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We all know Shakespeare as a timeless playwright, but did you know that he’s also famous for his endlessly imaginative creation of words?

From swagger to unreal, read our favorite words coined by Shakespeare in this spoken English online lesson!

You might be thinking, how did Shakespeare get credit for inventing words like swagger and arch-villain? Well, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the dictionary renowned for recording the origin of English words, dedicates time to reading a ton of books, articles and scripts to find the first recorded use of a word. Many of Shakespeare’s inventions in this spoken English online have become natural in everyday language.

It turns out that Shakespeare’s scripts contain over 2200 never-before-seen words. 1700 of them which are mindlessly used in everyday conversation. Shakespeare played with language made up new words by loaning words from other languages, changing nouns into verbs and verbs into adjectives, adding prefixes and suffixes and connecting random words together.

Spoken English Online by Shakespeare

It’s hard to know whether Shakespeare was the first to use these words, but in most cases he is believed to be the first to record them in writing. Out of the 2200 words coined by Shakespeare, here‘s our pick of the most amusing ones:

Spoken English Online Word #1: Swagger

Meaning: Walk or behave in a very confident, arrogant or self-important way or attitude.

Synonyms: Style, cool, stroll, prance, pose, stride

Year: 1599 / 1596

Play: Henry V, Act II, Scene iv / A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act III, Scene I

Spoken English Online Word #2: Arch-villain

Meaning: A villain is a character with evil motives, whose evil actions are important to the plot. An arch-villain is an extreme villain, the master of all evil characters. (The Joker in Batman, Voldemort in Harry Potter, Professor Zoom in Flash)

Synonyms: Archenemies

Year: 1623

Play: Timon of Athens, Act V, Scene 1

Spoken English Online Word #3: Eventful

Meaning: Marked by interesting or exciting events, one after another.

Synonyms: Lively, full, active, action-packed

Year: 1623

Play: As You Like It, Act II, Scene Vii.

Spoken English Online Word #4: Fashionable

Meaning: Influenced by or representing the current style.

Synonyms: Stylish, modern, trendy, popular

Year: 1602

Play: Troilus And Cressida, Act III, Scene iii.

Spoken English Online Word #5: Rant

Meaning: To talk loudly and fast in an impassioned way that is unreasonable or unclear, usually expressing anger or disappointment

Synonyms: Go on and on, shout, yell

Year: 1602

Play: Hamlet, Act V, Scene i

Are you interested in having Skype spoken English online lessons? Send us an email at [email protected] for more information.

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