The Free Dictionary Blog > 59 times you quoted Shakespeare without knowing it
59 times you quoted Shakespeare without knowing it
Do you know how many words Shakespeare invented? Take a look at this list of William Shakespeare quotes and you'll find 59 phrases and words coined by Shakespeare that have lived on in our everyday speech. It's a long list, but you can't have too much of a good thing!
1. Knock knock! Who's there?
- Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of Hell
- Gate, he should have old turning the key. [Knocking within.]
- Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of Belzebub? Here's
- a farmer that hanged himself on th' expectation of plenty. Come
- in time! Have napkins enow about you; here you'll sweat fort.
- [Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Who's there, in th' other
- devil's name?
2. All the world's a stage
- All the world's a stage,
- And all the men and women merely players;
- They have their exits and their entrances;
- And one man in his time plays many parts,
- His acts being seven ages.
- At first the infant,
- Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
- Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
- And shining morning face, creeping like snail
- Unwillingly to school.
- DESDEMONA: [Sings.] "I call'd my love false love; but what said he then?
- Sing willow, willow, willow.
- If I court moe women, you'll couch with moe men-"
- So get thee gone; good night. Mine eyes do itch;
- Doth that bode weeping?
EMILIA: 'Tis neither here nor there.
5. Salad days
- My salad days,
- When I was green in judgment, cold in blood,
- To say as I said then. But come, away!
- Get me ink and paper.
- He shall have every day a several greeting,
- Or I'll unpeople Egypt.
- It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all—ll I have.
- He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my
- substance into that fat belly of his. But I will have some of it
- out again, or I will ride thee a nights like a mare.
- Shall I bend low and, in a bondman's key,
- With bated breath and whisp'ring humbleness,
- Say this:
- 'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last,
- You spurn'd me such a day; another time
- You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
- I'll lend you thus much moneys'?
- Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? Come,
- sister, you shall be the priest, and marry us. Give me your hand,
- Orlando. What do you say, sister?
9. Such stuff as dreams are made on
- We are such stuff
- As dreams are made on; and our little life
- Is rounded with a sleep.
10. What the dickens
- I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my
- husband had him of. What do you call your knight's
- name, sirrah?
- Brave thee? Ay, by the best blood that ever was broach'd, and
- beard thee too. Look on me well: I have eat no meat these five
- days, yet come thou and thy five men and if I do not leave you
- all as dead as a door-nail, I pray God I may never eat grass
12. Lie low
- If he could right himself with quarrelling,
- Some of us would lie low.
13. Not slept one wink
- O gracious lady,
- Since I received command to do this business
- I have not slept one wink.
- Why, then the world's mine oyster. Which I with
- sword will open.
- Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes,
- That have been so bedazzled with the sun
- That everything I look on seemeth green;
- Now I perceive thou art a reverend father.
- Pardon, I pray thee, for my mad mistaking.
16. A pound of flesh
- Tarry a little; there is something else.
- This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood:
- The words expressly are "a pound of flesh."
- Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
- But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
- One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
- Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
- Unto the state of Venice.
17. The naked truth
- The naked truth of it is: I have no shirt; I go woolward
- for penance.
18. Send him packing
- FALSTAFF: What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight? Shall I give him
- his answer?
- PRINCE: Prithee do, Jack.
- FALSTAFF: Faith, and I'll send him packing.
19. Thin air
- Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
- As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
- Are melted into air, into thin air;
- And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
- The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
- The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
- Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
- And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
- Leave not a rack behind.
- An't please your Majesty, a rascal that swagger'd with me
- last night; who, if 'a live and ever dare to challenge this
- glove, I have sworn to take him a box o' th' ear; or if I can see
- my glove in his cap—which he swore, as he was a soldier, he
- would wear if alive—I will strike it out soundly.
- I'll be sworn, if thou be
- Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood.
22. Truth will out
- Give me your blessing;
- truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
- may, but in the end truth will out.
- I'll ne'er look you i' the face
- again; but those that understood him smiled at one another and
- shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me.
- Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his
- bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs. He will give
- the devil his due.
25. Wild-goose chase
- Nay, if our wits run the wild-goose chase, I am done; for thou
- hast more of the wild goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I
- have in my whole five. Was I with you there for the goose?
- For when my outward action doth demonstrate
- The native act and figure of my heart
- In complement extern, 'tis not long after
- But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
- For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
- Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,
- Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
- As now again to snatch our palm from palm,
- Unswear faith sworn, and on the marriage-bed
- Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
- And make a riot on the gentle brow
- Of true sincerity?
28. Spotless reputation
- Take but my shame,
- And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
- The purest treasure mortal times afford
- Is spotless reputation; that away,
- Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.
