BUT attend a Bill Gothard conference!!)

  4. Wow!! I haven’t read the kjv for a long time and many of those words don’t even look familiar. What a wonderful feeling.

    1. I knew 41 of them right off. But you can bet most Fundamentalists not only don’t know these definitions, they probably don’t even know they are in the KJV. I mean, how many Fundamentalists actually read the Bible (apart from rushing through “daily devotions” to score their ration of merit for the day?)

      1. Actually most fundamentalists do read their Bible quite a bit because it is one of those works that they are terrified to quit performing. The real problem is that because they are told what to believe ahead of time, they don’t allow their minds to truly meditate on it’s message.

      2. I read the KJV through every year from the time I was about 8 until about 18. I also went through several periods of trying to read different formulas (a Proverb a day for wisdom, plus a this and a that a day for various other attributes…) I don’t think my reading was so different from many other Fundies’. It may have been perfunctory, but even obligatory reading done for all the wrong reasons will result in familiarity with the text.

        For the record, I didn’t stop reading Scripture at 18, just stopped thinking that all good Christians read through every line between January 1st and December 31st.

  5. Wow! Just reading that list makes my brain hurt and reminds me of the days when reading the Bible was so hard because I didn’t understand most of the words. As a teen my parents bought me a KJV/NIV parallel Bible and I would skip over to the NIV when I didn’t understand a passage. But I always felt so guilty when I did that–like I wasn’t doing the real work of Bible study. (Not sure where I got that guilt from, not my parents!) Not until I attended Northland Baptist Bible College (which was Fundie then!) did I realize I could read the NIV and NASB and ESV guilt free! So nice to actually understand the words I’m reading!

    1. Brother(or sister)….pick up the NY Times or any other newspaper and read it..you will see words on this list there…btw, Any Marine, Soldier, Airman or Sailor knows what mess and vituals are..try this….take the list and read Any English literature from 1800 to 2013 …you will be surprised and if English lit is too much to handle, pick up a Mad or People magazine, etc, etc and you will see more words from this list then you’d expect

      1. Unless you’re privy to the inspired 1611 version of the New York Times, you’re going to be gainsaid. While verily, the speaketh plainly of Mazzaroth. Preadventure you’ve seen it yourself, if haply you’ve turned the horoscope section. I hate to be the one to gainsay you, but I think you’ve been suborned to speak jangling words

      2. In the journalism degree I received, we were taught to write for fourth graders…I am pretty sure no journalist uses most of the words on this list since there are no fourth grade spelling words on this list. Not to mention that since 1611, the English language has changed and most of the meanings of these words–if they are used today–have changed with the language and the cultures which speak English. So if any are used today–they probably do not mean what 1611 thinks they mean.

      3. It’s fair to say that I’ve read much more than the average person, including a lot of older works. Yet I’ve never seen a discussion of “euroclydons” outside of the KJV.

  6. I never made the connection before, but I always wondered why the A Beka elementary “math” books placed such an emphasis on Roman numerals. You don’t think…?

    1. Because it’s easier to teach Roman numerals than to actually teach math.

      ATI had a different perspective on Roman numerals: they were Roman, ergo pagan, ergo evil.

    1. I love the word “kine,” which I first met in Shakespeare. Also the word “neat,” which means almost the same thing.
      But most people misunderstand me when I ask how their neat and kine are doing.

    2. Words that are fun to say: please post “Bulbous Bouffant” link from YouTube. There are many versions available there, but the first one, with photographs, is a real winner.

  7. Guess we can throw out that whole “study to show thyself approved verse” You know if you only had a dictionary around….oh wait… non-fundys don’t use those do they?

    1. Right, that verse is totally talking about studying dictionaries and other books outside of the Word of God. It completely refutes the concept that the Word of God is sufficient, and people shouldn’t have to rely on other books to understand it. πŸ™„

        1. That line of thinking means that you would believe that a baby naturally knows the meanings of all word with out having to learn them. Therefore there is no need for a dictionary? Makes perfect sense….not.. oh and I love the comment about the 1611 dictionary, good one…that just like asking someone if they have a 1492 Encyclopedia if they were discussing Christopher Columbus… brilliance! If you were to go to the Library and search all the books I am sure there would be at least one book that has a word you would not know. How would you discover the meaning? I am just going to take a shot in the dark and say… study. SO…. if you come across a word you don’t know, just study. The truth is that you can find out the meaning of any of those words in seconds. and I have had that Juno account since probably the late 90’s. Just never had the heart to get rid of it. :mrgreen:

        2. Will Kirk, I could also read the bible in Hebrew, Greek, Russian, Spanish, or Latin (all languages I have studied to a greater or lesser degree) as long as I had a dictionary to help me look up words I didn’t know. And if I wanted a vocabulary exercise, I might do that. But if I want to read and study God’s Word, I am going to read and study a translation that is in my own language, which is modern English.

