In all of his work – the plays, the sonnets and the narrative poems – Shakespeare uses 17,677 words. Of those words, Shakespeare ‘invented’ an incredible 1,700 of them! We say invented, though in reality  many of these 1,700 words would likley have been in common parlance, just not written down prior to Shakespeare. Historian Jonathan Hope also points out that Victorian scholars who read texts for the first edition of the Oxford English Dicitonary read Shakespeare’s texts more thoroughly than most, and cited him more often, meaning Shakespeare is often credited with the first use of words which can be found in other writers.

That said, it is Shakespeare who is credited with bringing into usage the below list of words that we still use in our daily speech – some of them frequently.

accommodation

aerial

amazement

apostrophe

assassination

auspicious

baseless

bloody

bump

castigate

changeful

clangor

control (noun)

countless

courtship

critic

critical

dexterously

dishearten

dislocate

dwindle

eventful

exposure

fitful

frugal

generous

gloomy

gnarled

hurry

impartial

inauspicious

indistinguishable

invulnerable

lapse

laughable

lonely

majestic

misplaced

monumental

multitudinous

obscene

palmy

perusal

pious

premeditated

radiance

reliance

road

sanctimonious

seamy

sportive

submerge

suspicious

Along with these everyday words, Shakespeare also used a number of words in his plays that never quite caught on in the same way… words like ‘Armgaunt’, ‘Eftes’, ‘Impeticos’, ‘Insisture’, ‘Pajock’, ‘Pioned’ ‘Ribaudred’ and ‘Wappened’. We do have some ideas as to what these words may mean, though much is guesswork. Watch the video below for more insight into Shakespeare’s words that have been lost in the midst of time:

Read phrases that Shakespeare invented >>

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33 replies
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  1. ayad hammad
    ayad hammad says:

    I do not know how to thank the site’s creator because this site helped me too muchhhhhhh in writing and finishing up the paper about literary pragmatics ( The Speech Act Analysis of ……). Once more thanks for the site’s creator.

    Reply
  2. Chelsea
    Chelsea says:

    Hi. I’m pretty sure that Shakespeare did not invent the word “pious” as Plato (a philosopher) used it in a few of his dialogues way before Shakespeare was even born. Just letting you know 🙂

    Btw, Shakespeare is awesome <3

    Reply
  3. Sergio Morales
    Sergio Morales says:

    Of those words I used 31 today alone! All the words he invented are very common espicially aerial, suspicious, and lonely.

    Reply
  4. Lily Jew
    Lily Jew says:

    I absolutely love shakespeare he is such an inspirational character to me and he is the one I wake up in the morning for although this isn’t good information.

    Reply
  5. Elahe
    Elahe says:

    i love Shakespeare, he was a genius without university education!
    would you tell me which one of his neologism is utilised just in his sonnets?
    i need it for a research.
    thanks so much.

    Reply
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