interesting The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
3.5k votes 270 voters 11.7k views 63 items

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
109 8
Majestic is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Majestic Act I Scene II - Julius Caesar

2
96 12
Tranquil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Tranquil Act III Scene III - Othello

3
85 11
Obscene is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obscene Act I Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

4
77 11
Articulate is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Articulate Act I Scene IX - Coriolanus

5
80 12
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
70 9
Champion is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Champion Act III Scene I - Macbeth

7
82 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
68 10
Savagery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Savagery Act IV Scene III - King John

9
58 9
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
66 15
Gloomy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gloomy Act V Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part I

11
68 15
Sanctimonious is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Sanctimonious Act IV Scene I - The Tempest

12
55 9
Amazement is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Amazement Act V Scene I - King John

13
58 9
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
49 8
Lustrous is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lustrous Act IV Scene II - Twelfth Night

All Shakespeare Tragedies, Ranked

15
54 9
Radiance is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Radiance Act I Scene I - All's Well That Ends Well

16
53 8
Jaded is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Jaded Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

17
53 9
Gnarled is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gnarled Act II Scene II - Measure for Measure

18
57 11
Lackluster is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lackluster Act III Scene IV - As You Like It

19
61 10
Lonely is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lonely Act IV Scene I - Coriolanus

20
52 8
Unreal is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Unreal Act III Scene IV - Macbeth

21
66 19
Moonbeam is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Moonbeam Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Best Songs With Blow in the Title

22
45 6
Rant is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Rant Act V Scene I - Hamlet

23
44 6
Blanket is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Blanket Act II Scene III - King Lear

24
56 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
41 6
Gust is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gust Act V Scene III - Titus Andronicus

26
47 8
Frugal is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Frugal Act II Scene I - The Merry Wives of Windsor

27
42 6
Bandit is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bandit Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

28
43 7
Arouse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Arouse Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

16 Utterly Bizarre Things You Didn't Know About The Shining

29
41 12
Auspicious is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Auspicious Act I Scene II - Hamlet

30
43 11
Hobnob is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hobnob Act III Scene IV - Twelfth Night

31
42 6
Generous is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Generous Act V Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

32
43 10
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 5
Dwindle is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dwindle Act III Scene III - King Henry IV, Part I

34
43 8
Discontent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Discontent Act I Scene I - Titus Andronicus

35
38 6
Scuffle is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Scuffle Act I Scene I - Antony and Cleopatra

Famous People Whose Last Name Is Greene

36
41 14
Besmirch is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Besmirch Act I Scene III - Hamlet

37
39 8
Drugged is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Drugged Act II Scene II - Macbeth

38
44 7
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
42 11
Elbow is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Elbow Act IV Scene III - King Lear

40
37 7
Dishearten is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dishearten Act IV - Henry V

41
35 9
Grovel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Grovel Act I Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part II

42
37 9
Pious is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Pious Act I Scene III - Hamlet

Famous Renaissance Artists, Ranked

43
37 10
Zany is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Zany Act V Scene II - Love's Labour's Lost

44
38 14
Obsequiously is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obsequiously Act I Scene II - Richard III

45
34 14
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
36 7
Bump is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bump Act I Scene III - Romeo and Juliet

47
35 7
Hint is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hint Act I Scene III - Othello

48
34 7
Luggage is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Luggage Act V Scene IV - King Henry IV, Part I

49
32 10
Invulnerable is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Invulnerable Act II Scene I - King John

50
33 14
Multitudinous is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Multitudinous Act II Scene II - Macbeth