        3. Good grief, people. Words are defined by usage. We don’t use them thar olden timey 1611 words by and large. The English language is a living language.

          Example: Fred Flinstone’s “we’ll have a gay old time” doesn’t mean the same thing as it did back in the 60’s.

          Bibliolotry, plain and simple.

    2. The people who were told to ‘study to show thyself approved’ were able to read the scriptures in their native tongue. They didn’t have to study the basic meanings of the words, but the spiritual implications of the words that they understood.

      1. Ah, but then there are those who say that just like you had to learn Hebrew to read the Jewish scriptures, you must learn 1611 early modern English to read the Christian scriptures.

    3. Excellent! You proved the point of the main post in one try. The word “study” has changed in the 400+ years since KJV 1.0 . Today it means pick up books and prepare for a test. Its older meaning was only tangentially related: Do you best, strive for something, work hard at it. You’ll find that’s more closely related to the Greek word in that verse, which means “to make haste, to zealously pursue, to do in the best possible way, to do conscientiously” (condensed from TDNT).

      See? I can study too!

  8. I printed the list out and gave it to my KJVO wife to tackle. She said, “oh goody!” and immediately whipped out her “‘Archaic’ King James Version Words Defined” dictionary. She then launched into a tirade about songwriters who take old hymns and change the “Thee” and “Thou” pronouns to “You” and “Your”. I then changed the subject to cats.

    1. Because “thee” and “thou” (being the familiar form of the word and NOT the deferential form) are sooooooo much more “reverent” than “you.”

    2. Nothing is more relaxing to me than to have a book I am reading in one hand and a dictionary in the other so I can look up the words from the book I am reading to understand it better….
      Its what I have to do when I pullout some of my biblical commentaries which insert Greek words from the Bible into the text with no definition whatsoever.

      1. I would submit that if one needs a dictionary when they read the bible, their translation is lacking. The ENTIRE purpose of a bible translation is to give God’s word to folks in language they can understand!

        1. Sure, Greg. We’ll just ignore the whole idea of PaRDeS and unearthing the rich layers of meaning in God’s Word.

          It is arrogant (in my opinion) to believe one has no need of linguistic tools to truly comprehend such an important ancient text.

    3. Cats are usually a safe subject for wasting the rest of the day (I’m doorman to five of them.)
      >^..^< πŸ˜€

    4. This made me giggle!!!!! Jumping from “Thee and Thou” to cats… Ha, ha… But may I say that I quite like the Thee and Thou?! πŸ™‚ It’s so reverent. When I make up a tune and burst into spontaneous praise to my great God every once in a while, I am surprised at myself: But then I always use “Thee” and “Thou”.

      I want to lift God high above myself. If God is “you” all the time, it’s sometimes difficult to be that reverent. I think it’s good to make use of both… πŸ™‚

      I read several different Bibles but when I have a really important issue where I need to gain more spiritual understanding, I actually do look at the “Authorized King James Version” just to see if the scholars who transated that Bible are pointing to a spiritual truth that was lost in another translation. I prefer reading understandable English but I do want to read a Bible that hasn’t got numerous significant errors or tends to more easily “evoke” wrong sets of beliefs, like, e.g. “The Message” that I feel you can’t call a Bible in the first place. I do believe, we need to look at the concerns hard-core KJV-fundies voice. They have many good reasons for promoting that Bible – but declaring it a sin if you read another Bible, is taking it too far. On the other hand – it is true: if a KJV Bible is too difficult to understand because of the huge “language gap” and it’s seriously “Latin” to you, then you’re putting chains on people and causing them to be enslaved to a duty that God is surely not superimposing on anyone. I do believe that all serious God-seekers will end up with a set of Bibles in their homes and a collection of commentaries because sometimes you really need to solve a “mental and/or spiritual conflict” and need some reference material to do so. So in terms of accurateness, I must say – KJV is a very good choice indeed. I would really like a modern KJV that is as good as the Authorized KJV. The New King James really does have a lot of errors in it… and the NIV, too… We should rejoice that we have the Word of God in the first place. That’s just wonderful. πŸ™‚

  9. I know most of these and even the phrases from the verses themselves came into my mind when I read the word.

    However, I don’t remember mazzaroth and I don’t ever remember ever even SEEING marishes. Off to look those up.

