…before you dismiss Shakespeare as a stodgy, boring alternative to more contemporary writers, remember that you have him to thank for the popularization following words…and around 1,700 in total!
Definition: Somewhat dark: not bright or sunny
Origin: “To gloom” was a verb that existed before Shakespeare converted the word into an adjective in a number of his plays.
Quote: “Forced in the ruthless, vast, and gloomy woods?” – Titus Andronicus
Definition: Bad in a way that seems foolish or silly
Origin: Derived from the verb “laugh.”
Quote: “Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.” – The Merchant of Venice
Definition: Large and impressively beautiful
Origin: From “majesty,” which appeared in the 1300s, meaning “greatness.” “Majestical” was first used in the 1570s.
Quote: “This is a most majestic vision” – The Tempest
Definition: Sad from being apart from other people
Origin: “Alone” was first shortened to “lone” in the 1400s.
Quote: “Believe’t not lightly – though I go alone / Like to a lonely dragon that his fen –Coriolanus
Definition: A quality of brightness and happiness that can be seen on a person’s face
Origin: Derived from the Latin “radiantem,” meaning “beaming.”
Quote: “For by the sacred radiance of the sun” – King Lear
Definition: Move or act with haste; rush
Origin: Likely derived from the verb “harry”
Quote: “Lives, honors, lands, and all hurry to loss.” – Henry VI Part 1
Definition: Freely giving or sharing money and other valuable things
Origin: From the Latin “generosus,” meaning “of noble birth.”
Quote: “Free me so far in your most generous thoughts / That I have shot mine arrow o’er the house / And hurt my brother.” – Hamlet
Definition:Careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to
Origin: From the Latin “frugi,” meaning “useful, proper, worthy, honest.”
Quote: “Chid I for that at frugal Nature’s frame?” – Much Ado About Nothing
Definition: Expressing criticism or disapproval
Origin: From the Latin “criticus,” which referred specifically to a literary critic.
Quote: “For I am nothing if not critical” – Othello
Definition: The activities that occur when people are developing a romantic relationship that could lead to marriage or the period of time when such activities occur
Origin: “Court” was first used to mean “woo” in the 1570s; prior, it was used to mean “king’s court, princely residence,” derived from the French “cort.”
Quote: “To courtship and such fair ostents of love” – The Merchant of Venice
Definition: Amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic
Origin: Derived from the Italian “zani,” which came from “Zanni,” a version of the name “Giovanni.”
Quote: “Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany” – Love’s Labour’s Lost
Definition: To take your clothes off
Origin: “Dress” comes from the Old French “dresser,” meaning “prepare, arrange, straighten, put right.” Shakespeare was the first to add the prefix “un-.”
Quote: “Madam, undress you and come now to bed.” – The Taming of the Shrew
Definition: To talk loudly and in a way that shows anger: to complain in a way that is unreasonable
Origin: Derived from the Dutch “randten,” meaning “talk foolishly.”
Quote:“I’ll rant as well as thou.” – Hamlet