September 30, 2023

Phrases Coined by Shakespeare

The only known portrait of William Shakespeare
The Chandos Portrait: the only known portrait of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare was a genius. He was also a neologist; a creator of phrases (and even words).

And the list of these, that have entered common usage, is staggeringly long.


Selected Phrases

Bated breath   -  The Merchant of Venice

Be-all and end-all  -  Macbeth

Brave new world  -  The Tempest

Break the ice  -  The Taming of the Shrew

Cold comfort  -  The Taming of the Shrew

Dead as a doornail  -  Henry VI: Part II

Eaten me out of house and home  -  Henry IV: Part II

Faint hearted  -  Henry VI: Part I

Fancy free  -  A Midsummer Night's Dream

For goodness sake  -  Henry VIII

Forgone conclusion  -  Othello

Heart of gold  -  Henry V

In my mind's eye  -  Hamlet

It's Greek to me  -  Julius Caesar

Jealousy is the green-eyed monster  -  Othello

Kill with kindness  -  The Taming of the Shrew

Laughing stock  -  The Merry Wives of Windsor

Lie low  -  Much Ado About Nothing

Love is blind  -  The Merchant of Venice

One fell swoop  -  Macbeth

Play fast and loose  -  King John

Pure as the driven snow  -  Hamlet

Refuse to budge an inch  -  Measure for Measure

Set my teeth on edge   -   Henry IV: Part I

Wear my heart upon my sleeve  -  Othello

Wild goose chase  -  Romeo and Juliet

You can have too much of a good thing  -  As You Like It

You've got to be cruel to be kind  -  Hamlet


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