Phrases Coined by Shakespeare

Shakespeare was a genius.

He was hailed as such even in his own lifetime, and in the 400 years since his death, his stature has only grown. But in addition to his famous plays and sonnets, Shakespeare 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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