Shakespeare invented new words

Shakespeare 3

Nobody knows exactly how many words in the English we use everyday were invented by Shakespeare.

Some people have claimed that Shakespeare invented many thousands of words but a more generally accepted figure is 1,700.

As this National Geographic article explains, Shakespeare may have been the first person to use some words in writing or to popularise their use. Whether he ‘invented’ the words or not, he has certainly had a profound effect on English vocabulary.

Here are some of the words and phrases usually attributed to Shakespeare..

  • bedroom
  • blanket
  • fashionable
  • freezing
  • gossip
  • hostile
  • ladybird
  • lonely
  • manager
  • obscene
  • priceless
  • puke
  • undress
  • unreal
  • watchdog
  • pomp and circumstance
  • the be-all and end-all
  • flesh and blood

An internet search for ‘words invented by Shakespeare’ will bring up many thousands of results. Do a search and see which other words you can find to add to the list.

Watch this video: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/explore-english-shakespeare/1/steps/59163?utm_campaign=Share+Links&utm_medium=futurelearn-open_step&utm_source=google-plus

© British Council

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