    1. I wasn’t sure on “execration”; I looked it up and realized I was confusing it with “excretion.”

      I’m glad I guessed Osee correctly! But I got 48 wrong. I didn’t know Euroclydon either, but doesn’t that one count as a proper noun?

      Just for fun, I copied and pasted the whole list into this box and found out that spell check doesn’t recognize the following:

      habergeon (now, that one it should have known, I think!)

      1. Mazzaroth is in Job I believe, but I don’t remember what it means: a star maybe? I just remember really liking the way it sounded.

  10. Why couldn’t they pick one spelling for Melchizedek/Melchisedec…. ?? Prolly printer error…

    1. That’s because of the way the KJV transliterates proper names. In most cases their formula rendered the names differently from Hebrew than from Greek. The easiest example is Isaiah vs. Esaias. It would definitely have made more sense to stick to one spelling, but at least they were consistently inconsistent.

  11. While we are all delving into the arcane KJV vocabulary, could all the KJV-only commenters please take a crack at defining the following words:

    Apothecary (Ex. 30:25) (priestly medicine!)
    Bishop (I Tim. 3:1) (Bonus: Bowels (II Cor. 6:11-13)!)
    Conversation (Phil. 1:27) (talk your walk!)
    Dragon (Jer. 51:37) (this week Jerusalem, next week Alagaesia!)
    Engine (II Chron. 26:15) (the little Uzziah that could!)
    Flowers (Lev. 15:24) (this is perhaps the greatest euphemism ever created in the history of mankind!)
    Gravity (I Tim. 3:4) (being a pastor can really be a drag!)
    Hinder (Zech. 14:8) (the sea that keeps stuff from happening!)
    Incontinent (II Tim. 3:3) (pastors must poop regularly!)
    Jangling (I Tim. 1:6) (if they won’t let you witness to them on visitation, DON’T WHACK THEIR WINDCHIMES before leaving the porch!)
    Kerchiefs (Ez. 13:18) (cute little idols (or whatever that verse is talking about)!)
    Let (II Thess. 2:7) (probably not the first time someone thought their landlord was the antichrist!)
    Matrix (Num. 18:15) (born into dystopia!)
    Necromancer (Deut. 18:11) (okay, cheating a little on that one, but seriously who uses that word anymore these days except for Gandalf and Radagast?)
    Ought (Mark 11:25) (a spelling error in God’s perfect word!)
    Prevent (Ps. 119:147) (David, quit crying so the sun can come up!)
    Quit (I Cor. 16:13) (quit being men and start being . . . what exactly?)
    Reins (Ps. 7:9) (cause some people have a little horse in their pants!)
    Sherriff (Dan. 3:3) (Babylon was a wild west!)
    Tale (Ex. 5:8) (personally, I think stories about building materials are quite boring!)
    Unicorn (Job 39:9-10) (Job is a magical book!)
    Vocation (Eph. 4:1) (God’s call is work, work, work!)
    Wax (Ps. 32:3) (Brackium Emendo!)

    1. Must not be a Hunger Games fan. Katniss’ mom was a healer, and had an apothecary. It’s herbal medicine. πŸ˜€

      1. I know what it means. My point was what it means now (including in the Hunger Games) is different from what it meant in 1611.

        1. Yes, lots of words are still used, but with different meanings.
          Sometimes the old meanings still exist, which can be confusing.
          For example, “let” can mean either permit (the usual meaning now) or prevent (the usual meaning in the 1500s).

    2. I knew Apothecary cause I’ve been working in Pharmacy & meds for a decade. I suspect most people over 60 probably still know that one, but it’s fading.

    3. This is a hilarious list, especially your comments! I had to compare to a modern translation to know the meanings – the stuff I never knew was in the KJV – too fun!

      As for apothecary, in the modern translation I used, it was called a perfumer. It seems it used to mean the art of mixing, or what we’d call compounding now. So it would have once included people who made medicine (for consumption, inhalation, topical application…) or perfumers who mixed stuff just to smell good. And I’m sure that’s not an exhaustive list of what apothecaries might have done.

