There are few of us who haven’t heard of William Shakespeare, the famous 16th century English playwright. Most of us would even be able to name at least one of his most famous works. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet or Macbeth perhaps? Far fewer of us though would have claimed to have read one of his plays or been to see a performance. The archaic language makes comprehension difficult even for native English speakers.
However the language of Shakespeare may not be as out dated as it may at first appear. Many terms that Shakespeare either coined or popularised are still in common usage even today. The following is a list of our favourites:
‘In a pickle’ – To be in a difficult position (The Tempest)
‘Waiting with bated breath’ – To anticipate something with great eagerness ( The Merchant of Venice)
‘On a wild goose chase’ – A search for something that is difficult to find or doesn’t even exist (Romeo & Juliet)
‘The be-all and end-all’ – The only thing/person that matters (Macbeth)
‘A heart of gold’ A sincere, generous and kind nature (Henry V)
‘Fair play’ – Conformity to agreed rules or morally upright conduct (The Tempest)
A ‘Gossip’ – A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others (A Midnight Summer’s Dream)
‘Gloomy‘– Unhappy and without hope (Titus Andronicus)
And last but not least ‘Fashionable’ – Conforming to the current style or fashion (Troilus and Cressida)
Find out more about Shakespeare’s contribution to the English language.