Good writers are always seeking to improve their vocabulary. This week’s word comes from E R Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros – a book written in a quasi-medieval style.

Kemperie-man, ». A warrior.

Source: Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English.

Compare ‘kemp’:

kemp 1 /kɛmp/

1. British Dialect .
a. a strong, brave warrior.
b. an athlete, especially a champion.
c. a professional fighter.
d. an impetuous or roguish young man.

2. Scot. and North England . a contest, as between two athletes or two groups of workers, especially a reaping contest between farmworkers.

–verb (used without object)
3. Scot. and North England . to contest, fight, or strive, especially to strive in a reaping contest.

before 900; Middle English kempe, Old English cempa; cognate with Old Frisian kempa, kampa, Middle Dutch, Middle Low German kemp ( e ), Old High German chemp ( i ) o; ultimately < West Germanic, perhaps through Latin campiō; see champion


“What be these that maintain so bloody an advantage upon my kemperie-men?”

Source: The Worm Ouroboros by E R Eddison.