An Illustrated Starter Guide to Phrases Coined by Shakespeare

Illustration of words and phrases coined by Shakespeare © Nathan Gelgud

Next time you’re at the local bar’s quiz night, and the question has something to do with state birds, guess cardinal. That is, if you’re otherwise unsure. Seven U.S. states use the cardinal for their representative plumed pal. Seven out of fifty odds isn’t bad for a guess.

Likewise, if you’re trying to guess who made up a certain word or phrase, guess William Shakespeare. The chances aren’t quite seven out of fifty, but they’re probably close. A quick internet search will turn up plenty of helpful lists of words and phrases invented by Shakespeare. Seriously, try it. We’re not sending you on some hopeless pursuit. In fact, since we’re feeling giving, and because you can always use more nice stuff, we offer you a starter guide with our own idiosyncratic take.

Or, in the Bard’s words, we should say: we’re not sending you on a wild goose chase, and since we’re feeling generous, and because you can’t have too much of a good thing, we offer you a starter guide with our own zany take.

Shakespeare Coined Phrases