As if all of the words Shakespeare invented were not enough, he also put common words together to make up phrases new to the English language. Many of these phrases Shakespeare invented are still commonly used, and include the phrases below:

  • all that glitters isn’t gold
  • barefaced
  • be all and end all
  • break the ice
  • breathe one’s last
  • brevity is the soul of wit
  • catch a cold
  • clothes make the man
  • disgraceful conduct
  • dog will have his day
  • eat out of house and home
  • elbowroom
  • fair play
  • fancy-free
  • flaming youth
  • foregone conclusion
  • frailty, thy name is woman
  • give the devil his due
  • green eyed monster
  • heart of gold
  • heartsick
  • hot-blooded
  • housekeeping
  • it smells to heaven
  • it’s Greek to me
  • lackluster
  • leapfrog
  • live long day
  • long-haired
  • method in his madness
  • mind’s eye
  • ministering angel
  • more sinned against than sinning
  • naked truth
  • neither a borrower nor a lender be
  • one fell swoop
  • pitched battle
  • primrose path
  • strange bedfellows
  • the course of true love never did run smooth
  • the lady doth protest too much
  • the milk of human kindness
  • to thine own self be true
  • too much of a good thing
  • towering passion
  • wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve
  • witching time of the night

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5 replies
  1. James Sims
    James Sims says:

    How about some more from Hamlet? ‘Something is rotten in Denmark’ from “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” ‘Method in his madness’ is a paraphrase of “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” ‘Piece of work’ from “What a piece of work is a man…” “Sweets to the sweet.”
    How many motion picture titles can you find from Hamlet’s 3rd soliloquy? 4 come immediately to mind…”To Be or Not to Be” (1983), “Outrageous Fortune” (1987). Star Trek VI “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). “What dreams May Come” (1998).

    • S. Lamarque
      S. Lamarque says:

      Yes, you’re right! Than you for pointing it out; it really irritates me when this one is misquoted.

      The Merchant of Venice: Act 2, Sc.7, line 65.
      Prince of Morocco
      All that glisters is not gold.


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