William Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary, Words Introduced to ENglish Language

On William Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary, 400 Words He Introduced To The English Language

It’s been exactly 400 years since William Shakespeare made his final exeunt from this world, and we owe the incredible poet, playwright, and actor a lot in terms of the English language. The bard introduced some 1,700 words and new uses of words into our language during his short 52 years.

Most of Shakespeare’s works were developed between 1589 and 1613, including such infamous works as Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. Each of these works included a totally unique storyline as well as some of the most commonly used words in modern English vocabulary.

William Shakespeare was the author of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses. Most of his works were made famous while he was still living, but others weren't discovered until after his death. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
William Shakespeare was the author of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses. Most of his works were made famous while he was still living, but others weren’t discovered until after his death. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

To say that William Shakespeare had a way with words is an understatement. It’s more accurate to say that he paved the way into a broader, more prolific language that we know today. In honor of the 400th anniversary of William’s death, let’s look at 400 of the most commonplace words Shakespeare added to our English vocabulary.

  1. Academe
  2. Accessible
  3. Accommodation
  4. Accused
  5. Addiction
  6. Admirable
  7. Advertising
  8. Aerial
  9. Airless
  10. Amazement
  11. Anchovy
  12. Arch-villain
  13. Arouse
  14. Assassinate
  15. Assassination
  16. Auspicious
  17. Bachelorship
  18. Backing
  19. Bandit
  20. Barber
  21. Barefaced
  22. Baseless
  23. Batty
  24. Beached
  25. Beachy
  26. Bedazzle
  27. Bedroom
  28. Belly
  29. Belongings
  30. Besmirch
  31. Bet
  32. Birthplace
  33. Black-faced
  34. Blanket
  35. Bloodstained
  36. Bloodsucking
  37. Blushing
  38. Blusterer
  39. Bold-faced
  40. Braggartism
  41. Bump
  42. Buzzer
  43. Caked
  44. Candleholder
  45. Castigate
  46. Catlike
  47. Characterless
  48. Cheap
  49. Chimney
  50. Clangor
  51. Chapped
  52. Church-like
  53. Circumstantial
  54. Cold-blooded
  55. Coldhearted
  56. Compact
  57. Comply
  58. Compromise
  59. Consanguineous
  60. Control
  61. Countless
  62. Courtship
  63. Critic
  64. Critical
  65. Cruel-hearted
  66. Cudgel
  67. Dalmatian
  68. Dapple
  69. Dauntless
  70. Dawn
  71. Day’s work
  72. Deaths-head
  73. Deafening
  74. Defeat
  75. Denote
  76. Depositary
  77. Dewdrop
  78. Dexterously
  79. Disgraceful
  80. Dishearten
  81. Dislocate
  82. Distasteful
  83. Distrustful
  84. Dog-weary
  85. Domineering
  86. Downstairs
  87. Drugged
  88. Dwindle
  89. East Indies
  90. Educate
  91. Elbow
  92. Embrace
  93. Employer
  94. Employment
  95. Enfranchisement
  96. Engagement
  97. Enmesh
  98. Enrapt
  99. Enthrone
  100. Epileptic
  101. Equivocal
  102. Eventful
  103. Excitement
  104. Expedience
  105. Expertness
  106. Exposure
  107. Eyeball
  108. Eye-drop
  109. Eyewink
  110. Fair-faced
  111. Fairyland
  112. Fanged
  113. Farmhouse
  114. Far-off
  115. Fashionable
  116. Fashionmonger
  117. Fathomless
  118. Fat-witted
  119. Featureless
  120. Fiendlike
  121. Fitful
  122. Fixture
  123. Flawed
  124. Flirt-gill
  125. Flowery
  126. Fly-bitten
  127. Footfall
  128. Foppish
  129. Foregone
  130. Fortune-teller
  131. Foul mouthed
  132. Franciscan
  133. Freezing
  134. Fretful
  135. Frugal
  136. Full-grown
  137. Full-hearted
  138. Futurity
  139. Gallantry
  140. Garden house
  141. Generous
  142. Gentlefolk
  143. Gloomy
  144. Glow
  145. Gnarl
  146. Gnarled
  147. Go-between
  148. Gossip
  149. Grass plot
  150. Gravel-blind
  151. Gray-eyed
  152. Green-eyed
  153. Grief-shot
  154. Grime
  155. Grovel
  156. Gust
  157. Half-blooded
  158. Hedge-pig
  159. Hell-born
  160. Hinge
  161. Hint
  162. Hobnail
  163. Homely
  164. Hornbook
  165. Hostile
  166. Hot-blooded
  167. Howl
  168. Humor
  169. Hunchbacked
  170. Hurly
  171. Hurried
  172. Hurry
  173. Idle-headed
  174. Ill-tempered
  175. Ill-used
  176. Impartial
  177. Impede
  178. Import
  179. Inaudible
  180. Inauspicious
  181. Indirection
  182. Indistinguishable
  183. Inducement
  184. Informal
  185. Inlay
