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We’re all speaking Shakespeare’s language

Grace Procter • 21st April


It might not come as much of a surprise to you to learn that we’re pretty fond of the English language here at Words&Pictures – after all, it does make up one half of the two things we do best!

It’s true, though, that our love for language might not be quite so intense if it wasn’t for the way one particular playwright from Stratford-upon-Avon shaped it forever. That’s right…we’re talking about our old friend Shakey. Although you might know him better as the legendary William Shakespeare.

There are dozens and dozens of phrases that have now become so commonly used in English that we don’t always realise they started out life as a line in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

So, with April 23 marking the anniversary of his birth (and death), we’ve put together a list of 23 phrases he coined that may just surprise you… 

A wild goose chase

Dead as a doornail

The world’s my oyster

There’s method in my madness

Wear your heart on your sleeve

The naked truth

Good riddance

Green-eyed monster

It’s Greek to me

Fair play / foul play

In a pickle

Fight fire with fire

Love is blind

Neither rhyme nor reason

Kill with kindness

Too much of a good thing

Knock, knock! Who’s there?

All of a sudden

The long and short of it

You’ve got to be cruel to be kind

Night owl

What’s done is done 

Oh, and he also invented the word ‘puking’ apparently. Bravo, Shakey, bravo.

01943 854 800

Words&Pictures (Commercial) Ltd
The Editorial Design Centre
Wharfebank House
Ilkley Road
LS21 3JP