William Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the English Renaissance. Many of his plays and poems remain popular to this day. His popular works include Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth and many more. But, did you know that he is also credited with inventing over 1 700 words?

But first…

Who is William Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom. He married a twenty-six-year-old Anne Hathaway when he was eighteen. Anne Hathaway was already pregnant with their first daughter, Susanna, at the time of their wedding ceremony. The couple’s marriage produced twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet’s life was cut short due to unknown causes when he was only eleven-years-old. He was buried on 11 August 1596.

It is not known when William Shakespeare began writing, but by 1592 his reputation was acknowledged in London. It is also not known when did he go to London and why he left Stratford-upon-Avon. In fact, nothing is known about William Shakepeare’s life between 1585 and 1592. These years are referred to as ‘The Lost Years’ by the scholars.

William Shakespeare’s first published poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece appeared in print in 1593 and 1594, respectively. He was also a founding member of a theoretical company, The Lord Chamberlains Men. Shakespeare was the company’s dramatist and produced two plays every year on averaging for nearly twenty-years.

William Shakespeare produce many of his most prominent tragedies such as Macbeth and King Lear. He also wrote exceptional romances such as The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale.

In all, William Shakespeare’s writings include 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 narrative poems and many other poems. His plays have produced numerous adaptations across different cultures and genres. William Shakespeare’s plays continue to make their presence felt on stage and film.

Now, the answer to the question.

Words Invented by William Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare’s plays and poems consist of more than 20 000 words. According to Shakespeare.org.uk, William Shakespeare’s writing supply the first recorded use of over 1700 words in English language. He is believed to have invented many of these words himself. William Shakespeare would combine words, change nouns into verbs, add prefixes and suffixes.

William Shakespeare may have passed on many years ago but we still use some of the words that he invented.

Below is the list of some William Shakespeare’s words that we still use and the plays that can be found in:
Bedroom: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, Scene 2.
Downstairs: Henry IV Part 1, Act 2 Scene 4.
Fashionable: Troilus and Cressida, Act 3 Scene 3.
Gossip: The Comedy of Errors, Act 5 Scene 1.
Kissing: Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 5 Scene 2
Alligator: Romeo and Juliet, Act 5 Scene 1.
Lonely: Coriolanus, Act 4 Scene 1.
Puppy dog: King John, Act 2 Scene 1.
Traditional: Richard III, Act 3 Scene 1.
Undress: The Taming of the Shrew, Induction Scene 2.

There are more William Shakespeare’s words that are commonly used today but not included in this list.

William Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer of all time. Many of the 1 700 words that we believe were invented by William Shakespeare were likely to have already been in use during the Elizabethan and Jacobean era. They were simply not recorded before William Shakespeare started using them in his works.

Did you know a novel without the letter ‘e’ exist? Read here to find out more.

Tell us: Do you know any other Shakespeare’s words?