Speak the Speech

April 23, 2010 by  
Filed under My Writing

Extra credit points go out to Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley for declaring April 23rd as “Talk Like Shakespeare” day!   Today marks the bard’s 446th birthday and what better way to celebrate this wordsmith’s life.
After all, Shakespeare used 19,000 words in his plays alone. This count doesn’t even include his sonnets. According to an unidentified source I’ve been using for quite some time in the classrom – to give perspective – most of us use about 2,800 in our regular conversation and writing. The man was a word lover, a word builder – and we still use the words he built.  We don’t know, for sure, that Shakespeare originated these words, only that they are recorded for the first time in one of his plays; regardless, his use of them prompted their evolvement.  Here is a smattering ~


FRUGAL = used for the first time in Merry Wives of Windsor in 1600.

LONELY = used for the first time in Coriolanus in 1608.

ANIMAL = used for the first time in Richard II in 1595.

PREMEDITATED = used for the first time in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1595.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL = used for the first time in As You Like It in 1600

The list could go on and on.

Interesting, too, are Shakespeare-created words that have not lasted.  Here are a few:

SMILET = a little smile 🙂  GG loves this one!


RAZORABLE = adjective for a boy about ready to be shaved

Perhaps some of them can still become part of our language.  Wouldn’t it be fun to notice a SMILET on someone’s face, or to note (with a smirk) that young Jimmy is almost RAZORABLE?

So remember, on April 23rd . . . . . Speak the speech, I pray thee.


Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon!

Chicago Tribune announcement