This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
SHAKESPEARE’S IDIOMATIC CONTRIBUTION TO THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Have you ever thought about Shakespeare’s influence on the English language?
There are lots of phrases from Shakespeare which have become part of the English language
The mind's eye; To the manner born; It out-Herods Herod; A sea of troubles; Dog will have his day; There's the rub.
The answer is Hamlet.
WHAT’S AN IDIOM?
A sequence of words which has a different meaning as a group from the meaning it would have if you understood each word separately.
To kick the bucket
When you complain about a loss from the
WHEN ARE IDIOMS USED? In a wide variety of contexts and situations. In spoken language and also in written English, especially journalism CHARACTERISTICS FLEXIBLE
BECOME CLICHÉS (expressions) CAN BE SHORTENED…
BRITISH AND AMERICAN IDIOMS
Do a bunk (UK)
Leave without telling anyone
Sweating bullets (USA)
HOW MANY IDIOMS ARE THERE?
LONGMAN HAS OVER 6000 IDIOMS IN ITS DICTIONARY!!!
Meaning The days of one's youthful inexperience. Origin From Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, 1606: CLEOPATRA: My salad days, When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
"What fools men are in their salad days."
Salad Days was later used as the title of a highly successful is a musical, which premiered at the Bristol Old Vic in 1954.
I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
Meaning Display your feelings openly, for all to see. Origin From Shakespeare's Othello, 1604:
Make the beast with two backs
Meaning Partners engaged in sexual intercourse.
Origin This modern-sounding phrase is in fact at least as early as Shakespeare. He used it in Othello, 1604:
Iago: "I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs”.
Wild goose chase
Meaning A pursuit of something that is unlikely to be caught. Origin This is old and appears to be one of the many phrases introduced to the language by Shakespeare. The first recorded citation is from Romeo and Juliet, 1592: "Nay, if our wits run the Wild-Goose chase, I am done: For thou hast more of the Wild-Goose in one of thy wits, then I am sure I have in my whole five."
Meaning Slight consolation or encouragement in the face of a reverse.
Origin This dates back to the 14th century. It was used in early literature by several authors, Chaucer and Shakespeare used it several times.
The Taming of the Shrew
When he heard that he had lost his job, it was cold comfort to learn that he could keep his car.
Idiom definition When he heard that he had lost his job, it was little help to learn that he could keep his car.
Origin Green is a colour associated with sickness. Green is also the colour of many unripe foods that cause stomach pains. The phrase was used by, and possibly coined by, Shakespeare to denote jealousy, in The Merchant of Venice, 1600
In Othello, Shakespeare also alludes to cats as green-eyed monsters in the way that they play with mice before killing them.
Tower of strength
Origin From Shakespeare's Richard III –
'The king's name is a tower of strength'.
To be in a pickle
Meaning To have problems that are difficult to solve. Shakespeare appears to be the first to use in a pickle, in THE TEMPEST ALONSO: And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they Find this grand liquor that hath gilded 'em?
How camest thou in this pickle?
I have been in such a pickle since I
saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing. The most celebrated personage ever to be literally in a pickle was Admiral Horatio Nelson.
The Tempest, 1611:
Hoist by your own petard
Meaning Injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others.
Origin A petard is or rather was, as they have long since fallen out of use, a small engine of war used to blow breaches in gates or walls. They were originally metallic and bell-shaped but later cubical wooden boxes. Shakespeare gives the line to Hamlet (1603): "For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist
with his owne petar".
Milk of human kindness
Meaning Care and compassion for others. Origin From Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1623: "Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o' th'
To be / make strange bedfellows
Origin From Shakespeare's The Tempest: Alas, the storm is come again! my best way is to creep under his gaberdine; there is no other shelter hereabouts: misery acquaints a man with strange bed-fellows. I will here shroud till the dregs of the storm be past.
Mum's the word
Meaning Keep quiet - say nothing. Origin Mum; not mother but 'mmmmm', the humming sound made with a closed mouth. Used by Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part 2: "Seal up your lips and give no words but mum."
A fool's paradise
Meaning A state of happiness based on false hope.
Origin An early phrase, first recorded in the Paston Letters, 1462: "I wold not be in a folis paradyce." Shakespeare later used it in Romeo and Juliet.
A foregone conclusion
Meaning A decision made before the evidence for it is known. An inevitable conclusion. Origin From Shakespeare's Othello, 1604:
It’s (all) Greek to me Meaning It is unintelligible to me.
Origin From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, 1601: but, for mine own part,
it was Greek to me.
As dead as a doornail
Meaning Dead - devoid of life (when applied to people, plants or animals). Finished with - unusable (when applied to inanimate objects). Origin This is old - at least 14th century. There's a reference to it in print in 1350: "For but ich haue bote of mi bale I am ded as dorenail." Shakespeare used it in King Henry VI, 1590:
Without rhyme or reason
Meaning A thing which has neither rhyme nor reason makes no sense, from either a poetic or logical standpoint. Origin This line originates in Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, 1590:
Vanish / disappear into thin air
Meaning Disappear without trace.
Origin Shakespeare came close to this phrase in Othello, 1604:
Shakespeare didn't put the two together to make vanish into thin air, though. It is said that the first use of that phrase, which is clearly an adaptation of Shakespeare's terms, appeared in The Edinburgh Advertiser, April 1822, in a piece about the imminent conflict between Russia and Turkey: The latest communications make these visions "vanish into thin air."
The game is up
Meaning The original meaning was the game is over - all is lost. More recently it has come to be used to mean we have seen through your tricks – your deceit is exposed. Your dishonesty has been discovered. Origin
A sea change
Meaning A definite and important change in a situation or in people’s opinions
Origin From Shakespeare's The Tempest, 1610:
All that glitters is not gold
Meaning A showy article may not necessarily be valuable. Origin The 12th century French thelogian Alain de Lille wrote Shakespeare 'all that glisters is not gold'. From The Merchant of Venice, 1596:
Every dog has its day
Meaning Even the most unimportant person has a time in their life when they are successful and noticed
Origin The dog will have his day Hamlet, act 5, scene 1 But it was a proverb as early as the 1520s
Have an itching palm
Meaning Used about someone in an official job who is willing to take money from people and do things he or she should not do.
Origin Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3
Do sth as (if) to the manner born
Used to say that someone does somehing easily and naturally, although it is an unusua and unfamiliar thing for them to do so.
It was her first lesson, but she taught as if to the manner born Origin
Hamlet, Act 1, scene 4
Self-Study Idiom Quizzes http://a4esl.org/q/h/idioms.html
Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
The Good Friday Agreement was the political equivalent of a shotgun wedding! Most Unionists felt that a gun was put to their head.
A storm in a teacup
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.