language The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare

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List Rules Vote up your fave words that were first coined by Wm. Shakespeare

In addition to 36 plays that kids are forced to read in high school, William Shakespeare also wrote something like 1,700 English words for the very first time. While many were new verb or adjectival forms or even just compound words that he squished together, others, like "articulate," were brand new inventions that The Bard pulled from Latin roots and also sometimes out of nowhere. This list of words that Shakespeare invented includes some personal favorites, like "swagger" and "gloomy," and also some words that just sound great, like "sanctimonious," "lackluster," "madcap," and "blanket." Who doesn't love a good blanket?

Shakespeare worked in a time when the English language was in a state of flux, constantly changing and expanding in the wake of colonization, exploration, and war. Linguists estimate that more than 30,000 new words developed in the English language between the years 1500 and 1650. During his lifetime (1564-1616), Shakespeare published a cool 17,677 unique words, 1,700 of which he coined himself. He also invented a bunch of phrases that are still popular today, including "kill with kindness," "break the ice," and "good riddance." Another is "Knock knock! Who's there?" No joke, that is in Hamlet. (Another is "hoist with his own petard," which nobody really says anymore.)
 
What's your favorite word made up by Shakespeare? Something majestic, like "majestic"? Something fun to say, like "obsequiously"? Maybe something that otherwise wouldn't have a name at all, like "elbow"? It would have been nice if he also named the inside part of the elbow ("inbow," hello) and the back part of the knee. Thanks for nothing, Shakespeare. Vote!

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Majestic is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Majestic Act I Scene II - Julius Caesar

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Tranquil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Tranquil Act III Scene III - Othello

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+ - 48 4
Savagery is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Savagery Act IV Scene III - King John

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+ - 58 6
Obscene is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obscene Act I Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

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+ - 50 6
Articulate is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Articulate Act I Scene IX - Coriolanus

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+ - 53 9
Cold-Blooded is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Cold-Blooded Act III Scene I - King John

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+ - 42 6
Lonely is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lonely Act IV Scene I - Coriolanus

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+ - 44 9
Gloomy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gloomy Act V Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part I

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+ - 51 16
Swagger is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Swagger Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

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+ - 48 13
Sanctimonious is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Sanctimonious Act IV Scene I - The Tempest

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+ - 36 6
Amazement is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Amazement Act V Scene I - King John

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+ - 36 6
Radiance is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Radiance Act I Scene I - All's Well That Ends Well

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+ - 46 8
Champion is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Champion Act III Scene I - Macbeth

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+ - 48 15
Moonbeam is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Moonbeam Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

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+ - 37 7
Lackluster is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lackluster Act III Scene IV - As You Like It

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Gnarled is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gnarled Act II Scene II - Measure for Measure

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+ - 38 8
Torture is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Torture Act II Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

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+ - 32 6
Dauntless is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dauntless Act III Scene III - King Henry VI, Part III

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+ - 38 8
Gossip is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gossip Act V Scene I - The Comedy of Errors

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+ - 30 7
Lustrous is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lustrous Act IV Scene II - Twelfth Night

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+ - 36 7
Jaded is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Jaded Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

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+ - 29 4
Blanket is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Blanket Act II Scene III - King Lear

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+ - 29 4
Bandit is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bandit Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

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+ - 29 4
Rant is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Rant Act V Scene I - Hamlet

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+ - 33 7
Unreal is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Unreal Act III Scene IV - Macbeth

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+ - 27 4
Gust is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gust Act V Scene III - Titus Andronicus

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+ - 31 7
Frugal is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Frugal Act II Scene I - The Merry Wives of Windsor

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+ - 29 11
Besmirch is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Besmirch Act I Scene III - Hamlet

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Scuffle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Scuffle Act I Scene I - Antony and Cleopatra

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Mimic is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Mimic Act III Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

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+ - 27 10
Auspicious is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Auspicious Act I Scene II - Hamlet

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+ - 29 9
Hobnob is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hobnob Act III Scene IV - Twelfth Night

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+ - 26 6
Arouse is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Arouse Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

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+ - 29 11
Obsequiously is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obsequiously Act I Scene II - Richard III

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+ - 24 7
Grovel is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Grovel Act I Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part II

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+ - 28 8
Bedroom is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bedroom Act II Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

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+ - 29 7
Discontent is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Discontent Act I Scene I - Titus Andronicus

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+ - 26 7
Drugged is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Drugged Act II Scene II - Macbeth

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+ - 28 9
Elbow is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Elbow Act IV Scene III - King Lear

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+ - 23 6
Dishearten is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dishearten Act IV - Henry V

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+ - 26 9
Zany is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Zany Act V Scene II - Love's Labour's Lost

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+ - 28 5
Generous is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Generous Act V Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

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+ - 22 4
Dwindle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dwindle Act III Scene III - King Henry IV, Part I

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Pious is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Pious Act I Scene III - Hamlet

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+ - 22 12
Equivocal is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Equivocal Act V Scene III - All's Well That Ends Well

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+ - 22 5
Hint is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hint Act I Scene III - Othello

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+ - 22 5
Luggage is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Luggage Act V Scene IV - King Henry IV, Part I

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+ - 23 6
Bump is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bump Act I Scene III - Romeo and Juliet

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+ - 21 9
Invulnerable is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Invulnerable Act II Scene I - King John

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+ - 23 7
Critic is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Critic Act III Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost