10 Shakespeare Words And Phrases
Start writing a post

You Can Thank William Shakespeare For Gracing Our Language With 'Swagger' And These Other 9 Words

Knock knock. Who's there? Not the devil, he's with Macbeth today.

You Can Thank William Shakespeare For Gracing Our Language With 'Swagger' And These Other 9 Words

Coming from someone who is studying to teach English, it probably comes as no surprise that I really enjoy reading Shakespeare. I've taken three classes, soon to be four, to study Shakespeare (it seems like a lot, I know). Something that is always talked about is Shakespeare, for his time, had an unconventional way of creating words and phrases. The number of words that he invented has been argued, and scholars have traced the origin of over 1,600 words in the Oxford English Dictionary.

1. "Rant" - Macbeth

"Singeing his pate against the burning zone, Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth, I'll rant as well as thou." (Act 5, Scene 1)

I use this word all the time, in Shakespearian time, he just meant 'talk' but at this time it just means ongoing talking. And more talking. And more talking...

2. "Too Much of a Good Thing" - As You Like It

"Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?— Come, sister, you shall be the priest and marry us.—Give me your hand, Orlando.—What do you say, sister?" (Act 4, Scene 1)

This is pretty self-explanatory, and yet another thing I hear all the time, except I don't use it. My mom does!

3. "Jaded" - King Henry VI

"And from this fellow? if we live thus tamely, to be thus jaded by a piece of scarlet, Farewell nobility; let his grace go forward,

And dare us with his cap like larks." (Act 3 Scene 2)Personally, I don't use this term a lot to describe others, but I find it really interesting that Shakespeare used it in just about the same way that we could at this time!

4. "A Wild Goose Chase" - Romeo and Juliet

"Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I am done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five. Was I with you there for the goose? " (Act 2, Scene 4)

Who can talk about Shakespeare without talking about Romeo and Juliet? This line is followed by a long "wild-goose" metaphor, but all in the same I used to hear my grandmother say this all the time. I think this phrase may be dying out, but for it to be around since the Shakespearian time would be a great feat for a phrase!

5. "Assassination" - Macbeth

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere wellIt were done quickly. If the assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch with his surcease success; that but this blow might be the be-all and the end-all here..." (Act 1, Scene 7)

For as much as we have used this word in media and such, it was a shock to me that this is one of the words that Shakespeare invented.

6. "Knock knock! Who's there?" - Macbeth

"Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' th' name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enough about you, here you'll sweat for 't." (Act 2, Scene 3)

I believe this could have been the very start of where knock knock jokes came from. Knock knock. Who's there? Not the devil, he's with Macbeth today.

7. "Swagger" - Henry V

"Hang him, swaggering rascal! Let him not come hither; it the foul-mouth'dst rogue in England." (Part 2, Act 2, Scene 4)

I personally don't see this word used much in my life anymore, but I think it refers to style nowadays. In Shakespeare talk, it just means 'hot-tempered'

8. "There's method in my madness" - Hamlet

"(aside) Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.—(to HAMLET) Will you walk out of the air, my lord?" (Act 2, Scene 2)

I literally say this every day at work. It's interesting looking at the original phrase and seeing what it turns into after the years!

9. "All of a sudden" - The Taming of the Shrew

"Is it possible that love should of a sudden take such hold?" (Act 1, Scene 1)

I swear, as I was writing this I heard the phrase 'all of a sudden' three times from the TV show that I was watching and twice from my parents.

10. "Lonely" - Coriolanus

"Believe't not lightly—though I go alone, Like to a lonely dragon, that his fen Makes fear'd and talk'd of more than seen—your son Will or exceed the common or be caught With cautelous baits and practise." (Act 4, Scene 3)

At the end of the day, I feel like this word is one of the most common of all the words Shakespeare invented. Think about it, how many times have you said you or someone else is lonely?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

College 101: How To Ease The Back To School Blues

Getting back into the school groove when you just can't seem to let go of summer.

Beyond The States

With fall classes just beginning, many of us find ourselves struck with summer withdrawals. Especially for those who refrained from taking courses over the summer, it can be quite difficult to get back in the swing of things. Fortunately, there are various ways to help make the transition back to college as smooth as possible.

Keep Reading... Show less
Dating Apps

We Met At A Bar

Salvage what you can; if you can't, it's alright to walk away.

We Met At A Bar
Anne Waldon

We met at a bar.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Mets And Me

They may be the worst sometimes, but this baseball team has given me more than I could ask for.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On September 3rd, 2001, a sea of children littered my home's navy-carpeted den to watch baseball during my dad's 40th birthday extravaganza. A baseball game flickered on the TV, and a red and blue bubble of a scoreboard sat in the bottom right corner of the screen. The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies were in a wild game at Veterans' Stadium. As I, a five-year-old boy with a jumble of curly blonde hair, sat in the back of the kid clump, I wondered which team I should root for. After a long debate with myself, I decided that I should root for the team that's winning (duh). But, as the ninth inning rolled around with the Phils maintaining a 7-5 lead, some magic occurred. The Mets put up five runs in one frame, stunning the Phillie fans in the room and winning the game 10-7.

Keep Reading... Show less

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

If you love BTS, I'm sure you relate to one or many of them in several ways. This star test will help you learn more about which member you are most connected to.

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

Astrological signs tell a lot about a person. Do you ever wonder what your BTS bias star sign is? Is it the same as yours, or or are you more like one of the other amazing members? Take a look and find out what yours (and the members of Bangtan) says about you.

Keep Reading... Show less

Hittin' the Road Playlist

With the end of August approaching more quickly than many of us would like, the preparation for school is happening in more ways than just one.


The car is all packed. The money you saved (and didn't spend online) from your summer internship is secured quietly in your bank account. The immediate reunion with your long-distance college friends is set. The real question on everyone's minds is: do you have the perfect melody to jam to as you journey back to school? 

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments