Words Shakespeare invented

Mary Campbell’s section in podcast number 220 ‘Disguisings’ about the word bump included a brief discussion about whether or not Shakespeare invented the word bump. Old Billy the Bard is credited with inventing a number of words, or using them for the first time in print. Mary put a list of the things together – it is pretty amazing. Here they are, below! Not all of them in daily use it has to be said…it’s been a while since I called anyone a lewdster. Though I shall endeavour to do so as soon as possible…

WORDS SHAKESPEARE INVENTED: According to shakespeare-online.com, “[Shakespeare] invented over seventeen hundred of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.”

The OED has verified the following words as originated or first used in print by Shakespeare:

academe lustihood
accessible lustrous
accommodation madcap
addiction (Shakespeare meant ‘tendency’) madwoman
admirable majestic
aerial (Shakespeare meant ‘of the air’) malignancy (Shakespeare meant ‘malign tendency’)
airless manager
amazement marketable
anchovy marriage bed
arch-villain militarist (Shakespeare meant ‘soldier’)
to arouse mimic (as a noun)
assassination misgiving (sense ‘uneasiness’)
auspicious misquote
bacheolorship (‘bachelorhood’) mockable (as ‘deserving ridicule’)
to barber money’s worth (‘money-worth’ dates from the 14th century)
barefaced monumental
baseless moonbeam
batty (Shakespeare meant ‘bat-like’) mortifying (as an adjective)
beachy (‘beach-covered’) motionless
to bedabble mountaineer (Shakespeare meant as ‘mountain-dweller’)
to bedazzle to muddy
bedroom (Shakespeare meant a ‘room in bed’) neglect (as a noun)
to belly (‘to swell’) to negotiate
belongings never-ending
to besmirch newsmonger
to bet nimble-footed
to bethump noiseless
birthplace nook-shotten (‘full of corners or angles’)
black-faced to numb
to blanket obscene (Shakespeare meant ‘revolting’)
bloodstained ode
bloodsucking to offcap (to ‘doff one’s cap’)
blusterer offenseful (meaning ‘sinful’)
bodikins (‘little bodies’) offenseless (‘unoffending’)
bold-faced Olympian (Shakespeare meant ‘Olympic’)
braggartism to operate
brisky oppugnancy (‘antagonism’)
broomstaff (‘broom-handle’) outbreak
budger (‘one who budges’) to outdare
bump (as a noun) to outfrown
buzzer (Shakespeare meant ‘tattle-tale’) to out-Herod
to cake to outscold
candle holder to outsell (Shakespeare meant ‘to exceed in value’)
to canopy to out-talk
to cater (as ‘to bring food’) to out-villain
to castigate to outweigh
catlike overblown (Shakespeare meant ‘blown over’)
to champion overcredulous
characterless overgrowth
cheap (in pejorative sense of ‘vulgar’) to overpay
chimney-top to overpower
chopped (Shakespeare meant ‘chapped’) to overrate
churchlike overview (Shakespeare meant as ‘supervision’)
circumstantial pageantry
cold-blooded to palate (Shakespeare meant ‘to relish’)
coldhearted pale-faced
compact (as noun ‘agreement’) to pander
to comply passado (a kind of sword-thrust)
to compromise (Shakespeare meant ‘to agree’) paternal
consanguineous pebbled
control (as a noun) pedant (Shakespeare meant a schoolmaster)
coppernose (‘a kind of acne’) pedantical
countless pendulous (Shakespeare meant ‘hanging over’)
courtship to perplex
to cow (as ‘intimidate’) to petition
critical pignut (a type of tuber)
cruelhearted pious
to cudgel please-man (a ‘yes-man’)
Dalmatian plumpy (‘plump’)
to dapple posture (Shakespeare seems to have meant ‘position’ or ‘positioning’)
dauntless prayerbook
dawn (as a noun) priceless
day’s work profitless
deaths-head Promethean
defeat (the noun) protester (Shakespeare meant ‘one who affirms’)
to denote published (Shakespeare meant ‘commonly recognized’)
depositary (as ‘trustee’) to puke
dewdrop puppy-dog
dexterously (Shakespeare spelled it ‘dexteriously’) pushpin (Shakespeare was referring to a children’s game)
disgraceful (Shakespeare meant ‘unbecoming’) on purpose
to dishearten quarrelsome
to dislocate in question (as in ‘the … in question’)
distasteful (Shakespeare meant ‘showing disgust’) radiance
distrustful to rant
dog-weary rascally
doit (a Dutch coin: ‘a pittance’) rawboned (meaning ‘very gaunt’)
domineering reclusive
downstairs refractory
East Indies reinforcement (Shakespeare meant ‘renewed force’)
to educate reliance
to elbow remorseless
embrace (as a noun) reprieve (as a noun)
employer resolve (as a noun)
employment restoration
enfranchisement restraint (as ‘reserve’)
engagement retirement
to enmesh to reverb (‘to re-echo’)
enrapt revokement (‘revocation’)