- A jewel in a ten-times barr'd-up chest
- Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
29. One fell swoop
- He has no children. All my pretty ones?
- Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
- What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
- At one fell swoop?
30. Come what may
- Come what come may,
- Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
31. Livelong day
- O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
- Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
- Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,
- To towers and windows, yea, to chimney tops,
- Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
- The livelong day with patient expectation
- To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
32. All our yesterdays
- Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
- Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
- To the last syllable of recorded time;
- And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
- The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
- Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
- That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
- And then is heard no more. It is a tale
- Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- Signifying nothing.
- As good luck would have it, comes
- in one Mistress Page, gives intelligence of Ford's approach;
- and, in her invention and Ford's wife's distraction, they
- convey'd me into a buck-basket.
34. As merry as the day is long
- So deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter—for the heavens.
- He shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry
- as the day is long.
35. The be-all and the end-all
- If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
- It were done quickly. If the assassination
- Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
- With his surcease, success; that but this blow
- Might be the be-all and the end-all—here,
- But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
- We'ld jump the life to come.
- Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
- For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
- And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
37. Brave new world
- O, wonder!
- How many goodly creatures are there here!
- How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
- That has such people in't!
38. Break the ice
- If it be so, sir, that you are the man
- Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest;
- And if you break the ice, and do this feat,
- Achieve the elder, set the younger free
- For our access- whose hap shall be to have her
- Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.
- Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
- And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
- I will be brief: your noble son is mad.
40. Now is the winter of our discontent
- Now is the winter of our discontent
- Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
- And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
- In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
41. Cold comfort
- Poison'd-ill-fare! Dead, forsook, cast off;
- And none of you will bid the winter come
- To thrust his icy fingers in my maw,
- Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
- Through my burn'd bosom, nor entreat the north
- To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips
- And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much;
- I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait
- And so ingrateful you deny me that.
42. A dish fit for the gods
- O, that we then could come by Caesar's spirit,
- And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
- Caesar must bleed for it! And, gentle friends,
- Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully;
- Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
- Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds;
- And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,
- Stir up their servants to an act of rage
- And after seem to chide 'em.
43. The dogs of war
- All pity choked with custom of fell deeds,
- And Caesar's spirit ranging for revenge,
- With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
- Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
- Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,
- That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
- With carrion men, groaning for burial.
44. Let's kill all the lawyers
- DICK: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
- CADE: Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that
- of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? That
- parchment, being scribbl'd o'er, should undo a man? Some say the
- bee stings; but I say 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal once
- to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.
- Faint-hearted Woodville, prizest him fore me?
- Arrogant Winchester, that haughty prelate
- Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne'er could brook!
- Thou art no friend to God or to the King.
- Open the gates, or I'll shut thee out shortly.
- That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
- Flying between the cold moon and the earth
- Cupid, all arm'd; a certain aim he took
- At a fair vestal, throned by the west,
- And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
- As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
- But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
- Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon;
- And the imperial vot'ress passed on,
- In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
- ROSALIND: Now tell me how long you would have her, after you have
- possess'd her.
- ORLANDO: For ever and a day.
- For goodness' sake, consider what you do;
- How you may hurt yourself, ay, utterly
- Grow from the King's acquaintance, by this carriage.
- But this denoted a foregone conclusion.
- 'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.
50. Full circle
- Th' hast spoken right; 'tis true.
- The wheel is come full circle; I am here.
51. The game is afoot
Before the game is afoot thou still let'st slip.
52. Good riddance
- THERSITES: I will see you hang'd like clotpoles ere I come any more
- to your tents. I will keep where there is wit stirring, and leave
- the faction of fools
- PATROCLUS: A good riddance.
- O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
- It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock
- The meat it feeds on.
54. Heart of gold
- The King's a bawcock and a heart of gold,
- A lad of life, an imp of fame;
- Of parents good, of fist most valiant.
- I kiss his dirty shoe, and from heart-string
- I love the lovely bully.
55. In my heart of hearts
- Those blood and judgment are so well commingled
- That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
- To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
- That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
- In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,
- As I do thee. Something too much of this I
- There is a play to-night before the King.
56. In my mind's eye
- HAMLET: My father—methinks I see my father.
- HORATIO: O, where, my lord?
- HAMLET: In my mind's eye, Horatio.
57. Love is blind
- I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
- For I am much asham'd of my exchange;
- But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
- The pretty follies that themselves commit,
- For, if they could, Cupid himself would blush
- To see me thus transformed to a boy.
- I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn'd
- Or a dry wheel grate on the axletree,
- And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
- Nothing so much as mincing poetry.
- 'Tis like the forc'd gait of a shuffling nag.
Do you know any other phrases or words that Shakespeare coined?
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