language The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
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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
82 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
75 8
Tranquil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Tranquil Act III Scene III - Othello

3
60 6
Articulate is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Articulate Act I Scene IX - Coriolanus

4
66 7
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
63 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
55 7
Savagery is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Savagery Act IV Scene III - King John

7
56 8
Champion is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Champion Act III Scene I - Macbeth

8
46 7
Lackluster is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lackluster Act III Scene IV - As You Like It

9
51 11
Gloomy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gloomy Act V Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part I

10
48 8
Lonely is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lonely Act IV Scene I - Coriolanus

11
61 19
Swagger is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Swagger Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

12
44 7
Amazement is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Amazement Act V Scene I - King John

13
55 13
Sanctimonious is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Sanctimonious Act IV Scene I - The Tempest

14
44 7
Radiance is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Radiance Act I Scene I - All's Well That Ends Well

15
38 6
Dauntless is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dauntless Act III Scene III - King Henry VI, Part III

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16
58 16
Moonbeam is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Moonbeam Act III Scene I - A Midsummer Night's Dream

17
34 4
Gust is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gust Act V Scene III - Titus Andronicus

18
46 9
Torture is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Torture Act II Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

19
44 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
35 4
Rant is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Rant Act V Scene I - Hamlet

21
38 7
Lustrous is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Lustrous Act IV Scene II - Twelfth Night

22
46 8
Gossip is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Gossip Act V Scene I - The Comedy of Errors

23
43 7
Jaded is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Jaded Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

24
42 7
Unreal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Unreal Act III Scene IV - Macbeth

25
37 7
Frugal is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Frugal Act II Scene I - The Merry Wives of Windsor

26
34 5
Bandit is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bandit Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

27
36 9
Hobnob is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hobnob Act III Scene IV - Twelfth Night

28
33 10
Auspicious is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Auspicious Act I Scene II - Hamlet

29
30 4
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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30
33 5
Blanket is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Blanket Act II Scene III - King Lear

31
33 6
Arouse is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Arouse Act IV Scene I - King Henry VI, Part II

32
36 7
Discontent is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Discontent Act I Scene I - Titus Andronicus

33
32 12
Besmirch is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Besmirch Act I Scene III - Hamlet

34
33 8
Bedroom is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Bedroom Act II Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

35
31 7
Drugged is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Drugged Act II Scene II - Macbeth

36
37 6
Mimic is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Mimic Act III Scene II - A Midsummer Night's Dream

37
28 7
Grovel is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Grovel Act I Scene IV - King Henry VI, Part II

38
33 12
Obsequiously is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Obsequiously Act I Scene II - Richard III

39
27 4
Dwindle is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dwindle Act III Scene III - King Henry IV, Part I

40
33 5
Generous is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Generous Act V Scene I - Love's Labour's Lost

41
28 6
Dishearten is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Dishearten Act IV - Henry V

42
31 9
Zany is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Zany Act V Scene II - Love's Labour's Lost

43
31 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
28 9
Pious is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Pious Act I Scene III - Hamlet

45
27 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

46
28 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
27 6
Hint is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Hint Act I Scene III - Othello

48
25 9
Invulnerable is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Invulnerable Act II Scene I - King John

49
25 12
Multitudinous is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Words Invented by Shakespeare
Multitudinous Act II Scene II - Macbeth

50
25 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