The Universe and Me

Friday, July 07, 2006

The words you use should be your own

On an old podcast I was listening to the other day, Gervais and company mentioned that Shakespeare thought up several thousand words, including brilliant. The Internet says he made up over 3,000 words. While many of them didn’t catch on, English has incorporated about 1,200 of them. What I found interesting about the list I looked at was that some words I can’t imagine were not in use before his inventing them. Here are some:

Accused, addiction, advertising, aerial, alligator, amazement, articulate, assassination, bandit, bedroom, birthplace, blanket, blushing, bump, buzzer, cater, champion, circumstantial, compromise, countless, courtship, critical, daunting, dawn, deafening, demure, discontent, dishearten, dislocate, dwindle, educate, elbow, entomb, epileptic, equivocal, eyeball, fashionable, flawed, frugal, generous, gloomy, gossip, hint, hurry, impartial, investment, invulnerable, jaded, label, laughable, leapfrog, lonely, luggage, mimic, misplaced, monumental, moonbeam, mountaineer, negotiate, numb, obscene, ode, premeditated, radiance, rant, savagery, scuffle, secure, submerge, summit, swagger, torture, tranquil, unreal, varied, worthless.

And some phrases he invented:

All that glitters is not gold, as luck would have it, budge an inch (or not), catch cold, dead as a doornail, didn't sleep a wink, forever and a day, for goodness' sake, foul play, give the devil his due, good riddance, green-eyed jealousy, high time, household word, in a pickle, in stitches, in the twinkle of an eye, it's Greek to me, laughing stock, neither here nor there, no rhyme or reason, woe is me, one fell swoop, tower of strength, under the weather, what the dickens.


  • At 3:01 PM, July 07, 2006, Anonymous SK said…

    I'd heard that Shakespeare made up words, but I didn't realize they were such common ones now. That's really interesting.


Post a Comment

<< Home