Many ignore the natural endowment that Shakespeare had for the English language, and it comes as a surprise when people find out the long list of words Shakespeare invented. Still, this English writer left as a legacy to the world an abundant amount of words that we still use today. Keep reading below to find out just how big Shakespeare’s presence in our language truly is.
William Shakespeare’s talent with words
William Shakespeare was a renowned writer, with a long and fruitful trajectory, and a constant search to innovate English literature. But, independently of his personal inclinations, historians have agreed that the circumstance that propelled Shakespeare to the creation of words was an English movement in literature, that was looking to introduce prose into plays, that previously were written mostly in rhyming verse.
It’s a fact that Shakespeare had a talent for languages, but that is a rare talent. Sadly, UK’s educational system doesn’t seem to notice that and have standardised assignments that won’t fit all student. Sometimes I need some assistance that help me write my dissertation online, and in those cases, I prefer to pay for a writing service that do my dissertation and essays for me. These services can be lifesavers, and some of them are quite cheap.
Shakespearean words most used in today’s world
Shakespeare created a little more than 400 words, many believe that there are even thousands. Here is a list of some of the most used in our days.
- Assassination. Yes, this very common word is an invention of Shakespeare that has found a big place in our vocabulary. Shakespeare uses it in Macbeth (1623), as a way to make reference to a murder. Today is still used with this connotation.
- Baseless. It is used to describe something – a fact, person, idea, accusation, etc.- that has no foundation nor justification.
- Bedazzled. This one of the jazziest words Shakespeare invented and its purpose is to describe a gleam of sunlight. Today it is used on fashion to refer to sparkling clothes.
- Castigate. Shakespeare’s tales are usually tragedies, hence many of his invented words have dark meanings, this is an example of it. It was used to describe harsh physical punishments, but today is also used for less severe penalties.
- Cold-blooded. Before the 17th century, the use of this word was limited to reptiles, which indeed have cold blood. But Shakespeare used it to describe a person emotionally cold. It is commonly used to depict murderers and villains.
- Fashionable. Shakespeare had a thing for aesthetics, so it’s not too suprising that “fashionable” is one of his made-up words used in reference to someone who looked good and dashing. Today is also used to describe clothes and accessories.
- Multitudinous. A frequently used word and a synonym of “a lot”, so it is used to describe something that is abundant or in number.
- Swagger. This is a word used in Henry V (1599), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595) and King Lear (1605-1606) to refer to someone that brags and is usually insolent. We owe Shakespeare today’s expression “to have swag”.
You always have the option to pay for your dissertation, but if you choose to write your own papers and essays, you might be interested in expanding your vocabulary, and Shakespeare is a great author to start with.
Phrases you won’t believe Shakespeare invented
Besides Shakespearean words, you can also find “Shakespearean phrases”. Yes, he went a little further in order to create phrases and expressions that have survived until our days. Here are some of the most popular.
- “All that glitters isn’t gold“, a very common phrase used as a metaphor to explain that just because something looks valuable, it doesn’t mean it is.
- “Break the ice“, used to refer to the first interaction with someone you don’t know well, where you find common ground in conversation.
- “Fair play“, in reference to something done following the rules and without cheating.
- “Green-eyed monster” refers to jealousy and envy, and the metaphor is that this monster takes over people sometimes.
- To be “In a pickle” is to be in trouble or a hard situation. It as a hussy connotation and it´s usually used to describe problems that aren’t too big.
- “It’s Greek to me“. It’s an admission of ignorance regarding a subject or matter.
- “Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve“, referring to someone who his very romantic and amorous.
It is amazing how these made-up words and phrases have transcended centuries, and are still valid in today’s English. Without a doubt, they give you a wider perspective of William Shakespeare’s genius.
The surface of the pond was green with fallen leaves. How could you have been happy there? I know what you thought, but Valentine was a terrible father. He killed your pets, lied to you, and I know he hit you- don’t even try to pretend he didn’t. A flicker of a smile ghosted across Jace’s face. Only on alternate Thursdays. ― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones