Shakespeare. Hardly a person–English speaker or not–would not recognize the name. The English language’s most famous playwright was more than just an incredible story teller: he was also a language lover who created numerous English idioms and even words. According to No Sweat Shakespeare, an online forum dedicated to the famous author, “in all of Shakespeare’s work – the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems – Shakespeare uses 17,677 words: Of those words, Shakespeare invented an incredible 1,700 of them!”
Do you think that you “speak” Shakespeare? You do if you know any of the following ten words: all were created by Mr. Shakespeare and first appeared in the play that is listed under the word.
Ten words we owe to Shakespeare
Othello, Act II, Scene II
Timon of Athens, Act V, Scene I
Macbeth, Act I, Scene VII
The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Scene V
Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene I
King John, Act III, Scene I
Henry V, Act IV, Scene I
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
The Tempest, Act I, Scene II
Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene III
Have you ever seen a live Shakespeare play? To see a performance, many travel to London to see a play in the reconstructed Globe Theatre (the original burned down in 1613). If you are not planning a trip to London soon, not to worry: San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park has performances throughout the summer and fall months. Check out the Old Globe website to view performance dates and book tickets!
Are you interested in learning more about Shakespeare’s contributions to the English language? Check out PathGuy, a blog with a great list of idioms that Shakespeare coined. (“To coin” an idiom means “to create or invent” an idiom.) For a great list of words that Shakespeare created, check out No Sweat Shakespeare’s comprehensive list.