32 Phrases You Use Invented by Shakespeare

November 26, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

William Shakespeare’s English may seem quite different from the language we use today, but many words and phrases we now use were created by the famed poet and playwright.

Some of the words first used by Shakespeare include excellent, dishearten, obscene, premeditated, accommodation, lonely, and the list goes on.

Critic Bernard Levin summed up in “Enthusiasms” (1983) some common phrases created by Shakespeare:

1. It’s Greek to me

2. Vanished into thin air

3. Budge an inch

4. Tongue-tied

5. Tower of strength

6. In a pickle

7. Knit your brows

8. Insist on fair play

9. Slept not one wink

10. Stand on ceremony

11. Laugh yourself into stitches

12. Short shrift

13. Too much of a good thing

14. Seen better days

15. Fool’s paradise

16. Be that as it may

17. Foregone conclusion

18. As luck would have it

19. It’s high time

20. That’s the long and the short of it

21. The game is up

22. Your own flesh and blood

23. Suspect foul play

24. Teeth set on edge

25. One fell swoop

26. Without rhyme or reason

27. Good riddance

28. Dead as a doornail

29. Eyesore

30. Laughing stock

31. For goodness’ sake

32. What the dickens

*Image of William Shakespeare via Shutterstock