History vocabulary for ESL students- The Middle Ages

Level: Intermediate

Topic: General

Grammar Topic: Vocabulary

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Type: Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan Text

History Vocabulary for ESL Students- The Middle Ages

Find one word in each section below which is not relevant to the topic of the Middle Ages in 
Europe, e.g. things that didn’t exist at that time. 

Iron bridge

Castle

Dungeon

Gothic cathedral

Hut

Walled town

Drawbridge (a bridge that goes up and down)

Moat (like a canal all around a castle)

Tapestry

Thatched roof (=a roof made of straw)

Jousting/ tilting (fighting on horseback with long sticks)

Falconry (hunting with birds)

Tennis

Football

Darts

Skating

Marbles

Bear baiting

Dog fighting

Skittles (similar to ten pin bowling)

Wrestling

The Crusades

Chivalry

Chain mail (armour made from linked metal hoops)

Mine

Bow and arrow

Cavalry

Cannon

Siege engine

Rifle

Mercenary

Apothecary (similar to a modern pharmacist)

Blacksmith

Tinker

Troubadour

Guild

Minstrel

Apprentice

Serfs

Accountant

Eunuch

Merchant 

Baron

Landed gentry

Tenant farmer

Carpenter

Mason

Bricklayer

Glassblower

Rat catcher 

Potter

Chastity belt

Dowry

Veil

Bra burning

Monastery

Excommunicate

Pilgrimage

Evangelical Christians

The Inquisition 

Nun

Astrology

The Black Death (= bubonic plague)

Leech

Humours

Antibiotics

Herbal cure

Mead (a kind of wine made from honey)

Potatoes

(Wild) boar

Black pudding (= blood sausage)

Rabbit 

Fasting

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2009

Poll tax

Salt tax

Cheques 

Banks

Government monopolies

Tax farmer

Palanquin

Steam engine

Horse and cart

Inn

Toll gate

Sailing ship

Torture

The rack

The ducking chair

Ordeals

Witch trials

Poaching

Branding

Corporal punishment

Mutilation 

The electric chair

Lute 

Passion plays (religious drama)

Dancing bears

Trumpet

Piano

Flute

Match the sections above with the categories below:

War
Transport
Law and order and crimes
Food and drink
Health and disease
Religion
Women and marriage
Professions, trades and social classes
Buildings and architecture
Music and entertainment
The economy
Sports and games

Choose one of the categories and discuss which things in that section were also relevant to the 
Middle Ages in your country or another country you know about outside Western Europe.

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2009

History Vocabulary for ESL Students- The Middle Ages

Answer key

The words in bold are the odd words out that aren’t connected to the Middle Ages and the 
underlined parts are the names of the categories underneath

Buildings and architecture
Iron bridge

Castle

Dungeon

Gothic cathedral

Hut

Walled town

Drawbridge

Moat

Tapestry

Thatched roof

Sports and games
Jousting/ tilting

Falconry

Tennis

Football

Darts

Skating

Marbles

Bear baiting

Dog fighting

Skittles

Wrestling

War
The Crusades

Chivalry

Chain mail

Mine

Bow and arrow

Cavalry

Cannon

Siege engine

Rifle

Mercenary

Professions, trades and social classes
Apothecary

Blacksmith

Tinker

Troubadour

Guild

Minstrel

Apprentice

Serfs

Accountant

Eunuch

Merchant 

Lord

Landed gentry

Tenant farmer

Carpenter

Mason

Bricklayer

Glassblower

Rat catcher 

Potter

Women and marriage
Chastity belt

Dowry

Veil

Bra burning

Religion
Monastery

Excommunicate

Pilgrimage

Evangelical Christians

The Inquisition 

Nun

Astrology

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2009

Health and disease
The Black Death (= bubonic plague)

Leech

Humours

Antibiotics

Herbal cure

Food and drink
Mead

Potatoes

(Wild) boar

Black pudding

Rabbit 

Fasting

The economy
Poll tax

Salt tax

Cheques 

Banks

Government monopolies

Tax farmer

Transport
Palanquin

Steam engine

Horse and cart

Inn

Toll gate

Sailing ship

Law and order and crimes
Torture

The rack

The ducking chair

Ordeals

Witch trials

Poaching

Branding

Corporal punishment

Mutilation 

The electric chair

Music and entertainment
Lute 

Passion plays

Dancing bears

Trumpet

Piano

Flute

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2009