  186. Instate
  187. Investment
  188. Invitation
  189. Invulnerable
  190. Jaded
  191. Juiced
  192. Kitchen-wench
  193. Label
  194. Lackluster
  195. Ladybird
  196. Lament
  197. Land-rat
  198. Lapse
  199. Laughable
  200. Leaky
  201. Leapfrog
  202. Loggerhead
  203. Lonely
  204. Long-legged
  205. Love letter
  206. Luggage
  207. Lustrous
  208. Madcap
  209. Madwoman
  210. Majestic
  211. Malignancy
  212. Manager
  213. Marketable
  214. Marriage bed
  215. Metamorphose
  216. Militarist
  217. Mimic
  218. Misgiving
  219. Misquote
  220. Mockable
  221. Money’s worth
  222. Monumental
  223. Moonbeam
  224. Mortifying
  225. Motionless
  226. Mountaineer
  227. Muddy
  228. Multitudinous
  229. Neglect
  230. Negotiate
  231. Never-ending
  232. New-fangled
  233. Newsmonger
  234. Nimble-footed
  235. Noiseless
  236. Obscene
  237. Obsequiously
  238. Ode
  239. Offenseless
  240. Olympian
  241. Operate
  242. Outbreak
  243. Outsell
  244. Out-talk
  245. Out-villain
  246. Outweigh
  247. Overblown
  248. Over credulous
  249. Overgrowth
  250. Overpay
  251. Overpower
  252. Overrate
  253. Overview
  254. Pageantry
  255. Palate
  256. Pale-faced
  257. Pander
  258. Paternal
  259. Pebbled
  260. Pedant
  261. Pedantical
  262. Pendulous
  263. Perplex
  264. Petition
  265. Pignut
  266. Pious
  267. Please-man
  268. Plumpy
  269. Posture
  270. Prayerbook
  271. Premeditated
  272. Priceless
  273. Profitless
  274. Promethean
  275. Protester
  276. Published
  277. Puke
  278. Puking
  279. Puppy-dog
  280. Pushpin
  281. On purpose
  282. Quarrelsome
  283. In question
  284. Radiance
  285. Rant
  286. Rascally
  287. Rawboned
  288. Reclusive
  289. Reinforcement
  290. Reliance
  291. Remorseless
  292. Reprieve
  293. Resolve
  294. Restraint
  295. Retirement
  296. Reverb
  297. Revolting
  298. Reword
  299. Rival
  300. Roadway
  301. Roguery
  302. Rose-cheeked
  303. Rose-lipped
  304. Rumination
  305. Sanctimonious
  306. Sate
  307. Satisfying
  308. Savage
  309. Savagery
  310. Schoolboy
  311. Scrubbed
  312. Scuffle
  313. Seamy
  314. Secure
  315. Self-abuse
  316. Shipwrecked
  317. Shooting star
  318. Shudder
  319. Silliness
  320. Sire
  321. Skim milk
  322. Slugabed
  323. Sneak
  324. Soft-hearted
  325. Spectacled
  326. Spleenful
  327. Sportive
  328. Squabble
  329. Stealthy
  330. Stillborn
  331. Subcontract
  332. Successful
  333. Suffocating
  334. Sully
  335. Summit
  336. Supervise
  337. Swagger
  338. Tardiness
  339. Time-honored
  340. Title page
  341. Torture
  342. Traditional
  343. Tranquil
  344. Transcendence
  345. Trippingly
  346. Unaccommodated
  347. Unappeased
  348. Unchanging
  349. Unclaimed
  350. Uncomfortable
  351. Uncurl
  352. Undervalue
  353. Undress
  354. Unearthy
  355. Uneducated
  356. Unfrequented
  357. Ungoverned
  358. Unhappy
  359. Unhelpful
  360. Unhidden
  361. Unlicensed
  362. Unmitigated
  363. Unmusical
  364. Unpolluted
  365. Unpremeditated
  366. Unpublished
  367. Unquestionable
  368. Unquestioned
  369. Unreal
  370. Unrivaled
  371. Unscarred
  372. Unscratched
  373. Unsex
  374. Unsolicited
  375. Unsullied
  376. Unswayed
  377. Unvarnished
  378. Unwillingness
  379. Upstairs
  380. Unsolicited
  381. Unvarnished
  382. Useful
  383. Useless
  384. Valueless
  385. Varied
  386. Vaulting
  387. Vulnerable
  388. Watchdog
  389. Water drop
  390. Water fly
  391. Well-behaved
  392. Well-bred
  393. Well-educated
  394. Well-read
  395. Widen
  396. Wormhole
  397. Worn out
  398. Worthless
  399. Yelping
  400. Zany
Today, Shakespeare's writings are among the most commonly read works in the history of English. His overarching impact on the written word still entertains and enlightens people in contemporary times, which is something very few deceased authors can relate to. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)
Today, Shakespeare’s writings are among the most commonly read works in the history of English. His overarching impact on the written word still entertains and enlightens people in contemporary times, which is something very few deceased authors can relate to. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

William Shakespeare is unquestionably one of the most impactful writers in the history of the English language. Thanks to William’s inventiveness and dedication to his work, English is one of the most complex and intricate languages on the Earth today.

[Image via Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

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