The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Familiar Phrases First Penned by William Shakespeare

We all know William Shakespeare was an impressive wordsmith. However, did you know that the Bard of Avon also was the first to use ... in print ... a wide range of phrases we take for granted today. Here is a small sampling. For an excellent and much more comprehensive listing, go to:

  • All that glitters is not gold (The Merchant of Venice)
  • As good luck would have it (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
  • Bated breath (The Merchant of Venice)
  • Brave new world (The Tempest)
  • Crack of doom (Macbeth)
  • Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war (Julius Caesar)
  • Dead as a doornail (2 Henry VI)
  • Devil incarnate (Titus Andronicus / Henry V)
  • Eaten me out of house and home (2 Henry IV)
  • Elbow room (King John)
  • Faint hearted (I Henry VI)
  • Fancy-free (Midsummer Night's Dream)
  • The game is afoot (I Henry IV)
  • Good riddance (Troilus and Cressida
  • Heart of gold (Henry V)
  • Hoist with his own petard (Hamlet)
  • In a pickle (The Tempest)
  • Infinite space (Hamlet)
  • Jealousy is the green-eyed monster (Othello)
  • Kill with kindness (Taming of the Shrew)
  • Knit brow (The Rape of Lucrece)
  • Laughing stock (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
  • Love is blind (Merchant of Venice)
  • Melted into thin air (The Tempest)
  • Milk of human kindness (Macbeth)
  • Naked truth (Love's Labours Lost)
  • Neither rhyme nor reason (As You Like It)
  • Once more into the breach (Henry V)
  • One fell swoop (Macbeth)
  • Pitched battle (Taming of the Shrew)
  • Play fast and loose (King John)
  • Quality of mercy is not strained (The Merchant of Venice)
  • Seen better days (As You Like It? Timon of Athens?)
  • Star-crossed lovers (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Tell truth and shame the devil (1 Henry IV)
  • Trippingly on the tongue (Hamlet)
  • Violent delights have violent ends (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Wear my heart upon my sleeve (Othello)
  • Wild-goose chase (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Yeoman's service (Hamlet)
It's quite a list. There are lots more at the site address given above.

However, to prove that even Billy S. could have a bad day, here's one more:

  • Knock knock! Who's there? (Macbeth)

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