Take Shakespeare: he invented words. The Whole Bushel. For years, Shakespeare has been thought to deploy greater linguistic variety than contemporaries like Marlowe, Kyd, and Jonson; scholars have estimated that he coined as many as 1,700 words… Compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant. Shakespeare invented more words than most people even know. Shakespeare invented words by adding prefixes and suffixes to existing words, conjoining two words, changing verbs into adjectives and noun into verbs. Should one count the words Shakespeare used as verbs when they had only previously been used as nouns? Shakespeare invented, or at least, wrote down a lot of words and phrases that are still used today. Dishearten. “It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that, upon … What’s done is done.”, According to Dictionary.com, today “what’s done is done” means, “There is no changing something; it’s finished or final.”, “Or Shall I bend low, and in a bondman’s key,With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness,Say this…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “with bated breath” means, “In a nervous and excited state anticipating what will happen.”, “Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight (zany,)Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “zany” is defined as, “A slavish follower : toady.”. Words which, as far as we know, were invented by Shakespeare and remain in use today include the following: bandit (Henry VI, Part 2), critic (Love's Labour's Lost), fashionable (Troilus and Cressida), manager (Love's Labour's Lost), rant (Hamlet), and worthless (The Two Gentlemen of Verona). Imagine it is the year 1601, and you are employed by the Oxford Player’s Theatre Company to write plays. The Shakespearean vocabulary is exceptionally large, comprising over 20,000 words. https://academichelp.net/blog/the-words-shakespeare-invented.html 4,000 The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Shakespeare words” each month. 3,000 The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Words Shakespeare invented” each month. Want to know all about the words Shakespeare invented?We’ve got you covered. They created vocabulary by reimagining foreign phrases, adding new prefixes or suffixes to existing words, or combining parts of words from foreign languages. from Oxford University Ph.D. from St. Andrews University, Top subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics. It was used in “All’s Well That Ends Well” – … Definition: Bad in a way that seems foolish or silly. As nail in door. However, there are as many as 400 words which Shakespeare may have invented himself. In order to answer the question—How many words did Shakespeare invent?—we’ll first need to define our terms. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/william-shakespeare-400th-anniversary-60-everyday-words-and-phrases-you-never-knew-came-from-the-a6975111.html, http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordscoined.html, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/sep/06/shakespeare-language-not-original-david-mcinnis-claim-oed-bias, https://public.oed.com/history/rewriting-the-oed/. How many words? It appears in a list of words in Richard Mulcaster’s Elementarie, in 1582 (sandwiched between hurlebat and hurt), and also may be found in numerous other works before Shakespeare used it. Who’s there? Sign up now, Latest answer posted January 16, 2016 at 12:15:46 PM, Latest answer posted June 23, 2015 at 2:14:11 PM, Latest answer posted October 29, 2018 at 9:44:41 AM, Latest answer posted April 08, 2009 at 12:03:29 AM, Latest answer posted January 13, 2010 at 10:54:24 PM. ‘Knock knock! eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. If so, does the context matter (within a foreign phrase, for instance)? But he didn’t stop with words; he also invented names, some of which have become surprisingly common.… In all of his works – the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems – Shakespeare uses 17,677 different words. Draw the curtains, go.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “good riddance” is an idiom, “—Used to say that one is glad that someone is leaving or that something has gone.”, “Why the hot-blooded France, that dowerless tookOur youngest born…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “hot-blooded” is defined as, “Easily excited : passionate.”, “…They’ll not show their teeth in way of smileThough Nestor swear the jest be laughable.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “laughable” is defined as, “Of a kind to provoke laughter or sometimes derision : amusingly ridiculous.”, “If he could right himself with quarrelling,Some of us would lie low.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “lie low” means, “To bide one’s time : remain secretly ready for action.”, “…Like to a lonely dragon that his fenMakes feared and talked of more than seen…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “lonely” is defined as, “Being without company : lone.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “manager” is defined as, “A person who conducts business or household affairs.”, “Let every eye negotiate for itselfAnd trust no agent, for beauty is a witch…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “negotiate” is defined as, “To confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter.”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “neither here nor there” means, “Irrelevant or unimportant; having no bearing upon the current situation.”, “At Christmas I no more desire a roseThan wish a snow in May’s new-fangled shows,But like of each thing that in season grows.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “newfangled” is defined as, “Of the newest style or kind.”, “O gracious lady,Since I received command to do this businessI have not slept one wink.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “sleep a wink” is defined as, “To sleep for even a very brief time —used in negative statements.”, “…I did encounter thatobscene and most prepost’rous event that drawethfrom my snow-white pen the ebon-colored ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “obscene” is defined as, “Disgusting to the senses : repulsive.”, “What, all my pretty chickens and their damAt one fell swoop?”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “in/at one fell swoop” is defined as, “With a single, quick action or effort.”, “At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today to “puke” means to “vomit.”, “Nay, an thou ’lt mouth,I’ll rant as well as thou.