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Words Shakespeare Coined

From The Shakespeare Key. Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke.

Shakespeare, with the right and might of a true poet, and with his peculiar royal privilege as king of all poets, has minted several words that deserve to become current in our language. He coined them for his own special use to express his own special meanings in his own special passages; but they are so expressive and so well framed to be exponents of certain particulars in meanings common to us all, that they deserve to become generally adopted and used: --
For then the bold and coward,
The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
The hard and soft, seem all affin'd and kin. -- Tr. & Cr., i. 3.

Now, sir, be judge yourself
Whether I in any just term am affin'd
To love the Moor. -- Oth., i. 1.

If partially affin'd, or leagu'd in office.
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth.
Thou art no soldier. -- Ibid., ii. 3.
By the condensedly framed word "affin'd," Shakespeare expresses, in the first of the above three passages, 'united by affinity;' in the second, 'bound by any claim of affinity;' and in the third, 'swayed by any link of affinity.'
You, Titus Lartius,
Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
The best, with whom we may articulate.
For their own good and ours. -- Coriol., i. 9.

These things, indeed, you have articulated,
Proclaim'd at market-crosses, read in churches. -- I H. IV., v. 1.
Shakespeare framed for himself the verb "articulate" (from one of the meanings of the Latin word articulus, 'an article or condition in a covenant') to express concisely 'enter into articles;' and "articulated," to express 'set forth in articles.'
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than prais'd for harmful mildness. -- Lear, i. 4.
In the above passage, the word "attask'd" succinctly expresses 'taken to task.'
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
That beetles o'er his base into the sea. -- Hamlet, i. 4.
"Beetle-brows," to express 'prominent brows,' was a very old epithet; and Shakespeare framed the expressive verb "beetles," to indicate a cliff's summit that 'juts out prominently,' that 'projects' beyond its wave-worn base, like the head of a wooden "beetle" or mallet.
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks. -- Lear, i. 4.
From the Latin word cadens, 'falling,' 'trickling,' 'pouring down,' Shakespeare invented the poetical epithet "cadent."
As, by the same co-mart,
And carriage of the article design'd.
His fell to Hamlet. -- Hamlet, i. i.
Shakespeare framed the word "co-mart," to express 'joint bargains,' 'compact made together,' in the same manner that the words 'co-heiress,' 'co-partner,' &c., are formed, and as he himself formed the word "co-mates" in the following passage: --
Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile. -- As You L., ii. i.

For government, though high, and low, and lower,
Put into parts, doth keep in one consent,
Congreeing in a full and natural close,
Like music. -- H. V., i. 2.
By the one word "congreeing," Shakespeare expresses 'agreeing with itself, in all its parts.'
That, face to face and royal eye to eye.
You have congreeted. -- Ibid., v. 2.
The single word "congreeted" expresses 'greeted each other,' 'met together.'
First, all you peers of Greece, go to my tent;
There in the full convive we. -- Tr. & Cr., iv. 5.
Shakespeare frames the above verb to express 'let us be convivial,' 'let us feast together.'
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home Of bell and burial. -- Hamlet, v. i.
Here Shakespeare has anglicised and brought into our language a word which exists in various northern languages, under the form of 'krans,' 'krants,' 'kranz,' and 'crance,' each meaning 'crown' or 'garland.' He has also in the present passage appropriately introduced the custom which prevails in many countries of the north -- among the rest, Denmark -- of placing on the grave of a maiden the chaplet she wore when in life as token of her virgin condition, together with the strewn flowers emblematical of her purity.
For my authority bears so credent bulk.
That no particular scandal once can touch,
But it confounds the breather. -- M.for M., iv. 4

With what's unreal thou co-active art.
And fellow'st nothing : then, 'tis very credent
Thou may'st co-join with something. -- W. T., i. 2.

