Interesting The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
3.7k votes 307 voters 12.6k 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
124 11
Majestic is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Majestic Act I Scene II - Julius Caesar

2
106 14
Tranquil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Tranquil Act III Scene III - Othello

3
86 13
Articulate is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Articulate Act I Scene IX - Coriolanus

4
90 12
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
89 13
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
75 9
Champion is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Champion Act III Scene I - Macbeth

7
90 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
73 11
Savagery is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Savagery Act IV Scene III - King John

9
63 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
64 9
Gossip is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gossip Act V Scene I - The Comedy of Errors

11
72 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
54 8
Lustrous is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lustrous Act IV Scene II - Twelfth Night

13
59 9
Radiance is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Radiance Act I Scene I - All's Well That Ends Well

14
73 16
Sanctimonious is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Sanctimonious Act IV Scene I - The Tempest

15
59 10
Amazement is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Amazement Act V Scene I - King John

16
56 8
Unreal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Unreal Act III Scene IV - Macbeth

17
64 10
Lonely is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lonely Act IV Scene I - Coriolanus

18
60 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
57 10
Gnarled is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gnarled Act II Scene II - Measure for Measure

20
49 6
Rant is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Rant Act V Scene I - Hamlet

21
67 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

22
46 6
Blanket is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Blanket Act II Scene III - King Lear

23
59 10
Torture is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Torture Act II Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

24
56 10
Jaded is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Jaded Act IV 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

26
49 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
46 7
Arouse is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Arouse Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

28
43 6
Bandit is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bandit Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

29
44 12
Auspicious is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Auspicious Act I Scene II - Hamlet

30
37 5
Dwindle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dwindle Act III Scene III - King Henry IV, Part I

31
44 14
Besmirch is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Besmirch Act I Scene III - Hamlet

32
45 12
Hobnob is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hobnob Act III Scene IV - Twelfth Night

33
45 10
Bedroom is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bedroom Act II Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

34
39 6
Scuffle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Scuffle Act I Scene I - Antony and Cleopatra

35
44 8
Discontent is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Discontent Act I Scene I - Titus Andronicus

36
40 8
Drugged is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Drugged Act II Scene II - Macbeth

37
44 11
Elbow is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Elbow Act IV Scene III - King Lear

38
45 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
38 7
Dishearten is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dishearten Act IV - Henry V

40
37 9
Grovel is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Grovel Act I Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part II

41
44 7
Generous is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Generous Act V Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

42
38 9
Pious is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Pious Act I Scene III - Hamlet

43
39 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
40 14
Obsequiously is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obsequiously Act I Scene II - Richard III

45
38 7
Bump is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bump Act I Scene III - Romeo and Juliet

46
35 14
Equivocal is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Equivocal Act V Scene III - All's Well That Ends Well

47
36 7
Hint is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hint Act I Scene III - Othello

48
35 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
35 14
Multitudinous is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Multitudinous Act II Scene II - Macbeth

50
33 10
Invulnerable is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Invulnerable Act II Scene I - King John