Shakespearism: Idioms Shakespeare allegedly introduced into the English vernacular
Known as England’s national poet and one of the greatest dramatist of all time, William Shakespeare brought the world stories and plays such as Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and many others. Besides from his timeless works, Shakespeare also contributed numerous phrases or idioms still used today.
First mentioned by Shakespeare in Othello, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on,” the phrase green-eyed monster became a popular phrase for jealousy.
Seen better days
This idiom, which means to be worn out or have fallen into a state of decline, was attributed to Shakespeare to initially mean a decline in fortune as written in Timon of Athens. After some time, the phrase’s meaning was expanded to also include aging or deterioration, not only in objects but in humans as well.
A foregone conclusion
Meaning an inevitable conclusion or end, originated from Shakespeare’s Othello in 1604 – “But this denoted a foregone conclusion: ‘Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.”
As luck would have it
This phrase which is widely used to mean by fortunate coincidence or chance was taken from The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1600. The phrase originally was “as good luck would have it” but is commonly shortened by deleting the word ‘good’ – “as luck would have it.”
The phrase ‘high time’ which means something is due to be carried out originated from Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors in 1590.
This idiom means laughing uproariously to the point of physical pain, similar to being pricked by a needle. The phrase was first used by the famous poet in the play Twelfth Night in 1602.