      And that’s all the vocabulary knowledge I have to share

  12. While some people may know the definition to #2, not many people nowadays seem to know that it is pronounced “vittles,” just like Granny Clampett used to say. Interestingly, I spent my entire Protestant existence saying it phonetically, but an Orthodox Christian bishop (who was a former Baptist and a pretty good linguist) gave me the skinny on this word.

    Also interesting, this same bishop translated a priest’s service book for use in his diocese using KJV-ish language. Not everyone appreciated his efforts. πŸ˜€

      1. That figures–I went to a Christian school from grades 3-12. We read plenty of KJV, but no Shakespeare. Their idea of “literature” was the stories found in the ABeka readers. And Pilgirm’s Progress.

    1. Here in Australia it is always pronounced phonetically but I learned the correct pronunciation from my ex-Royal Navy father. He always spoke of vittling not victualing.

    2. As a kid, I read in a book a backwoods character saying “vittles” (it was spelled that way) so I assumed that couldn’t actually be the CORRECT pronunciation. (I think the book was “Big Red.”) I think I was in college before I learned which was really correct.

    3. “Vittles” is still a current word in some dialects of English, including Granny Clampett’s Appalachian.

        1. Which, of course, would not mean easy to chew vs. tough, rather To Give the provender, which might be equivalent to Render Provender, and then again might not exactly if you’re the [horse] Renderer from whence the Provender cameth.

  13. Well, I know all of them, but I have a massive vocabulary. I also live in England and was brought up on the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised Version. Some of the words are still in use in England, though “Privy” is more likely to be understood as “toilet” than “in private”; the term came to be used as a euphemism for toilet because it is a “private place”. Thus, “The privy at the bottom of the garden”.

    1. Also “Privy Council”, the sovereign’s personal advisers, so named because those who had access to the sovereign at their most vulnerable times – ie going to the toilet – had to be trustworthy. Thus the role of “page to the stool” may sound like a bummer of a job to us, but was one that would have required considerable influence and bribery to obtain once upon a time.

  14. I’m sorry, but have I missed the point? What the words actually mean is irrelevant surely? It’s what God Almighty’s PhD laden fully accredited minister says they mean that counts, doesn’t it?

    My personal favourites are “prevent” (Psalm 119:147) and “comforter” (John 14:26): two words which use today that meant something completely different when they were written.

  15. Mingled people from the nethermost ate snuffdishes and palmerworm every quarternion. Their sheepcote were in shambles. Naught to worry. We outwent to bewray the breeches with putrifying sores on the sackbut.
    Beeves armholes and emerods canker the bald locust before the horseleach broilered the calves of our lips and cast the same in his teeth burning ague and chalkstones! Besom liers girt the hasty fruit while sapwing helve the hindmost apothecary. The ambushment cauls chapiter from ambassage and his flesh pots freckled spot the mallows. Then nergal mufflers astonied the farthing flagons mincing mete, maw and assupim. Afterwards the college oil tree was neesings, plaiting pleasant plants and rereward ribband.

    1. Why would you do such vile things to a musical instrument? And what does that have to do with a sheep pen?

    2. did you cut and paste that from the book of Mormon? It seriously sounds like that in places.

  16. Bookmarking this so when I start a band I will have a list of sweet words to use to totally elude the mainstream. 😎

        1. Cowbells are too modern and are warned against in Scripture (sounding brass, tinkling cymbal). The Jangling Paps will feature grunting and the smacking together of hands.

        2. “Jangling Paps” reminds me of the last belly-dancing performance I saw.
          No, make that every belly-dancing performance I’ve seen.

      1. Looking back over the older comments, I see that Don has already made the happy combination of 33 and 21. So I therefore reluctantly relinquish my right to the name, pending further negotiations. How about The Surfeiting Slowbellies instead?

  17. Languages do evolve with usage. Arabic is one of the most unchanged languages (as I understand it) due to the prevalent use of the Koran. Maybe if the AV’s use had remained a dominant force in the English language, English would’ve resisted change. But it didn’t, and now usage has rendered the Authorized Version irrelevant. There are those who, at least tacitly, want to deify the AV, but they’re wingnuts.

    It’s amazing to me how much American English has evolved in my lifetime, and I’m only in my mid 50s.

