20 words and phrases you didn’t know Shakespeare invented
William Shakespeare was an incredible writer and poet, but did you know he also single-handedly added more than 1,700 words to the English language?
Shakespeare's use of language was unmatched 450 years ago with his sonnets and plays frequently debuting new English words he created. It didn’t take long for these terms to be adopted into the language and many of them are still in use today.
Here are 20 words and phrases you didn’t know Shakespeare invented — next time you use them, know you’re following in the footsteps of a true linguistic legend.
While the concept of addiction has been around for centuries, the word "addiction" itself didn't exist until Shakespeare coined it in his play, Othello.
2. All the world's a stage
It means that life is like a performance, and that we all play different role and was spoken by Jacques in As You Like.
Shakespeare uses the word "bedazzled" to describe someone who is overwhelmed by something that is sparkling or shining in his play, The Taming of the Shrew.
4. Brave new world
This phrase is often used to suggest a sense of wonder and amazement at the possibilities of the future and was spoken by the character Miranda in The Tempest.
Although the concept of a critic had existed for centuries, the word "critic" wasn't used in its modern sense until Shakespeare used it in his play, Love's Labour's Lost.
In As You Like It, Shakespeare coined the word "eventful" to describe something that is full of events or occurrences.
While the concept of an eyeball had obviously existed for centuries, Shakespeare was the first to use the word "eyeball" in his play, The Tempest.
Shakespeare used the word "generous" in its modern sense to describe someone who is kind and giving in his play, Julius Caesar.
9. Good riddance
The phrase "good riddance" is frequently used to suggest relief at the departure of someone or something unpleasant. It is spoken in Troilus and Cressida.
10. In a pickle
This phrase is used to suggest being in a difficult or uncomfortable situation. The Tempest: This phrase is spoken by the character Alonso in Act V, Scene I.
11. It's Greek to me
Used to suggest a lack of understanding or confusion about something, this phrase is spoken by the character Casca in Julius Caesar.
Although the concept of loneliness had existed for centuries, Shakespeare was the first to use the word "lonely" in his play, Coriolanus.
Shakespeare used the word "majestic" to describe something that is grand and impressive in his play, Henry VIII.
The word "manager" had been used in other languages before Shakespeare's time, but he was the first to use it in English in his play, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Shakespeare used the word "radiance" to describe something that is shining or glowing in his play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
16. Star-crossed lovers
This saying describes two people who are destined to be together despite the obstacles in their way and was first used in Romeo and Juliet in the Prologue.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare used the word "swagger" to describe someone who walks with an arrogant or pompous attitude.
In The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare used the word "undress" to describe the act of removing clothing.
19. Wild-goose chase
This one is used to describe a pointless or fruitless pursuit. Romeo and Juliet: This phrase is spoken by the character Mercutio in Act II, Scene IV.
20. To thine own self be true
Used to suggest the importance of being true to one's own beliefs and values, this phrase was spoken by Polonius in Hamlet.