Words, Words, Words

Your favorite hip hop artist's bumpin' slang may be off the chain, but no one has left a mark on the English language quite like Shakespeare did. The man deserves his own dictionary. Ya feel us, homeskillets?

AuthorIves - David Ives
FormPlay
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureBritish Literature

Transcript

00:21

It wasn't because he authored plays where characters drop like flies.

00:26

Nope. The reason why every English department in the country has a shrine dedicated to Shakespeare…

00:32

…is because the Bard of Avon had a gift for words.

00:36

Words, words, words. Shakespeare knew them backwards and forwards, and he used them in

00:40

a variety of ways.

00:41

For instance, he was famous for giving his characters dramatic speeches.

00:45

There’s the Saint Crispin's Day Speech in Henry V, where the title character rouses

00:51

his tired troops to kick French butt and take French names at the Battle of Agincourt.<<adj-in-court>>

00:57

Shakespeare’s sonnets, too, contain beautiful, poetic language that has appealed to romantics

01:02

for centuries.

01:03

His Sonnet 116, where he writes that “love is not love which alters when its alteration

01:09

finds”…

01:09

…was a central piece of dialogue in the 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility,

01:15

starring… Severus Snape and Professor Trelawney. Most incredibly, Shakespeare's gift for words

01:21

allowed him to create thousands of words and phrases that we still use today.

01:25

Now, we know what you're thinking: anyone can come up with a new word or phrase.

01:29

Didn't American soldiers during World War Two add FUBAR, SNAFU, and TARFU to the lexicon?

01:35

Didn't a BBC political satire invent the word “omnishambles?”

01:40

While it's true that new words and phrases regularly make their way into the English

01:43

language, the sheer number of Shakespeare's contributions is incredible.

01:49

Have you ever been “critical” or even a little “obscene”?

01:53

Have you ever thought that your “manager” wasn't very “fashionable?”

01:57

All Shakespeare words. That guy really knew how to string letters together.

02:01

Phrases, too, were a Shakespearean specialty, and you've probably used many of his creations

02:06

in everyday conversation.

02:08

Have you ever played “fast and loose” with the truth, like the time you told your

02:12

math teacher that the dog ate your homework?

02:15

Do you eat Thanksgiving dinner with your “flesh and blood”? Hopefully you don't eat them

02:21

for Thanksgiving. There are laws about that sort of thing.

02:26

“Fast and loose”, “flesh and blood”, “green-eyed jealousy”, “devil incarnate”,

02:31

“foul play”, and “one fell swoop”… all coined by Shakespeare.

02:35

So next time you think your Shakespeare-loving English teacher is living in a “fool's paradise”...

02:40

...think again. It's pretty much a “foregone conclusion” that you're quoting Shakespeare,

02:44

and that's… “the long and short of it”.