    If I didn’t believe in irrestistable grace I’d be tempted to say that the KJV-only crowd are tools of the enemy to keep people from coming to faith.

    So I say that they’re just tools.

    1. BJG, the sad thing is that these language debates are not limited to the IFB crowd. In the Orthodox church, one of the best ways to start a brawl is to bring up which translations are better–thee/thou or you/who? I find value in both. Even in the “old countries” the debate rages. Modern Russians cannot easily understand Slavonic, but the church resists changing; modern Greeks cannot easily understand liturgical Greek, but go ahead and suggest an update. Fundamentalists are everywhere.

  18. It always amuses me how some people refuse to acknowledge the evolution of the English language. Sure, they’ll cling to the KJV and say “Well, this word means this, that word used to mean that…” But honestly, that’s an exhausting way to read the Bible. And as time passes, it’ll get harder and harder to explain why we just HAVE to read this version. Just read an Elsie Dinsmore book (not the politically corrected version) and you’ll see just how much meanings have changed. I read some of one recently and parts of it came across as perverted. Also, one year in college my roommates and I had great fun reading aloud sections of Grace Livingstone Hill romance books. Half of the time someone was gay or making love. Really livened up the plots πŸ™‚ And yes, I do realize the horrible theology in those books. Although, it’s much like modern day Fundydom. Which is probably they’re considered classics in those circles πŸ™„

  19. You ignorant fools have no idea how viciously the Catholic Church persecuted those men who gave us an English Bible.

    1. I’m quite aware of it. I am awed at those who risked everything and who sometimes died cruel deaths in order to get the Bible into the language of the people.

      In turn, it amazes me that people who respect those translators of the past would then turn around and denigrate those who translate the Bible today so people TODAY can understand it without having to resort to a dictionary or a pastor to interpret it for them.

    2. I am not aware that the Catholic church did much of anything to the men who translated the King James Version, seeing as how they were not under the pope’s jurisdiction.

      1. True. Not the KJV translators. Since he (or she) mentioned the English Bible, I presume he meant Wycliffe and Tyndale and those whose work preceded the KJV.

    3. Well, the Tyndale and Geneva Bibles, certainly. But not the translators of the KJV. By that time, England was protestant.

      Otherwise, so what? Does that mean we should never have another translation into the language of our time?

      Or are you saying that you and other fundamentalists are going to take on the place of the Catholic Church in the past and persecute those who make other English translations of the Bible? If so, it sounds fitting.

      1. Actually, to follow Slave’s logic, since some people suffered so much to bring us the English Bible, isn’t it disloyal to reject their translations in favor of one approved by an Anglican king, a king whom many Puritans and Separatists LEFT England for American to avoid?

  20. I got 34 right and 15 wrong.
    Really a pretty bad score, considering that I was an English major and I have a large vocabulary in several languages (not bragging; I score very, very high on all vocab. tests except this one).

    Words for which I knew a meaning, but not the right one in for the verse in question:

    Words of whose meaning I had no idea:
    Mazzaroth (some quick research indicates no one’s really sure what a “mazzaroth” is, though it seems to have something to do with astronomy)
    Crisping pins

    1. I’m going to credit books for knowing “crisping pins” (“Little Women”, I think), “habergeon” (“Ivanhoe” maybe), and “murrain” (maybe Stevenson’s “Black Arrow”). I didn’t even notice the missing “r” on “earing”. That one has been amusing me ever since I heard it. It’s so simple and down-to-earth.

      1. For the quiz, I guessed that “earing” was an alternate spelling of “earring,” but I was wrong. In the context, “earing” means “the formation of ears (seed heads) on stalks of grain.” Perhaps that meaning would be more obvious in an agricultural society.
        I thought a murrain must be either a kind of waterfowl (it just sounds like it) or a moraine (a kind of hill formed by glacial deposits). It’s not. A murrain is a pestilence (plague) affecting domestic animals.
        It turns out a habergeon is a hauberk, a word I knew from somewhere.
        Marishes, though, seem to be the same thing as marshes. Either the word in the KJV picked up an extra vowel somehow, or the word has lost a vowel somewhere in the last 400 years.
        A euroclydon, I now know, is a certain kind of wind that blows in the eastern Mediterranean. That’s going to be tough one to work into my water-cooler conversations.