If with too credent ear you list his songs. -- Hamlet, i. 3,
From the Latin participles credendus, 'to be believed or trusted.' and credens, 'believing,' 'trusting,' Shakespeare fashioned the word 'credent': to express, in the first of the above three passages, 'quality commanding belief or credit'; in the second, 'easily to be believed or credited'; and in the third, 'facilely believing of giving credit.'
Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes
And still conclusion, shall acquire no honour
Demuring upon me. -- Ant. & C., iv. 13.
In framing the word "demuring," the poet, with felicitous condensation, expresses, 'looking demurely.'
The poisonous damp of night dispunge upon me. -- Ant. & C., iv. 9.
By the single verb "dispunge" is expressed 'discharge as from a spunge.'
The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enacturcs with themselves destroy. -- Hamlet, iii. 2.
This expressive word was fabricated by the poet to designate 'purposes put into action,' 'intentions enacted.'
Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours,
We might have met them dareful, beard to beard.
And beat them backward home. -- Macb., v. 5.
Shakespeare framed the vigorous word "forc'd" to express 'reinforced,' 'provided with forces'; and yet the emendators have sought to deprive us of it by proposing various substitutions.
A good sherris-sack hath a twofold operation in it. It ascends me into the brain: dries me there all the foolish and dull and crudy vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes. -- 2 H. IV., iv. 3.
This word succinctly expresses 'capable of mentally forging.'
His heart fracted and corroborate. -- H. V., ii. 1. And my reliances on his fractcd dates
Have smit my credit. -- Timon, ii. i.
From the Latin word factus, 'broken,' Shakespeare has fabricated this expression, "fracted."
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
That for the fault's love is th' offender friended. -- M.for M., iv. 2.

Not friended by his wish, to your high person
His will is most malignant. -- H. VIII., i. 2.

Frame yourself
To orderly solicits, and be friended
With aptness of the season. -- Cym., ii. 3.
Shakespeare makes the word "friended" concisely express what is generally conveyed by the word 'befriended.'
And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending to you. -- Hamlet, i. 5.
He makes "friending" imply 'friendly feeling.'
Though the treasure
Of Nature's germins tumble all together. -- Macb., iv. 1.

Crack Nature's moulds, all germins spill at once,
That make ingrateful man ! -- Lear, iii. 2.
He lias framed the word "germins" to express 'the principles of germination.'
He led our powers;
Bore the commission of my place and person;
The which immediacy may well stand up,
And call itself your brother. -- Lear, v, 3.
By the word "immediacy" Shakespeare succinctly expresses 'authority immediately derived,' 'representativeship directly delegated and not intermediately obtained.'
That I some lady trifles have reserv'd,
Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal. -- Ant. & C.,v. z.
Shakespeare coined the word "immoment" to express 'unmomentous,' 'of no moment or importance.' Both of the above-cited words Dr. Johnson denounces; calling "immediacy" a harsh word, and "immoment" a barbarous word: but we very emphatically disagree with the lexicographer's opinion, and venture to think them admirably condensed and significant words, which it would be well to adopt and retain in our language. It appears to us that instead of abjuring felicitously framed expressions because they are unprecedented, we ought, on the contrary, to receive with gratitude the philological inventions of such masters in highest poesy and clearest sense as William Shakespeare, when they frame new and good terms for their own purposes, which will admirably serve ours.
Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty.
Nor dignifies an impair thought with breath. -- Tr. & C., iv. 5.
From the Latin impar, signifying 'unequal,' 'unsuitable,' 'unbefitting,' 'unworthy;' from the Latin imparatus, signifying 'unprepared,' 'unready,' 'perplexed,' 'entangled,' and from the English 'impairing,' as signifying 'injurious,' 'detracting,' Shakespeare has framed the adjective "impair," to express a compound meaning, including the various significations of these derivatives. His contemporaries used the word "impair" as a substantive; but Shakespeare made it do duty as an expressive adjective.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnardine,
Making the green -- one red. -- Macb., ii. ii.
Shakespeare devised the magnificently poetic verb "incarnardine" from the Italian word incarnardino, 'carnation or flesh colour,' to express 'stain carnation-red colour.'
He grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse.
As he had been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast. -- Hamlet, iv. 7.
The word "incorps'd" more compactly expresses 'incorporated,' while "demi-natur'd" poetically suggests the dual formation of the centaur -- half-man, half-horse.
You are born
To set a form upon that indigest,
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude. -- John, v. 7.

