Interesting The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
3.7k votes 317 voters 12.9k views 63 items

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

In addition to 36 plays teenagers 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 he squished together, others, like "articulate," were brand new inventions The Bard pulled from Latin roots and also sometimes out of nowhere. This list of words 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
129 11
Majestic is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Majestic Act I Scene II - Julius Caesar

2
110 14
Tranquil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Tranquil Act III Scene III - Othello

3
91 13
Cold-Blooded is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Cold-Blooded Act III Scene I - King John

4
87 14
Articulate is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Articulate Act I Scene IX - Coriolanus

5
92 13
Obscene is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obscene Act I Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

6
77 9
Champion is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Champion Act III Scene I - Macbeth

7
92 20
Swagger is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Swagger Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

8
74 11
Savagery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Savagery Act IV Scene III - King John

9
64 10
Dauntless is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dauntless Act III Scene III - King Henry VI, Part III

10
56 8
Lustrous is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lustrous Act IV Scene II - Twelfth Night

11
75 15
Gloomy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gloomy Act V Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part I

12
61 9
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

13
66 10
Gossip is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gossip Act V Scene I - The Comedy of Errors

14
59 8
Unreal is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Unreal Act III Scene IV - Macbeth

15
61 10
Amazement is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Amazement Act V Scene I - King John

16
67 10
Lonely is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lonely Act IV Scene I - Coriolanus

17
52 6
Rant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Rant Act V Scene I - Hamlet

18
74 18
Sanctimonious is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Sanctimonious Act IV Scene I - The Tempest

19
62 12
Lackluster is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lackluster Act III Scene IV - As You Like It

20
59 11
Gnarled is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gnarled Act II Scene II - Measure for Measure

21
48 6
Blanket is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Blanket Act II Scene III - King Lear

22
58 10
Jaded is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Jaded Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

23
68 19
Moonbeam is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Moonbeam Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

24
60 10
Torture is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Torture Act II Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

25
43 6
Gust is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gust Act V Scene III - Titus Andronicus