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Did Shakespeare Really Invent New Words?

English playwright William Shakespeare invented new words in the 16th and 17th centuries that became commonly used in modern English, with an estimated 1,700 words whose origins are traced back to his works. Shakespeare did not necessarily come up with completely new words, but rather he tended to add prefixes or suffixes to already established words or change nouns into verbs, or vice versa. Examples of words first used in Shakespeare’s works include assassination, disheartened, inaudible and uncomfortable. Some historians believe that Shakespeare might not have been the one to invent the words but simply was the first to record words that previously had been used only orally.

More about William Shakespeare:

  • Shakespeare was an entrepreneur who made money off lucrative real estate investments. Some historians believe this is why he was able to spend so much time writing.
  • There is a period of seven years of Shakespeare’s life after the birth of his twins in 1585 during which there are no records of him and are referred to as “the lost years.” It is not known what he was doing at that time.
  • Shakespeare has no descendants because his only grandchild, a granddaughter named Elizabeth, died in 1670 without having children.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon359232 — On Dec 16, 2013

Is there a list of all those words invented by Shakespeare?

By anon359221 — On Dec 16, 2013

When a person has an internal strong desire to do something completely different than the ordinary to benefit his own life and society in general, he/she tends to invent and create a world of invention in his line of work. By doing so, you may be successful to leave behind a wealth of knowledge that may help your environment and people in broad-spectrum in many ways possible. Shakespeare’s unique usage of the English language, and adopting common words as a classic vocabulary to use, gave a different ring, taste and great resources to the language. In turn, his valuable work has become as a notable usage of the English language for generation to appreciate and follow.

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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