William, a Benedictine monk of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England (died ca. 1142), was one of the best-read men of his time. His writings (which include two major histories of England, lives of two English saints, a commentary on the Book of Lamentations, and a collection of miracles of the Virgin Mary) deploy a vast array of words, some highly unusual, and many employed in unusual ways. This article lists a representative selection, discussing where William found them and what he made them mean. It paints the picture of an author in love with the art of writing Latin, ever experimenting in metaphor and seeking out new and vivid ways to make his style more striking, a master of sensuous and vigorous expression.
William of Malmesbury; Anglo-Latin; Latin prose style; Latin lexicography.