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “rant” is defined as, “To talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner.”, “My salad days,When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “salad days” mean, “Time of youthful inexperience or indiscretion.”, “His captain’s heart,Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burstThe buckles on his breast…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “scuffle” is defined as, “To struggle at close quarters with disorder and confusion.”, According to Dictionary.com, today “send packing” means, “Send someone about his or her business.”, “And’t please your Majesty, a Rascall that swagger’d with me last night…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “swagger” is defined as, “To conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner, especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence.”, For she had a tongue with a tang,Would cry to a sailor, “Go hang!”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “tang” is defined as, “A sharp distinctive often lingering flavor.”, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “method to one’s madness” means, “Good reasons for one’s actions even though they may seem foolish or strange.”, “Why, then the world’s mine oyster,Which I with sword will open.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “the world is someone’s oyster” means, “Someone’s life is good and he or she has the ability to do whatever he or she wants to do. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. We know this because many words never appeared before his writing. Within his body of work, at least 40 plays and 154 sonnets, he created a number of terms like “mered,” “rigol,” and “relume,” words that never quite gained traction. In many cases, scholars do not know if Shakespeare actually invented these phrases or if they were already in use during his lifetime. Does it count to introduce a foreign word into English? Estimates of the number of words Shakespeare invented vary from over 1,700 to about 400. The number of words and phrases invented by playwright William Shakespeare. How Shakespeare invented words. Scholars and the OED have cited Shakespeare as the originator of more than 1600 words. The public, hungry – starving really – for entertainment demands that new plays be presented on a frightening regular basis. It’s still going on all the time. His plays are the earliest quotation of these words and that is why we credit Shakespeare the introduction of this new vocabulary. Some words stayed and some didn't. Words Shakespeare Invented The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. Your job is made harder by the fact that you are usually writing your plays in verse – iambic pentameter, t… No one before Shakespeare has ever played so much with words. Shakespeare used more than 20,000 words in his plays and poems, and likely invented or introduced at least 1,700 words into the English language. Sources from William Shakespeare's lifetime … There's at least 1,500 different words and phrases that don't appear anywhere prior to the Bard of Avon putting them on paper. The Guardian quotes Shakespeare lecturer Dr. David McInnis: “The OED [Oxford English Dictionary], which saw its original volumes published between 1884 and 1928, includes more than 33,000 Shakespeare quotations…with around 1,500 of those ‘the first evidence of a word’s existence in English’, and around 7,500 ‘the first evidence of a particular usage of meaning’.” Although McInnis believes these numbers are overstated thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary’s bias towards traditional literature, it’s undeniable that Shakespeare recorded a bloom of new vocabulary. At the time he began working, in the 1580’s, Early Modern English differed from the English that we use today. “…Every man put himself into triumph; some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptial.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “addiction” is defined as, “A compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted.”, “The King’s a bawcock, and a heart of gold, A lad of life, an imp of Fame, Of parents good, of fist most valiant.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “heart of gold” means, “A kind and generous disposition.”, “I pray, sir, tell me, is it possibleThat love should of a sudden take such hold?”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “all of a sudden” means, “Sooner than was expected : at once.”, “You that way and you this, but two in company;Each man apart, all single and alone,Yet an arch-villain keeps him company.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today archvillain is defined as, “A principal or extreme villain.”, “These things, indeed, you have articulate,Proclaim’d at market-crosses, read in churches…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “articulate” is defined as, “Expressing oneself readily, clearly, and effectively.”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “a sorry sight” means, “Someone or something that has a piteous, woeful, or wretched appearance.”, “If th’ assassinationCould trammel up the consequence and catchWith his surcease success, that but this blowMight be the be-all and the end-all here…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “assassination” is defined as, “Murder by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons : the act or an instance of assassinating someone (such as a prominent political leader).”, “Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, Iam done, for thou hast more of the wild goose inone of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “a wild-goose chase” means, “A complicated or lengthy and usually fruitless pursuit or search.”, “Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes,That have been so bedazzled with the sunThat everything I look on blurs and softens…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “bedazzled” is defined as, “To confuse by a strong light.”, “Why dost not comfort me and help me outFrom this unhallowed and bloodstainèd hole?”