  21. I knew all but 4, but I have done a large amount of study of many of those words themselves. I didn’t know mazzaroth, wen, gaddest, or execretion (I thought I knew it, but was thinking excretion).
    Could I make just a small point without being lynched? Many of the new versions contain these types of words, too… words like praetorian, quaternion, rivulets, etc…. Any work of this magnitude will almost necessarily contain a few words that are not commonly used in everyday speech. just saying….

    1. Rivulet is a common word in everyday contemporary English. Hikers and campers use this word all the time.

      1. I wouldn’t say that “rivulet” is a common word in everyday speech. In a specialized subset of the population, yes, or perhaps a junior high science class; but other than seeing it in print and typing it just now I have never personally used the word. That said, it’s not archaic either.

    2. I looked up Quaternion, and apparently it is only found in Acts 12:4. The king james uses “delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him”.

      NIV: “handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each”

      ESV: “delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him”

      NLT: “placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each”

      NASB: “delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him”


      1. Quaternion would be one of those technical Roman military term for which there would not necessarily be an equivalent translation in the language of another culture that doesn’t organize its military in the same way. Another example would be Centurion, but that one we’re more familiar with. I’d guess, though, that half of the people who use the term don’t really understand a centurion’s ranking in the Roman military hierarchy.

        1. Centurian– century. That would be a soldier in command of 100 men, right? The closest modern rank and job description would probably be that of a captain in the infantry.

        2. The centurion was over roughly 100 soldiers. What the nearest equivalent rank would be today, I don’t know. A quaternion was definitely not today’s squad though. It was four soldiers, two being [often literally] attached to a prisoner while the other two kept watch. Point being, no modern equivalent makes it difficult to translate.

          So just use the old word and put a cultural explanation in footnotes already. Problem solved, crisis averted. No need to insist on using an inferior or inaccurate term inline with the text.

        3. Michael (apparently one of several),

          Completely agree, Sir!

          Same is true for words like behemoth, leviathan, Euroclydon, and, assuming no one is exactly sure what type of creature the word is refering to, unicorn.

          Can I give you a hearty amen without triggering PTSD?

    3. True, but I haven’t heard too many people saying the newer versions are “so easy to understand a 5th grader could do it!” And refuse to acknowledge archaic meanings just because.

  22. Howbout “rereward”?

    I first found it when reading a badly typeset but amazingly thin printing of the whole KJV Bible–one I could easily carry in my pocket and thus have available to “redeem the time”. It was riddled with typos, of which I assumed rereward was another. “The LORD will be your rereward.” Shouldn’t that be reward?

    Not only is it not a typo, it calls attention to the change in meaning of the word “forward” as found in the near context of “rereward”, again something of which I bet 95% of KJVOnlyists remain unawares.

    1. I had to look that one up.
      It does not mean “rearward,” which is a good word in today’s English.
      “Rereward” = “rear guard,” as in the part of a military force assigned to protect the troops’ rear.

      1. And likewise forward was not originally a direction, rather the fore guard.

        I’m an etymology nerd!

  23. I’m not sure how to check my answers; I didn’t know wen (#1), tow (#7), stomacher (#11), nitre (#24) – this one irritates me because I remember looking it up a few years ago, mazzaroth (#28), marishes (#29), inditing (#34), execration (#46)…

    So, I know (or think I know) 41 of 48.

  24. 41 of 49.
    I think.
    You sure can tell we’re a bunch of raised-on-KJV-ers (or rather, we’re a bunch of raised-on-KJV-ers who got annoyed enough with things not making sense to actually look up the words).

    1. The sentiment expressed in the song drives me nuts, but I still love that style of music. Those guys have amazing harmony, although I wish the amen crowd would pipe down a bit so we could hear it.

      1. The singing’s OK, but all those loonies yelling during the song pretty much spoils it for me.

  25. Sixty vocabulary words in the “easier-to-read” NIV (none of which appear in KJV):


    See the full list of words in the NIV but not in the KJV HERE.

    1. I encounter more of the words on this list on a somewhat regular basis (I think I first heard “drachma” on “I Dream of Jeannie”) than I do the vast majority of words on Darrell’s list.

      I’ve yet to meet a farmer to talk about many kine he has. However, I regularly wear my tiara, I have a collection of brooches, and I festoon my home every December with evergreens in an attempt to masquerade as a non-Scrooge. I hope to be with friends at a pub this evening, fomenting gaiety as we listen to a band.

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