Words, words, words: My 6 favorite Shakespeare “creations”

Yesterday was William Shakespeare’s birthday. So, of course, I decided to annoy everyone that I know all day long with incredibly awesome Shakespeare facts. I hope I enlightened them, and in return, they had a great time defriending me on Facebook.

Shakespeare coined nearly 1,700 words that we regularly use in our everyday language. The best part is that most people have no idea that their go-to favorite word first appeared in The Tempest. Or Hamlet. Or whichever else.

Below are my 5 favorite Shakespeare-coined words. Thanks to the awesome book Coined by Shakespeare by Jeffrey McQuain and Stanley Malless for giving me my references.


Eyeball (n): rounded capsule that forms the eye

I like it because seriously, no one thought to call the spherical organ from which humans see a “ball”? Eye has been around since Old English, so there really is no excuse.


Dawn (n): Sunrise

I like it because we use it all the time. The dawn is part of our day and has become so ingrained in our vernacular that it’s hard to believe it didn’t exist before WS decided to use it.


Swagger (v): to walk arrogantly

I like it because all the kids are saying it. “Swag” and all that. And I love throwing in their face that it was created by a 17th century playwright and not Lil Wayne.


Assassination (n): The murder of a usually prominent person

I like it because the word has such a powerful connotation that there is no mistaking what it means or who the victim is. Figures it got its start in Macbeth. 


Unclog (v): to free from a difficulty or obstruction

I like it because I find myself doing this a lot.


elbow(V): TO push or prod with or as if with one’s elbow

I like it because without Shakespeare, there would be one fewer hockey penalty.