Words > 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.

As You Like It

3. Puking

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.

As You Like It

4. Neither here nor there

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.

Antony and Cleopatra

6. Eaten out of house and home

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.

Henry IV, Part II

7. With bated breath

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'?

The Merchant of Venice

8. Too much of a good thing

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?

As You Like It

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.

The Tempest

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?

The Merry Wives of Windsor

11. Dead as a doornail

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

Henry VI, Part II

12. Lie low

If he could right himself with quarrelling,
Some of us would lie low.

Much Ado About Nothing

13. Not slept one wink

O gracious lady,
Since I received command to do this business
I have not slept one wink.


14. The world is my oyster

Why, then the world's mine oyster. Which I with
sword will open.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

15. Bedazzled

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.

The Taming of the Shrew

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.

The Merchant of Venice

17. The naked truth

The naked truth of it is: I have no shirt; I go woolward
for penance.

Love's Labour's Lost

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.

Henry IV

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.

The Tempest

20. Swagger

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.

Henry V

21. Own flesh and blood

I'll be sworn, if thou be
Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood.

The Merchant of Venice

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.

The Merchant of Venice

23. It's all Greek to me

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.

Julius Caesar

24. Give the devil his due

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

Henry IV, Part I

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?

Romeo and Juliet

26. Wear my heart on my sleeve

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.


27. Play fast and loose

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?

King John

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.

Richard II

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.

Julius Caesar

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.


33. As good luck would have it

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.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

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.

Much Ado About Nothing

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.


36. Neither a borrower nor a lender be

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!

The Tempest

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.

The Taming of the Shrew

39. Brevity is the soul of wit

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.

Richard III

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.

King John

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.

Julius Caesar

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.

Julius Caesar

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.

Henry VI, Part II

45. Faint-hearted

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.

Henry VI, Part I

46. Fancy-free

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.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

47. Forever and a day

ROSALIND: Now tell me how long you would have her, after you have
possess'd her.

ORLANDO: For ever and a day.

As You Like It

48. For goodness' sake

For goodness' sake, consider what you do;
How you may hurt yourself, ay, utterly
Grow from the King's acquaintance, by this carriage.

Henry VIII

49. Foregone conclusion

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.

King Lear

51. The game is afoot

Before the game is afoot thou still let'st slip.

Henry IV, Part I

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.

Troilus and Cressida

53. Jealousy is the green-eyed monster

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.

Henry V

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.

The Merchant of Venice

58. Set my teeth on edge

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.

Henry IV Part I

59. All's Well That Ends Well

Do you know any other phrases or words that Shakespeare coined?

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