Sunday, May 08, 2011


Words and Phrases

He was the creator of words and phrases.

It is said that Shakespeare created, or “coined,” over three thousand words and phrases that are still in use in our English today. Here is a small sample:
·  All that glitters is not gold (The Merchant of Venice)
·  All's well that ends well (title)
·  Bated breath (The Merchant of Venice)
·  Be-all and the end-all (Macbeth)
·  Neither a borrower nor a lender be (Hamlet)
·  Brave new world (The Tempest)
·  Break the ice (The Taming of the Shrew)
·  Breathed his last (3 Henry VI)
·  Refuse to budge an inch (Measure for Measure / Taming of the Shrew)
·  Come what come may ("come what may") (Macbeth)
·  Dead as a doornail (2 Henry VI)
·  Devil incarnate (Titus Andronicus / Henry V)
·  Eaten me out of house and home (2 Henry IV)
·  Elbow room (King John; first attested 1540 according to Merriam-Webster)
·  Fool's paradise (Romeo and Juliet)
·  Forever and a day (As You Like It)
·  For goodness' sake (Henry VIII)
·  Foregone conclusion (Othello)
·  Full circle (King Lear)
·  Good riddance (Troilus and Cressida)
·  It was Greek to me (Julius Caesar)
·  Heart of gold (Henry V)
·  Household words (Henry V)
·  A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse! (Richard III)
·  In a pickle (The Tempest)
·  In my heart of hearts (Hamlet)
·  In my mind's eye (Hamlet)
·  In my book of memory (I Henry VI)
·  Knock knock! Who's there? (Macbeth)
·  Laughing stock (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

This is no small feat. Who would have known that The Bard was the source of centuries of “Knock Knock” jokes? Try, if you will, to compose new phrases that you think will be adopted into our lasting English. Let me see:

As dead as a Dell computer battery. (Will be shortened to “Dead as a Dell.”)
iPod, iPad, everybody Pod Pads.
“Wiki, wiki, wiki!” (Replaces “Picky, picky, picky!”)
“Comcast!” (Define it as you wish.)
“Show me the certificate.” (A demand for absolute proof of something.)

Well, that exhausts my brain for now (not hard to do.) Give it a try. You might be better at it than Will….or NOT.

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