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Shakespeare's Words

William Shakespeare invented or introduced over 1,700 words into the English language that we still use today

Shakespeare used more than 20,000 words in his plays and poems, and likely invented or introduced at least 1,700 words into the English language. He did this by combining words, changing nouns into verbs, adding prefixes or suffixes, and so on. Some words stayed and some didn't. Although lexicographers are continually discovering new origins and earliest usages of words, below are listed words and definitions we still use today that are attributed to Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's Words A-Z

Alligator: (n) a large, carnivorous reptile closely related to the crocodile
     Romeo and Juliet, Act 5 Scene 1

Bedroom: (n) a room for sleeping; furnished with a bed
     A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 2 Scene 2

Critic: (n) one who judges merit or expresses a reasoned opinion
     Love's Labour's Lost, Act 3 Scene 1

Downstairs: (adv) on a lower floor; down the steps
     Henry IV Part 1, Act 2 Scene 4

Eyeball: (n) the round part of the eye; organ for vision
     Henry VI Part 1, Act 4 Scene 7

Fashionable: (adj) stylish; characteristic of a particular period
     Troilus and Cressida, Act 3 Scene 3

Gossip: (v) to talk casually, usually about others
     The Comedy of Errors, Act 5 Scene 1

Hurry: (v) to act or move quickly
     The Comedy of Errors, Act 5 Scene 1

Inaudible: (adj) not heard; unable to be heard
     All's Well That Ends Well, Act 5 Scene 3

Jaded: (adj) worn out; bored or past feeling
     Henry VI Part 2, Act 4 Scene 1

Kissing: (ppl adj) touching with the lips; exchanging kisses
     Love's Labour's Lost, Act 5 Scene 2

Lonely: (adj) feeling sad due to lack of companionship
     Coriolanus, Act 4 Scene 1

Manager: (n) one who controls or administers; person in charge
     Love's Labour's Lost, Act 1 Scene 2

Nervy: (adj) sinewy or strong; bold; easily agitated
     Coriolanus, Act 2 Scene 1

Obscene: (adj) repulsive or disgusting; offensive to one's morality
     Love's Labour's Lost, Act 1 Scene 1

Puppy dog: (n) a young, domestic dog
     King John, Act 2 Scene 1

Questioning: (n) the act of inquiring or interrogating
     As You Like It, Act 5 Scene 4

Rant: (v) to speak at length in inflated or extravagant language
     Hamlet, Act 5 Scene 1

Skim milk: (n) milk with its cream removed
     Henry IV Part 1, Act 2 Scene 3

Traditional: (adj) conventional; long-established, bound by tradition
     Richard III, Act 3 Scene 1

Undress: (v) to remove clothes or other covering
     The Taming of the Shrew, Induction Scene 2

Varied: (adj) incorporating different types or kinds; diverse
     Titus Andronicus, Act 3 Scene 1

Worthless: (adj) having no value or merit; contemptible
     The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4 Scene 2

Xantippe: (n) shrewish wife of Socrates; figuratively, a bad-tempered woman
     The Taming of the Shrew, Act 1 Scene 2

Yelping: (adj) uttering sharp, high-pitched cries
     Henry VI Part 1, Act 4 Scene 2

Zany: (n) clown's assistant; performer who mimics another's antics
     Love's Labour's Lost, Act 5 Scene 2

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