Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things we say today that we owe to Shakespeare

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Regardless of your opinion of the Bard’s works, the very fact that he’s single-handedly responsible for a vast chunk of the modern English language ought to afford him a fair bit of respect. Here’s a list of only a few of the phrases and idioms that can reportedly be traced back directly to him:

THINGS WE SAY TODAY WHICH WE OWE TO SHAKESPEARE: “Knock knock! Who’s there?” “Heart of gold” “Set your teeth on edge” “Faint-hearted” “So-so” “Good riddance” “Fight fire with fire” “Seen better days” “Too much of a good thing” “Send him packing” “Wear your heart on your sleeve” “Not slept one wink” “Come what may” “The game is up” “For goodness’s sake” “What’s done is done” “Full circle” “Laughing stock” “Baited breath” “Green eyed monster” “Vanish into thin air” “Be all/end all” “Out of the jaws of death” “Dead as a doornail” “In a pickle” “Fair play/foul play” “Brave new world” “Makes your hair stand on end” “Beak the ice” “Breathed his last” “The world is my oyster” “Wild goose chase” “Off with his head” “Lie low” “Love is blind” “Heart of hearts” “A sorry sight” “A piece of work”

I Googled a few of these and their earliest citations were indeed found in works by Shakespeare, so it seems to bear true. Utterly unsurprising, though still damned impressive. How many words have you invented lately, ya lazy scallywag?

(via Joe. My. God.)