Facts

William ShakespeareIn all of his works - the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems - Shakespeare uses 17,677 words: Of those, over 1,700 were first record in print by Shakespeare. Most of these words may have existed in languages like French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin for hundreds or thousands of years. Shakespeare took these words and made them sound more English and added them into the written English language. Borrowing or adopting a word or a phrase from another language, is known as neologizing. Well we cannot say for certain that Shakespeare invented these words (since the oral use is unrecorded), according to the Oxford English Dictionary we can say this is the first recorded written usage of these words.

 

Here is a list of words that we use in our daily speech that were brought into usage by Shakespeare:

  • abstemious
  • academe
  • accommodation
  • accused
  • addiction
  • admirable
  • advertising
  • aerial
  • alligator

  • amazement
  • anchovy
  • apostrophe
  • arch-villain
  • to arouse
  • assassination
  • auspicious
  • bachelorship
  • backing
  • bandit
  • barefaced
  • baseless
  • beached
  • bedazzled
  • bedroom
  • belongings
  • to besmirch
  • birthplace
  • to blanket
  • bloodstained
  • blusterer
  • bold-faced
  • bottled
  • bump
  • buzzer
  • to cake
  • to castigate
  • to cater
  • clangor
  • to champion
  • circumstantial
  • cold-blooded
  • coldhearted
  • compact
  • to comply
  • to compromise
  • to cow
  • consanguineous
  • control
  • countless
  • courtship
  • critic
  • critical
  • cruelhearted
  • Dalmatians
  • dauntless
  • dawn
  • day's work
  • deafening
  • to denote
  • depository
  • discontent
  • design
  • dexterously
  • dialogue
  • disgraceful
  • dishearten
  • to dislocate
  • distasteful
  • distracted
  • divest
  • domineering
  • downstairs
  • droplet
  • to drug
  • to dwindle
  • to educate
  • to elbow
  • embrace
  • employer
  • employment
  • engagement
  • to enmesh
  • to ensnare
  • enrapt
  • enthroned
  • epileptic
  • equivocal
  • eventful
  • excitement
  • expedience
  • exposure
  • eyeball
  • eyedrops
  • eyesore
  • fanged
  • farmhouse
  • far-off
  • fashionable
  • fathomless
  • fitful
  • fixture
  • flawed
  • flowery
  • foppish
  • fortune-teller
  • to forward
  • foul-mouthed
  • freezing
  • frugal
  • full-grown
  • gallantry
  • generous
  • gloomy
  • glow
  • gnarled
  • go-between
  • to gossip
  • gust
  • half-blooded
  • hint
  • hob-nails
  • hobnob
  • homely
  • honey-tongued
  • hoodwinked
  • hostile
  • hot-blooded
  • housekeeping
  • howl
  • to humor
  • hunchbacked
  • to hurry
  • ill-tempered
  • immediacy
  • impartial
  • to impede
  • import
  • immediacy
  • importantly
  • inaudible
  • inauspicious
  • indistinguishable
  • inducement
  • investment
  • invitation
  • invulnerable
  • jaded
  • Judgement Day
  • juiced
  • kissing
  • lackluster
  • ladybird
  • to lament
  • to lapse
  • to launder
  • laughable
  • leaky
  • leapfrog
  • lonely
  • long-legged
  • love letter
  • to lower
  • luggage
  • lustrous
  • madcap
  • majestic
  • majestically
  • malignancy
  • manager
  • marketable
  • militarist
  • mimic
  • misgiving
  • misplaced
  • to misquote
  • money's worth
  • monumental
  • moonbeam
  • mortifying
  • motionless
  • mountaineer
  • multitudinous
  • neglect
  • to negotiate
  • new-fallen
  • new-fangled
  • nimble-footed
  • noiseless
  • to numb
  • obscene
  • obsequiously
  • outbreak
  • to outdare
  • to outgrow
  • to outweigh
  • over-cool
  • overgrowth
  • over-ripened
  • over-weathered
  • overview
  • pageantry
  • pale-faced
  • to pander
  • pedant
  • perplex
  • perusal
  • to petition
  • pious
  • posture
  • premeditated
  • priceless
  • Promethean
  • protester
  • published
  • puking
  • puppy-dog
  • on purpose
  • quarrelsome
  • questing
  • in question
  • radiance
  • to rant
  • rancorous
  • raw-boned
  • reclusive
  • reinforcement
  • reliance
  • remorseless
  • reprieve
  • resolve
  • restoration
  • restraint
  • retirement
  • revolting
  • to rival
  • rival
  • roadway
  • rumination
  • sacrificial
  • sanctimonious
  • satisfying
  • savage
  • savagery
  • schoolboy
  • scrubbed
  • scuffle
  • seamy-side
  • to secure
  • shipwrecked
  • shooting star
  • shudder
  • silk
  • stocking
  • silliness
  • skim milk
  • to sneak
  • soft-hearted
  • spectacled
  • splitting
  • sportive
  • to squabble
  • stealthy
  • stillborn
  • to submerge
  • successful
  • suffocating
  • to sully
  • superscript
  • to supervise
  • to swagger
  • tardily
  • tardiness
  • threateningly
  • tightly
  • time-honored
  • title page
  • to torture
  • traditional
  • tranquil
  • transcendence
  • tongue-tied
  • unaccommodated
  • unaware
  • to unclog
  • unappeased
  • unchanging
  • unclaimed
  • uncomfortable
  • to uncurl
  • to undervalue
  • to undress
  • unearthly
  • uneducated
  • ungoverned
  • to unhand
  • unmitigated
  • unpublished
  • unreal
  • unsolicited
  • unswayed
  • unwillingness
  • upstairs
  • urging
  • useful
  • varied
  • vastly
  • viewless
  • vulnerable
  • watchdog
  • well-behaved
  • well-bred
  • well-read
  • whirligig
  • to widen
  • widowed
  • worn out
  • worthless
  • yelping
  • zany

Shakespeare also put common words together to make up phrases new to the English language. Many of these are still commonly used today:

  • all that glitters isn't gold
  • barefaced
  • be all and end all
  • break the ice
  • breathe one's last
  • brevity is the soul of wit
  • catch a cold
  • clothes make the man
  • disgraceful conduct
  • dog will have his day
  • eat out of house and home
  • elbowroom
  • fair play
  • fancy-free
  • flaming youth
  • foregone conclusion
  • frailty, thy name is woman
  • give the devil his due
  • green eyed monster
  • heart of gold
  • heartsick
  • hot-blooded
  • housekeeping
  • it smells to heaven
  • it's Greek to me
  • lackluster
  • leapfrog
  • live long day
  • long-haired
  • method in his madness
  • mind's eye
  • ministering angel
  • more sinned against than sinning
  • naked truth
  • neither a borrower nor a lender be
  • one fell swoop
  • pitched battle
  • primrose path
  • strange bedfellows
  • the course of true love never did run smooth
  • the lady doth protest too much
  • the milk of human kindness
  • to thine own self be true
  • too much of a good thing
  • towering passion
  • wear one's heart on one's sleeve
  • witching time of the night

 

Of the 17k+ words Shakespeare used, over 1700 are recorded there for the first time.

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