Shakespeare Coined a Shit-Ton of Words

Apparently, Shakespeare coined ALL of the following words. Click the word to see the passage:1


academe accused addiction advertising amazement
arouse assassination backing bandit bedroom
beached besmirch birthplace blanket bloodstained
barefaced blushing bet bump buzzer
caked cater champion circumstantial cold-blooded
compromise courtship countless critic dauntless
dawn deafening discontent dishearten drugged
dwindle epileptic equivocal elbow excitement
exposure eyeball fashionable fixture flawed
frugal generous gloomy gossip green-eyed
gust hint hobnob hurried impede
impartial invulnerable jaded label lackluster
laughable lonely lower luggage lustrous
madcap majestic marketable metamorphize mimic
monumental moonbeam mountaineer negotiate noiseless
obscene obsequiously ode olympian outbreak
panders pedant premeditated puking radiance
rant remorseless savagery scuffle secure
skim milk submerge summit swagger torture
tranquil undress unreal varied vaulting
worthless zany gnarled grovel

Pretty outrageous. National Geographic explains why so many words are attributed to Shakespeare:

Despite Shakespeare’s apparently considerable contributions to the language, Macrone and other academics are quick to caution that it is almost impossible say with absolutely certainty when a word or phrase was first used—or even whom to credit for creating it. In Shakespeare’s case, many of the words and phrases attributed to him merely debuted in their modern permutations in his writings and can actually be traced back to older forms. Other words and turns of phrase are indeed “original,” insomuch as they are documented in the written record only as far back as Shakespeare.

  1. Source: Mabillard, Amanda. Words Shakespeare Invented. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000.

  • DeeDee Massey

    ‘Tis high time

    Give the devil his due

    Bear a charmed life

    To thine own self be true

  • Mons G. Reinertsen

    How can you know Shakespeare used these words before anyone else? I call bullshit.

    • DeeDee Massey

      More likely, he popularized them. But he is truly the originator, I’m going to start making up more explicitings myself.

  • KB

    I don’t like the idea of having much of a language be directly attributed to the whims of one person… I like looking into the roots of English, specifically drawing parallels to other Germanic languages, and having Shakespeare’s literature dictate much of how modern English came to be makes it feel like the “latest fad” at the time effectively replaced parts of the language that could have been age-old legacies.

  • Rohit Bhaskar

    How did people who read shakespeare understand the meaning of the words if they were never used before?

  • Chiel Wieringa

    “In Shakespeare’s case, many of the words and phrases attributed to
    him merely debuted in their modern permutations in his writings and can
    actually be traced back to older forms. ”

    So Shakespeare couldn’t spell I guess.

    • Matt

      That or spelling per se wasn’t quite as important back in Shakespeare’s day. I’ve personally never been a big fan of Shakespeare, and don’t put much stock in this idea that invented all these words.

      In my experience, people over-inflate the greatness of his writing. He wrote exceptional plays, for sure. But many others have achieved a similar or better standard. Shakespeare got lucky in that he was writing the right stuff at the right time and benefitted from a 400 year old PR machine that has propelled him from modest relevance to illustrious reverence. Of course that means you end up with insane claims like the one in this post. His legacy has done a lot for the arts here in the UK though, so I’m thankful for that.

  • Jeff Lewis

    Man, even I could write poetry that rhymed if I just made up words.

  • Joel W

    I thought “salad” as well. The salad days of summer.

  • qwertyui

    “” Nice URL.

    But it seems like someone broke website :p

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