to enthrone revolting (Shakespeare meant as ‘rebellious’)
epileptic to reword (Shakespeare meant ‘repeat’)
equivocal ring carrier (a ‘go-between’)
eventful to rival (meaning to ‘compete’).
excitement (Shakespeare meant ‘incitement’) roadway
expedience roguery
expertness rose-cheeked
exposure rose-lipped
eyeball rumination
eyedrop (Shakespeare meant as a ‘tear’) ruttish
eyewink sanctimonious
fair-faced to sate
fairyland satisfying (as an adjective)
fanged savage (as ‘uncivilized’)
fap (‘intoxicated’) savagery
farmhouse schoolboy
far-off scrimer (‘a fence’)
fashionable scrubbed (Shakespeare meant ‘stunted’)
fashionmonger scuffle
fathomless (Shakespeare meant ‘too huge to be encircled by one’s arms’) seamy (‘seamed’) and seamy-side (Shakespeare meant ‘under-side of a garment’)
fat-witted to secure (Shakespeare meant ‘to obtain security’)
featureless (Shakespeare meant ‘ugly’) self-abuse (Shakespeare meant ‘self-deception’)
fiendlike shipwrecked (Shakespeare spelled it ‘shipwrackt’)
to fishify (‘turn into fish’) shooting star
fitful shudder (as a noun)
fixture (Shakespeare meant ‘fixing’ or setting ‘firmly in place’) silk stocking
fleshment (‘the excitement of first success’) silliness
flirt-gill (a ‘floozy’) to sire
flowery (‘full of florid expressions’) skimble-skamble (‘senseless’)
fly-bitten skim milk (in quarto; ‘skim’d milk’ in the Folio)
footfall slugabed
foppish to sneak
foregone soft-hearted
fortune-teller spectacled
foul mouthed spilth (‘something spilled’)
Franciscan spleenful
freezing (as an adjective) sportive
fretful to squabble
frugal stealthy
full-grown stillborn
fullhearted to subcontract (Shakespeare meant ‘to remarry’)
futurity successful
gallantry (Shakespeare meant ‘gallant people’) suffocating (as an adjective)
garden house to sully
generous (Shakespeare meant ‘gentle,’ ‘noble’) to supervise (Shakespeare meant ‘to peruse’)
gentlefolk to swagger
glow (as a noun) tanling (someone with a tan)
to glutton tardiness
to gnarl time-honored
go-between title page
to gossip (Shakespeare meant ‘to make oneself at home like a gossip—that is, a kindred spirit or a fast friend’) tortive (‘twisted’)
grass plot to torture
gravel-blind traditional (Shakespeare meant ‘tradition-bound’)
gray-eyed tranquil
green-eyed transcendence
grief-shot (as ‘sorrow-stricken’) trippingly
grime (as a noun) unaccommodated
to grovel unappeased
gust (as a ‘wind-blast’) to unbosom
half-blooded unchanging
to happy (‘to gladden’) unclaimed
heartsore uncomfortable (sense ‘disquieting’)
hedge-pig to uncurl
hell-born to undervalue (Shakespeare meant ‘to judge as of lesser value’)
to hinge to undress
hint (as a noun) unearthy
hobnail (as a noun) uneducated
homely (sense ‘ugly’) to unfool
honey-tongued unfrequented
hornbook (an ‘alphabet tablet’) ungoverned
hostile ungrown
hot-blooded to unhappy
howl (as a noun) unhelpful
to humor unhidden
hunchbacked unlicensed
hurly (as a ‘commotion’) unmitigated
to hurry unmusical
idle-headed to un muzzle
ill-tempered unpolluted
ill-used unpremeditated
impartial unpublished (Shakespeare meant ‘undisclosed’)
to impede unquestionable (Shakespeare meant ‘impatient’)
imploratory (‘solicitor’) unquestioned
import (the noun: ‘importance’ or ‘signifigance’) unreal
inaudible unrivaled
inauspicious unscarred
indirection unscratched
indistinguishable to unsex
inducement unsolicited
informal (Shakespeare meant ‘unformed’ or ‘irresolute’) unsullied
to inhearse (to ‘load into a hearse’) unswayed (Shakespeare meant ‘unused’ and ‘ungoverned’)
to inlay untutored
to instate (Shakespeare, who spelled it ‘enstate,’ meant ‘to endow’) unvarnished
inventorially (‘in detail’) unwillingness (sense ‘reluctance’)
investment (Shakespeare meant as ‘a piece of clothing’) upstairs
invitation unsolicited
invulnerable unvarnished
jaded (Shakespeare seems to have meant ‘contemptible’) useful
juiced (‘juicy’) useless
keech (‘solidified fat’) valueless
kickie-wickie (a derogatory term for a wife) varied (as an adjective)
kitchen-wench varletry
lackluster vasty
ladybird vulnerable
lament watchdog
land-rat water drop
to lapse water fly
laughable well-behaved
leaky well-bred
leapfrog well-educated
lewdster well-read
loggerhead (Shakespeare meant ‘blockhead’) to widen (Shakespeare meant ‘to open wide’)
lonely (Shakespeare meant ‘lone’) wittolly (‘contentedly a cuckhold’)
long-legged worn out (Shakespeare meant ‘dearly departed’)
love letter wry-necked (‘crook-necked’)
yelping (as an adjective)
zany (a clown’s sidekick or a mocking mimic)



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