The Oxford English Dictionary is a wonderful resource for finding out what words used to mean, as well as the full range of meanings in our own usage. Using this dictionary, which cites examples of usage from the beginnings of modern English until now, you can chart the interesting shifts in the meanings of English words over the centuries. Any reader of Renaissance texts encounters words that either are unfamiliar or that meant something different then than they do now, or have multiple layers of connotations.
The OED is available both in book and on-line or electronic form. The book is available in the Van Pelt Reference section. The on-line OED is accessible through the link below (or through either the library's menu or the English Web Page).
This exercise will introduce you to searching for words on the OED,and give you some sense of the richness of any given word. Your exercise will be evaluated for your grade, on the basis of its thoroughness and thoughtfulness.
LI>Dial-in to the OED. [Connect to online OED.]