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40 Words You Can Trace Back To William Shakespeare

The first recorded use of hundreds of words can be found in the plays of the Bard. Here are just a few of the terms he coined, according to the OED.

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1. Eyeball.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act III, Scene ii.

2. Puking.


As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii.

3. Obscene.


Love’s Labours Lost, Act I, Scene i.

4. Cold-blooded.


King John, Act III, Scene i.

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5. Hot-blooded.


King Lear, Act II, Scene iv.

6. Epileptic.


King Lear, Act II, Scene ii.

Scott Barbour / Getty Images

7. Addiction.


Othello, Act II, Scene ii.

8. Arch-villain.


Timon Of Athens, Act V, Scene i.

9. Assassination.


Macbeth, Act I, Scene vii.

10. Bedazzled.


The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Scene v.

Scott Barbour / Getty Images

11. Belongings.


Measure For Measure, Act 1, Scene i.

12. Dishearten.


Henry V, Act IV, Scene i.

13. Eventful.


As You Like It, Act II, Scene Vii.

14. Fashionable.


Troilus And Cressida, Act III, Scene iii.

15. Inaudible.


All’s Well That Ends Well, Act V, Scene iii.

16. Ladybird.


Romeo And Juliet, Act 1, Scene iii.

17. Manager.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V, Scene i.

18. New-fangled.


Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act I, Scene i.

19. Pageantry.


Pericles, Act V, Scene ii.

20. Scuffle.


Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, Scene i.

21. Swagger.


Henry V, Act II, Scene iv.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

22. Uncomfortable.


Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene v.

23. Bloodstained.


Titus Andronicus, Act II, Scene iii.

24. Laughable.


The Merchant Of Venice, Act I, Scene i.

25. Negotiate.


Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Scene i.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

26. Outbreak.


Hamlet, Act II, Scene i.

27. Rant.


Hamlet, Act V, Scene i.<.small>

Photo by Graeme Robertson / Getty Images

28. Marketable.


As You Like It, Act I, Scene ii.

29. Savagery.


King John, Act IV, Scene iii.

30. Jaded.


King Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene i.

31. Zany.


Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act V, Scene ii.

Copyright of the Governors of Stonyhurst College

32. Dawn.


Henry V, Act IV prologue.

Photo by Graeme Robertson / Getty Images

33. Grovel.


Henry IV, Part II, Act I, Scene iv.

34. Moonbeam.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act III, Scene i.

35. Torture.


King Henry VI, Part II, Act II, Scene i.

Photo by Graeme Robertson / Getty Images

36. Lonely.


Coriolanus, Act Iv, Scene i.

37. Gnarled.


Measure For Measure, Act II, Scene ii.

38. Mimic.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act III, Scene ii.

Photo by Graeme Robertson / Getty Images

39. Pedant.


The Taming Of The Shrew, Act III, Scene i.

40. Unreal.


Macbeth, Act III, Scene iv.

Note: these are all Shakespeare’s coinages according to the OED. That doesn’t necessarily mean he invented every word, merely that in each case, the first recorded written usage was in one of his plays.

UPDATE: The original version of this post, using Shakespeare Online as a source, contained words whose derivation is disputed. These disputed words have been removed.

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