Surprising Sayings We Owe to William Shakespeare

shakesspeareAs a self-proclaimed loser word nerd, my absolute favorite class in college was Shakespeare. Regardless if the dude even existed or not, I feel intimidated writing about him using my own pathetically limited vocabulary, as I am that enthralled and marveled by his English language skillz (sorry, Will).

That's why I was so stoked to see the newest Tumblr hit sweeping the Internet world: "Things We Say Today Which We Owe to Shakespeare." There are so many things! I remember reading through his plays late at night for class, coming across phrases and sayings and having the light bulb in my head go off: So that's where that came from.

A 20-year-old from London named Becky scribbled down a bunch of these sayings in her notebook and posted it to Tumblr. And people love it! Who'da thunk it ... I mean, o, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!


I guess this is proof that Shakespeare and technology actually can get along. Here are just eight of the best from the wonderment that is Becky's list:

Love is blind: "But love is blind, and lovers cannot see/The petty follies that themselves commit." -- Jessica, The Merchant of Venice (this phrase appears in Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry V)

Knock knock! Who's there?: "Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' th' name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enough about you, here you'll sweat for 't." -- Drunk or hungover porter, Macbeth

Green-eyed monster: "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!/It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/The meat it feeds on." -- Iago, Othello

The world is my oyster: "Why then the world's mine oyster/Which I with sword will open." -- Pistol, The Merry Wives of Windsor

Wild goose chase: "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 than, I am sure, I have in my whole five." -- Mercutio, Romeo & Juliet

In a pickle: "And Trinculo is reeling ripe: where should they find this grand liquor that hath gilded 'em? How camest thou in this pickle?" -- Alonso, The Tempest

Break the ice: "And if you break the ice and do this feat/Achieve the elder, set the younger free/For our access, whose hap shall be to have her/Will not so graceless be to be ingrate." -- Tranio, The Taming of the Shrew

Hair stand on end: "Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part/And each particular hair to stand on end/Like quills upon the fearful porpentine." -- Ghost, Hamlet

Did you know we had Shakespeare to thank for these phrases? I didn't!


Image via Tumblr

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