Shakespearean language ancient? Oh no! Many of the words he used were inventions that are still in common currency today.

1 Eyeball: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

‘To take from thence all error with his might and make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.’ (Oberon. act II, scene iii) of course, this one had to be first because it’s from this year’s Stafford Gatehouse play and, yes, that’s right, it does say eyeball!  Although, no medical authority has yet been able to prove Shakespeare invented this word, there are no signs of its use before the play. Why had no one else thought to put the words ‘eye’ and ‘ball’ together I hear you ask? That’s the genius of Shakespeare.

2 Swagger: Henry V

‘An’t please your majesty, a rascal that swaggered with me last night,’ (Williams. act II, scene iV) it may be used in a different context, but this was the first use of the word in written English. Without wanting to blame Shakespeare for the word’s modern, urban connotation, the proof is in the pudding. I wonder what the fans of Cher Lloyd’s song Swagger Jagger would think if they knew from where this 1590s word came?

3 Puking: As You Like It

‘They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. At first the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms,’ (Jaques. act II, scene vii). This is one of the less glamorous words courtesy of the late, great Bard. ‘Puking’, using the same definition as the modern one, describes the act of being sick.  Pleasant as it is, dwelling on this one isn’t a good idea, let’s move on…

4 Manager: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

‘Where is our usual manager of mirth? What revels are in hand? Is there no play to ease the anguish of a torturing hour?’ (King Theseus. act V, scene i) I’m not sure if this is one we should celebrate! Just kidding, if it wasn’t for this word who would you complain about?

5 Fashionable: Troilus and Cressida

‘For time is like a fashionable host that slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand, and with his arms outstretch’d, as he would fly, grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles, and farewell goes out sighing,’ (Ulysses. act III, scene iii) Should you really thank Shakespeare for the years of debate over what’s trendy and what isn’t? Of course you should! Where would women be without it? Men may disagree thanks to the hours of shopping that they’ve been subjected to but, hey, it’s all for Shakespeare, right?

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favourite surprising invention by Shakespeare? Let us know at