interesting The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare  

Carly Kiel
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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!
list ordered by

1
90 4
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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2
82 9
Tranquil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Tranquil Act III Scene III - Othello

3
66 6
Articulate is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Articulate Act I Scene IX - Coriolanus

4
73 8
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

5
70 9
Cold-Blooded is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Cold-Blooded Act III Scene I - King John

6
61 7
Savagery is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Savagery Act IV Scene III - King John

7
62 8
Champion is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Champion Act III Scene I - Macbeth

8
58 11
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

9
49 7
Amazement is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Amazement Act V Scene I - King John

10
69 19
Swagger is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Swagger Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

11
48 7
Radiance is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Radiance Act I Scene I - All's Well That Ends Well

12
45 7
Dauntless is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dauntless Act III Scene III - King Henry VI, Part III

13
61 13
Sanctimonious is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Sanctimonious Act IV Scene I - The Tempest

14
39 4
Rant is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Rant Act V Scene I - Hamlet

15
48 7
Jaded is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Jaded Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

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16
54 8
Lonely is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lonely Act IV Scene I - Coriolanus

17
51 9
Lackluster is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lackluster Act III Scene IV - As You Like It

18
62 16
Moonbeam is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Moonbeam Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

19
48 8
Gnarled is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gnarled Act II Scene II - Measure for Measure

20
42 7
Lustrous is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lustrous Act IV Scene II - Twelfth Night

21
50 8
Gossip is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gossip Act V Scene I - The Comedy of Errors

22
46 7
Unreal is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Unreal Act III Scene IV - Macbeth

23
38 5
Gust is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gust Act V Scene III - Titus Andronicus

24
38 5
Blanket is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Blanket Act II Scene III - King Lear

25
38 5
Bandit is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bandit Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

26
34 4
Scuffle is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Scuffle Act I Scene I - Antony and Cleopatra

27
50 9
Torture is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Torture Act II Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

28
41 7
Frugal is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Frugal Act II Scene I - The Merry Wives of Windsor

29
37 10
Auspicious is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Auspicious Act I Scene II - Hamlet

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30
37 6
Arouse is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Arouse Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

31
39 10
Hobnob is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hobnob Act III Scene IV - Twelfth Night

32
37 8
Bedroom is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bedroom Act II Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

33
35 12
Besmirch is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Besmirch Act I Scene III - Hamlet

34
39 7
Discontent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Discontent Act I Scene I - Titus Andronicus

35
37 5
Generous is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Generous Act V Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

36
35 7
Drugged is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Drugged Act II Scene II - Macbeth

37
30 4
Dwindle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dwindle Act III Scene III - King Henry IV, Part I

38
40 6
Mimic is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Mimic Act III Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

39
31 7
Grovel is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Grovel Act I Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part II

40
32 6
Dishearten is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dishearten Act IV - Henry V

41
34 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

42
35 13
Obsequiously is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obsequiously Act I Scene II - Richard III

43
34 10
Elbow is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Elbow Act IV Scene III - King Lear

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44
32 9
Pious is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Pious Act I Scene III - Hamlet

45
31 13
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

46
32 6
Bump is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bump Act I Scene III - Romeo and Juliet

47
31 6
Hint is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hint Act I Scene III - Othello

48
29 9
Invulnerable is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Invulnerable Act II Scene I - King John

49
29 12
Multitudinous is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Multitudinous Act II Scene II - Macbeth

50
29 6
Luggage is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Luggage Act V Scene IV - King Henry IV, Part I