We really do speak the language of Shakespeare today. You will be amazed at the expressions and words that we commonly use and are attributed to the great bard himself. The continued popularity of Shakespeare’s writing keeps 16th- and 17th-century words alive that might have otherwise faded into obscurity. Here are a selection …
PHRASES FIRST COINED BY SHAKESPEARE
|A fool’s paradise||–||Romeo and Juliet||
Nurse: Now, afore God, I am so vexed, that every part about me quivers. Scurvy knave! Pray you, sir, a word: and as I told you, my young lady bade me inquire you out; what she bade me say, I will keep to myself: but first let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool’s paradise, as they say, it were a very gross kind of behaviour, as they say: for the gentlewoman is young; and, therefore, if you should deal double with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.
|Bated breath||–||The Merchant of Venice||
Shylock: Go to then, you come to me, and you say, “Shylock, we would have moneys,” you say so. . . . Shall I bend low and in a bondman’s key, With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness, Say this: “Fair sir, you spet on me Wednesday last, You spurn’d me such a day, another time You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies I’ll lend you thus much moneys”?
|Come full circle||–||King Lear||
Edgar : The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices Make instruments to plague us: The dark and vicious place where thee he got Cost him his eyes. Edmund: Th’ hast spoken right, ’tis true. The wheel is come full circle, I am here.
|Neither a borrower nor a lender be||–||Hamlet||
Polonius: Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
|The world’s mine oyster||–||The Merry Wives of Windsor||
Falstaff : I will not lend thee a penny. Pistol : Why then the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.
|Wear my heart on my sleeve||–||Othello||
Iago : It is as sure as you are Roderigo, Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago. In following him, I follow but myself; Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, But seeming so, for my peculiar end; For when my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart In complement extern, ’tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
WORDS ATTRIBUTED TO SHAKESPEARE