English 9 Neologisms: Words made up by Shakespeare 1) accused (in the noun form): person charged with an offense The word

was already a verb and an adjective when Shakespeare got hold of it and made it into a noun form in the play, Richard II: “Face to face/And frowning brow to brow ourselves will hear/The accused and the accuser freely speak” (I.i.15-17). The word is originally from the Latin causa, meaning “cause or lawsuit.” Today accused commonly refers to the defendant in a lawsuit. 2) blushing (as an adjective): ruddy; having the face redden with modesty or shame The word was from a Germanic verb meaning to “burn brightly or to glow,” when Shakespeare turned it into an adjective in Richard II, when the face of the angry king is compared to “the blushing discontented sun” (III.iii.63). Shakespeare also uses the word in his two long poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, and his play Henry VIII. 3) cater (verb): to provide food; to supply what is needed or desired

The word, cater, comes from a Middle English noun, meaning “buyer of provisions.” An old servant in the play As You Like It tells Orlando, the play’s hero, “Take that and He that doth the ravens feed,/Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,/Be comfort to my age!” With these words, the old man offers all his money to Orlando. 4) critic (noun): one who passes judgment or expresses a reasoned opinion; reviewer In another of Shakespeare’s plays, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Berowne, a character who made fun of others for falling prey to love, bemoans, “I . . .have been love’s whip,/A critic, nay, a night-watch constable” (III.i.174, 176). It is understandable how Shakespeare, someone who was in the public eye and criticized for his works, would come up with the word, critic. 5) denote (verb): to define or designate; to indicate Romeo and Juliet, the play we are reading this year, is the play to first use this word as a verb in English. The word is from the Latin, “to note or mark out,” and Friar Lawrence uses it to admonish Romeo for contemplating suicide. The Friar states, [T]hy wild acts denote/The unreasonable fury of a beast” (III.iii.110-11). 6) frugal (as an adjective): sparing; thrifty or economical; careful with money In the comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mistress Page is surprised when she receives a love letter from someone she thinks would have been unimpressed with the reserved manner she showed when he was in her presence. She says, “Why, he hath not been thrice in my company!”, and she adds, “I was then frugal of my mirth” (II.1.26-28). The adjective is based on the Latin frugalis, meaning “frugal or virtuous,” and is from the frux, meaning “fruit” or “value.”

7) gnarled (adjective): twisted or knotty; deformed The word appears in the play Measure for Measure, when the heroine Isabella pleads on behalf of her brother to the character Angelo and addresses heaven, from which the power of lightning “with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt/Splits the unwedgeable and gnarled oak” (II.ii.115-116). The adjective remained unpopular until the nineteenth century when English and American writers began using it. 8) impede (verb): to block or hinder; to slow Shakespeare uses this verb only once, in the play Macbeth, when Lady Macbeth plots to help her husband remove the obstacles that hinder him from being king. She says, “All that impedes thee [Macbeth] from the golden round [the crown, the kingship]” (I.v.28). Though Shakespeare only used the verb in Macbeth, he uses the noun form, impediment, meaning “obstacle,” more than twenty times in his works. The verb is from the Latin impedire, which means “to shackle the foot.” The root ped- or pes means “foot” and can be found in such words as pedestrian, pedal and pedigree. 9) lackluster (adjective): wanting in brightness; dull; mediocre In the play, As You Like It, Jacques describes the character of the fool, who removes a small sundial from his pocket. Jacques says the fool looks on the sundial “with lack-lustre eye/Says very wisely, ‘It is ten a’clock” (II.vii.2122). Shakespeare often put the word, lack, in front of other words and came up with compound ones, such as lack-beard, lack-brain, and lack-love. The habit probably came from the French, who often attached sans (“without”) to nouns. Luster, on the other hand, is from the Latin verb, lustrare, “to brighten.”

