Increasingly efficient search technologies mean that the number of words Shakespeare is believed to have invented declines each year as earlier sources are found. However, there are as many as 400 words which Shakespeare may have invented himself. Estimates of the number of words Shakespeare invented vary from over 1,700 to about 400. Furthermore, increasingly efficient search technologies cause the number of original coinages attributed to Shakespeare to decline with each passing year as earlier attributions are discovered. Should one count the words Shakespeare used as verbs when they had only previously been used as nouns? In many cases, scholars do not know if Shakespeare actually invented these phrases or if they were already in use during his lifetime. Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and five poetry collections, writing a total of 17,677 unique words. Log in here. That doesn’t mean that all 1,700 were invented by Shakespeare: he was just the first person we know of to use them in print. from Oxford University Ph.D. from St. Andrews University, Top subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics. The Shakespearean vocabulary is exceptionally large, comprising over 20,000 words. My, what a perfectly round number! Many of which we still use today. What’s done is done.”, According to Dictionary.com, today “what’s done is done” means, “There is no changing something; it’s finished or final.”, “Or Shall I bend low, and in a bondman’s key,With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness,Say this…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “with bated breath” means, “In a nervous and excited state anticipating what will happen.”, “Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight (zany,)Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick…”, According to Merriam-Webster, today “zany” is defined as, “A slavish follower : toady.”. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. He did this by combining words, changing nouns into verbs, adding prefixes or suffixes, and so on. Allurement – refers to enticement, appeal, or attraction. Compiling a definitive list of every word that Shakespeare ever invented is impossible. How many words? Dishearten. Across all of his written works, it’s estimated that words invented by Shakespeare number as many as 1,700. Laughable. Should we count words invented and then forgotten? https://academichelp.net/blog/the-words-shakespeare-invented.html Explore 40 common words and phrases Shakespeare invented. Find out why William Shakespeare is credited with adding 1700 words and phrases to the English language, and which of his creations made our top 10 list. Words Shakespeare Invented The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. According to King Henry V, no one should show fear as it could ‘dishearten’ his army. For years, Shakespeare has been thought to deploy greater linguistic variety than contemporaries like Marlowe, Kyd, and Jonson; scholars have estimated that he coined as many as 1,700 words… Does it count to introduce a foreign word into English? In fact, it is almost impossible to identify when a word or phrase was first used, but Shakespeare’s plays often provide the earliest citation. It appears in a list of words in Richard Mulcaster’s Elementarie, in 1582 (sandwiched between hurlebat and hurt), and also may be found in numerous other works before Shakespeare used it. But creating a list of the words that Shakespeare almost certainly invented can be done. Within his body of work, at least 40 plays and 154 sonnets, he created a number of terms like “mered,” “rigol,” and “relume,” words that never quite gained traction. 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