By Raza Mehdi
Dec 06, 2022
William Shakespeare is the greatest playwright of all time. He is credited for inventing or introducing more than 1,700 words in the English language, and some of them are still in use today. Here are ten commonly used Shakespearean words.
The word ‘villain’ already exists in the English language, but Shakespeare added the prefix ‘arch’ – bringing a whole new level to the word ‘villain’ that meant the most evil or powerful villain.
Arch-villain From: Timon of Athens, ACT V, SCENE I
Shakespeare invented this word to use it in the following phrase: ‘eventful history.’ We can also use the term to express the exciting occasion in our everyday life.
Eventful From: As You Like It, ACT II, SCENE VII
You’ve probably heard the term ‘cold-blooded killer’, an expression invented by Shakespeare! He used ‘cold-blooded’ to indicate someone who lacks emotion.
Cold-blooded From: King John, ACT III, SCENE I
One of Shakespeare’s favourite tricks to pen new words was simply adding a prefix to existing ones. He did the same with the word ‘audible’ by joining a negative prefix that became a common term in Zoom calls!
Inaudible From: All’s Well That Ends Well, ACT V, SCENE III
This is the most practical word that the bard coined, probably not the most exciting one. The term is used by King Theseus, “Where is our usual manager of mirth?”
Manager From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ACT V, SCENE I
Shakespeare used the word ‘swagger’ to describe a person who “walks or strut with a defiant or insolent air” or “to brag noisily.”
Swagger From: Henry V, ACT II, SCENE IV
Thanks to Shakespeare's invention, the signs warning passengers to ‘take all your belongings with you’ on buses, planes, and taxis are worded correctly.
Belongings From: Measure for Measure, ACT I, SCENE I
The word ‘assassin’ existed before Shakespeare’s foray into penning plays. But it was the English writer’s creativity that gifted us with another unique term for the word ‘murder.’
Assassination From: Macbeth, ACT I, SCENE VII
Shakespeare’s ‘bedazzle’ means “to dazzle so as to blind or confuse.” The prefix be- intensifies the verb dazzle, a form of the word daze. The word ‘bedazzle’ has since expanded to mean “to impress forcefully, especially to make oblivious to faults or shortcomings.”
Bedazzled From: The Taming of the Shrew, ACT IV, SCENE V
Believe it or not, a compound as simple as a bedroom isn’t found in the English record until the 1580–90s. The bedroom was called bedchambers or sleep spaces before Shakespeare came around.
Bedroom From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ACT II, SCENE II