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “bloodstained” is defined as, “Involved with slaughter.”, “It will be a cold house, Curtis, because our mistressis a block of ice, and if thou layest not a fire her chillwill freeze us all! Compiling a definitive list of every word that Shakespeare ever invented is impossible. That doesn’t mean that all 1,700 were invented by Shakespeare: he was just the first person we know of to use them in print. Are you a teacher? Of course, history has remembered many of the unusual neologisms that achieved popularity during that time. “, “Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?”, According to Dictionary.com, today “too much of a good thing” means, “Too large an amount of a beneficial or useful thing or activity can be harmful or excessive.”, “Uncomfortable time, why cam’st thou nowTo murder, murder our solemnity?”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “uncomfortable” is defined as, “Causing discomfort or annoyance.”, “Hence, horrible shadow! The Shakespearean vocabulary is exceptionally large, comprising over 20,000 words. I received a BA with honors in Literary Arts (Playwriting)—which gave me the opportunity to study under Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel. Words Shakespeare Invented | But Shakespeare Invented a Lot of New Words. How Many Words Did Shakespeare Invent? Origin: Derived from the verb "laugh." Should we count words invented and then forgotten? Unreal mock’ry, hence!”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “unreal” is defined as, “Lacking in reality, substance, or genuineness.”, “Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I’ll away: go; vanish into air; away!”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “vanish into thin air” is defined as, “To disappear completely in a way that is mysterious.”, “Things without all remedyShould be without regard. The Complete List of Words Shakespeare Invented. In the first place, there is some controversy about what it means to invent a word. Shakespeare didn’t just have a way with words; he had a way with inventing words. Many of these new words can be attributed to other writers of the time. In my previous roles as new media producer with Rosetta Stone, director of marketing for global ventures with The Juilliard School, and vice president of digital strategy with Up & Coming Media, I helped develop the voice for international brands. Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team. – Romeo and Juliet. Already a member? We can trace a lot of the words that Shakespeare invented. And he did it in a most creative way. Leading on from my previous post on Italian expressions , I started thinking about the … His agile arm beats down their fatal points. Across all of his written works, it’s estimated that words invented by Shakespeare number as many as 1,700. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original. The Oxford English Dictionary lists more than 1,700 words which appear for the first time in Shakespeare’s writing. According to Merriam-Webster, today “dead as a doornail” is an idiom, “—Used to stress that someone or something is dead.”, “O worthy Goth, this is the incarnate devilThat robbed Andronicus of his good hand…”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “devil incarnate” is defined as, “Someone who is utterly despicable or evil, i.e., the devil in human form.”, “…No man should possesse him with any appearance of feare; least hee, by shewing it, should dis-hearten his Army”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “dishearten” is defined as, “To cause to lose hope, enthusiasm, or courage : to cause to lose spirit or morale.”, “He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put allsubstance into that fat belly of his.”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “eaten out of house and home” means, “To eat everything that someone has in the house.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “epileptic” is defined as, “Relating to, affected with, or having the characteristics of epilepsy.”, “Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “eventful” is defined as “momentous.”, “But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaftQuenched in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon,And the imperial vot’ress passèd onIn maiden meditation, fancy-free.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “fancy free” is defined as, “Free from amorous attachment or engagement.”, “Fashionable” – Troilus and Cressida“…For Time is like a fashionable hostThat slightly shakes his parting guest by th’ handAnd, with his arms outstretched as he would fly,Grasps in the comer.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “fashionable” is defined as, “Conforming to the custom, fashion, or established mode.”, “But this eternal blazon must not beTo ears of flesh and blood.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “flesh and blood” means, “Near kindred —used chiefly in the phrase one’s own flesh and blood.”, “But this denoted a foregone conclusion: ’Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “foregone conclusion” is defined as, “A conclusion that has preceded argument or examination.”, “When vice makes mercy, mercy’s so extendedThat for the fault’s love is th’ offender friended.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “friended” is defined as, “To include (someone) in a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking site.”, “The wheel is come full circle; I am here.”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “full circle” means, “Through a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation or to a complete reversal of the original position —usually used in the phrase come full circle.”, “Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall havehis bargain; for he was never yet a breaker ofproverbs: he will give the devil his due.”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “give the devil his due” means, “To acknowledge the good in someone who is otherwise regarded unfavorably.”, “A gentle riddance! Falstaff. One of the many pieces of popular lore attributed to Shakespeare (and there are a lot) is that he invented up to 1,700 of the words we use today. It is needless to say that Shakespeare genius is unparalleled. Addiction: Othello, Act II, Scene II. Should we count words invented and then forgotten? This variation comes about because of controversies over what it means to "invent" a word and because it is not always clear whether Shakespeare took the word from a source which has not been discovered. No one can be sure. We owe quite a bit of our everyday language to Shakespeare- he’s responsible for “eyeball,” “addiction,” “bedazzled,” “swagger,” “assassination,” and many, many others. Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and five poetry collections, writing a total of 17,677 unique words. The 452nd anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth is coming. It is impossible to know exactly how many of these words Shakespeare invented, for two main reasons. What are the figures of speech in Sonnet 29? Within his body of work, at least 40 plays and 154 sonnets, he created a number of terms like “mered,” “rigol,” and “relume,” words that never quite gained traction. We probably don't spell Shakespeare's name correctly. He did this by combining words, changing nouns into verbs, adding prefixes or suffixes, and so on. It is impossible to know exactly how many of these words Shakespeare invented, for two main reasons. The OED has undertaken research of its own, posing the question, “Did the great authors such as Shakespeare and Chaucer really invent as many new words as they are given credit for, or does new information now show that many of these words have earlier, popular, origins?” Whether he invented or repurposed novel language, Shakespeare wrote during a time period that saw the introduction of a great number of words and phrases into the English lexicon. So why did Shakespeare have to make up hundreds of new words? After earning a perfect score on the Writing SAT, I worked my way through Brown University by moonlighting as a Kaplan Test Prep tutor. Increasingly efficient search technologies mean that the number of words Shakespeare is believed to have invented declines each year as earlier sources are found. Interestingly, William Shakespeare invented the word “hurry.” —Jeff Napier, Trivia Almanac 2015, 2015. From my home office in Maui, Hawaii, I currently work on freelance and ghostwriting projects. … What are the differences and similarities between the Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets, in a Venn diagram. Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now. William Shakespeare wrote some of the most iconic plays and poetry in the history of Western literature. But creating a list of the words that Shakespeare almost certainly invented can be done. The Oxforfd English Dictionary (OED) contains a list of more than 2000 words and idioms that were first attested between 1590 and 1610 and can all be recovered in Shakespeare´ s works. As … I’m an award-winning playwright with a penchant for wordplay. M.A. (1) The word list will be a disappointment to those who like to credit Shakespeare with a wide variety of "new" words that remain in common modern use. Shakespeare’s writing was, of course, brilliant because he is one of the most famous writers to have ever lived. While he was the first to write down many words, new research fueled … He is not only known as a timeless playwright, but also as a prolific inventor of words. Estimates of the number of words invented by Shakespeare, therefore, vary widely from over 1,700 at the upper end of the scale to about 400 at the lower, which is still a colossal number for a single writer. He also managed to introduce a large number of new words and phrases into the English language. What, is the old king dead?Pistol. The reality is, the bard's contribution to the English language is much more significant when it comes to phrases and expressions, rather than to "words". Find out why William Shakespeare is credited with adding 1700 words and phrases to the English language, and which of his creations made our top 10 list. Perhaps a more serious objection is that we do not have access to all Shakespeare's sources. In fact, it is almost impossible to identify when a word or phrase was first used, but Shakespeare’s plays often provide the earliest citation. The Complete List of Words Shakespeare Invented. Log in here.
Other times, despite his proclivity for making compound words, Shakespeare reached into his vast Latin vocabulary for loanwords. In order to answer the question—How many words did Shakespeare invent?—we’ll first need to define our terms. This means you are always stressed by the demands of creating quality dramas and comedies. My, what a perfectly round number! In which play by Shakespeare can I find this quote, "When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew"?. Compiling a definitive list of every word that Shakespeare ever invented is impossible. Furthermore, increasingly efficient search technologies cause the number of original coinages attributed to Shakespeare to decline with each passing year as earlier attributions are discovered. Who are the experts?Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions. Knock knock! It is likely that some words we accept as Shakespearean coinages were taken from a source of which there is no extant copy. The things I speak are just. The language contained many fewer words and not enough for a literary genius like Shakespeare. On the other hand, some of his inventions, such as “friended” and “swagger,” have never been more popular than they are today! and therefore fire: do thy duty andleave gossip till I thaw!”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “break the ice” means, “To get through the first difficulties in starting a conversation or discussion.”, “Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “cadent” is defined as, “Having rhythmic cadence.”, “We will have these things set down by lawful counsel,and straight away for Britain, lest the bargainshould catch cold and starve.”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “catch a cold” means, “To become ill with the common cold.”, “Come what come may,Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”, According to The Free Dictionary, today “come what may” means, “No matter what happens.”. Explore 40 common words and phrases Shakespeare invented. Laughable. In his 20 year career, Shakespeare wrote close to 1 million words, 17,677 different words, and 1,705 new words. The vocabulary of that period was rapidly expanding, and many writers and philosophers of the time coined new words and expressions. But creating a list of the words that Shakespeare almost certainly invented can be done. Around 10 percent of the words he used were entirely of his own invention. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Many of which we still use today. According to King Henry V, no one should show fear as it could ‘dishearten’ his army. agile: able to move quickly or easily. Below, we’ve included some of the unique words and phrases often attributed to “The Bard of Avon,” their original context within Shakespeare’s work, and their modern definitions. What were the main beliefs and values of Shakespeare's time? For starters, English was smaller in Shakespeare’s time. No, Shakespeare did not invent the word hurry.