Words and Expressions Invented by William Shakespeare

While William Shakespeare is best known for his plays and poems, he was also a prolific creator of new words and expressions. He was a master of new word creation.

Word Creation by William Shakespeare

Here are a few of the common words and expressions first used by William Shakespeare — words and expressions we now use every day:

Baited breath.

Be all, end all.

Brave new world.

Break the ice.

Breathed his last.

Come what may.

Dead as a door nail.

Faint hearted.

Fair play, foul play.

Fight fire with fire.

For goodness sake.

Full circle.

The game is up.

Good riddance.

Green-eyed monster.

Heart of gold.

Heart of hearts.

In a pickle.

Knock, knock, who’s there?


Lie low.

Love is blind.

Makes your hair stand on end.

Naked truth.

Not sleep one wink.

Off with his head.

Out of the jaws of death.

A piece of work.

Seen better days.

Send him packing.

Set your teeth on edge.


A sorry sight.

Too much of a good thing.

Vanish into thin air.

Wear your heart.

What’s done is done.

Wild goose chase.

The world is my oyster.

About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- .

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