10) luggage (as a noun): something lugged; baggage belonging to a traveler In 1 Henry IV, Prince Hal kills another main character, Hotspur, in battle, but Hal’s advisor Falstaff finds the body and wants to claim it for a reward. Hal tells Falstaff, “Come bring your luggage nobly on your back” (V.iv.156). The verb lug comes from the Middle English luggen , “to pull or drag by the hair or ear.” Here Shakespeare uses the word in its most basic sense, “something that is lugged.” Nowadays, obviously the most common usage is “baggage belonging to a traveler.” 11) majestic (adjective): having or exhibiting dignity and grandeur Shakespeare debuts this word in the historical tragedy, Julius Caesar, when he has Cassius remark that he is amazed that someone as weak as Caesar should “So get the start of the majestic world” (I.ii.130). In 1 Henry IV, Shakespeare also gets credits for using the word as an adverb, majestically. 12) monumental (adjective): of great size or significance; outstanding

Shakespeare uses monument, the noun form of this word, frequently, but the adjectival form appears only three times in Shakespeare’s works. The first time is in Shakespeare’s long poem, Troilus and Cressida, where the Bard states that to give up is “to hang/Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail [armor]/In monumental mock’ry” (III.iii.151-53). Either the noun or adjectival form come from the Latin monere, “to remind.” 13) negotiate: to confer for the purpose of reaching a settlement In the comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, the seemingly betrayed lover Claudio says that from now on “all hearts in love use their own tongues./Let every eye negotiate for itself” (II.ii.177-78). The word comes from the Latin negotiari, which means “to carry on business,” but the Latin can be broken down even more. Neg- as a prefix means “not,” and the root otium means “leisure” or “ease.” 14) numb (as a verb): to deaden or make insensible Something to think about the next time the dentist gives you Novocain: Shakespeare’s is the first use of the word as a transitive verb, that is, a verb that has a direct object. In the long poem, Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare uses the word to describe the fear Venus has when she thinks her lover Adonis is killed. She feels that “cold-pale weakness numbs each feeling part” (892). The word as an adjective dates back to the fourteenth century. 15) obscene (adjective): repulsive or disgusting; offensive to one’s sense of decency A character who has seen another consorting with a woman comments in the comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost on how he came to “encounter that obscene and most prepost’rous event” (I.i.241-242). The word derives from the Latin obscenus, which means “repulsive or indecent.” The word is possibly a mixture of the prefix ob-, meaning “toward,” and caenum, “filth.” 16) perusal (noun): survey or close examination; act of reading through or over In the tragedy Hamlet, Ophelia describes to her father how Hamlet entered her rooms and fell to “such perusal of my face/As ‘a would draw it” (II.i.87-88). Perusal is from the verb peruse, which may be a combination of the Latin prefix, per-, “through” or “thoroughly,” and the Middle English usen, “to use.” 17) puke (verb): to vomit Shakespeare gets credit for the first appearance of this word in the comedy As You Like It, when the character of Jacques describes the stages of a man’s life, the first one being when he is an infant, “Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms” (II.vii.144). The word’s origin is unclear. It may be from the Old English spiwan, “to spew or spit.” 18) rant (verb): to speak in bombastic or extravagant language; to talk

excessively At the end of Hamlet, Hamlet boasts that he can mourn for his dead love Ophelia as well as her brother Laertes, saying, “I’ll rant as well as though” (V.i.283-84). The word rant comes from the Dutch ranten, meaning “to rave” and appears only once in Shakespeare’s works. 19) sanctimonious (adjective): hypocritically pious or religious; of pretended or exaggerated piety Shakespeare’s uses the word in the comedy Measure for Measure in a discourse about politics in Vienna. One character, Lucio, tells two gentlemen, “Though conclud’st like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scrap’d one out of the table” (I.ii.7-9). Sanctimonious comes from the Latin sincere, “to consecrate or make holy.” Words like sanctity and sanctuary also share the root.

20) tranquil (as an adjective): without agitation or disturbance; serene The noun tranquility was first recorded in Chaucer’s works and appears once in Shakespeare, but Shakespeare gets credit for being the first one to use the word in its adjectival form. He does so in the tragedy Othello, when the eponymous main character is told his wife has been unfaithful. Othello cries, “Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content! (III.iii.348). The word comes from the Latin prefix trans-, which means “beyond,” and the root quies which means “rest” or “calm.” (Yes, the root can also be found in the English word quiet.) WORK CITED McQuain, Jeffrey and Stanley Malless. Coined by Shakespeare. Merriam Webster Incorporated: Springfield, 1998.

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