And that your love taught it this alchemy.
To make of monsters and things indigest
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble. -- Sonnet 114.
From the Latin word indigestus, 'disordered,' 'confused,' Shakespeare framed the term "indigest," which he uses as a noun, in the first of the above passages, to express 'a mass of confusion or disorder,' 'a chaos or chaotic state'; and as an adjective, in the second of the above passages, to express 'unformed,' 'shapeless.'
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order. -- Tr. & Cr., i. 3.
From the Latin verb insistere, 'to stay,' 'stop,' or 'stand still,' Shakespeare framed his word "insisture," to express 'fixed position,' 'appointed situation,' 'steadfast place.'
As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed. -- Macb., v. 7.
From the word "trenchant," 'cutting,' Shakespeare has formed the epithet "intrenchant," to express 'incapable of being cut.'
The diamond -- why, 'twas beautiful and hard.
Whereto his invis'd properties did tend. -- Lover's Complaint, Stanza 31.
The poet formed the word "invis'd" to express 'unseen,' 'invisible.'
Conspir'd with that irregulous devil, Cloten. -- ., iv. 2.
Shakespeare invented the epithet "irregulous" to express something much more strong than 'irregular'; something that combines the sense of 'disorderly,' 'lawless,' 'licentious,' as well as 'anomalous,' 'mongrel,' 'monstrous'- -- out of ordinary rule and order in every way.
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, jointing their force 'gainst Caesar. -- Ant. & C, i. 2.
Here "jointing" is framed to express 'combining conjointly', 'joining confederately.'
At such a point.
When half to half the world oppos'd, he being
The mered question. -- Ibid., iii. II.
Inasmuch as Shakespeare uses the word "mere" sometimes in the sense of 'absolute,' 'entire,' 'sole,' and sometimes in the sense of 'boundary' or 'limit,' he here forms the word "mered" to express 'limited entirely,' 'confined absolutely.'
Not Neoptolemus so mirable
(On whose bright crest Fame with her loud'st O-yes
Cries, "This is he!") could promise to himself
A thought of added honour torn from Hector. -- Tr. -- Cr., iv. 5.
From the Latin mirabilis, 'wonderful,' 'that which is to be admired at,' or 'marvelled at,' Shakespeare coined for himself the epithet 'mirable.'
Our discontented counties do revolt;
Our people quarrel with obedience;
Swearing allegiance and the love of soul
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified. -- John, v. 1.

Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,
Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel --
Will they not hear? What, ho I you men, you beasts,
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins,
On pain of torture, from those bloody hands
Throw your mistemper'd weapons to the ground. -- R. & Jul., i. 1.
In this excellently formed word "mistemper'd," the poet not only gives the effect of 'ill-temper'd,' 'wrathful'; he also gives the effect of 'misguidedly and misdirectedly wrathful'; and he moreover includes, in the first passage, the additional sense of 'ill-compounded,' and, in the second passage, the additional sense of 'steel-tempered, but to be used in a bad cause.'
Or -- if sour woe delights in fellowship.
And needly will be rank'd with other griefs. -- R. & Jul., iii. 2.
Shakespeare has coined the word "needly" to express 'needfully,' 'necessarily;' and has used it here in combination with "will be" as a form of our modern idiom 'needs must be.'
Earth, yield me roots!
Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate
With thy most operant poison! -- Timon, iv. 3.

My operant powers their functions leave to do. -- Hamlet, iii. 2.
Shakespeare constructed the word "operant" as an elegant and concise form of 'operative,' to express 'actively efficacious.'
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy. -- Tr. & Cr., i. 3.
From the Latin word oppugnans, 'resisting,' 'assaulting,' or ' fighting against,' our poet framed the expressive term "oppugnancy," to express 'warring opposition.'
In the most high and palmy state of Rome. -- Hamlet, i. i.
The palm being the emblem of victory, and the palm being often mentioned as typical of flourishing (Shakespeare himself, in this very play, act v., sc. 2, and in "Timon," act v., sc. i., having passages which make this allusion), our author here forms the poetical epithet "palmy" to corabinedly express 'victorious and flourishing.'
As true as steel, as plantage to the moon. -- Tr. & Cr., iii. 2.
Here the word "plantage" is invented to express plants generally or collectively, all that is planted, vegetation.
The primogenitive and due of birth. -- Tr. & Cr., i. 3.
From the two Latin words primo, 'first,' and genitivus, 'that which is born with us,' Shakespeare framed the above word to express 'the claims or right of the first-born.'
A violet in the youth of primy nature, -- Hamlet, i. 3.
As Shakespeare uses the word "prime" in the sense of 'spring,' 'early bloom,' so here he frames the epithet "primy" to express 'spring-timed,' 'early-blooming.'
For what, alas! can these my single arms?
What propugnation is in one man's valour,
To stand the push and enmity of those
This quarrel would excite? -- Tr. & Cr., ii. 7.
From the Latin word propugnatio, 'defence,' Shakespeare has framed the term "propugnation" to express 'power of defence.'
But once put out thy light.
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. -- Oth., v. 2.
From the Latin, lumen, 'light,' Shakespeare has invented this elegant verb "relume," to express 're-light,' 'light again.'
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,
And fall to reprobance. -- Oth., v. 2.
Shakespeare formed this word, as he formed the words "arrivance" and "iterance" in the present play.
This sleep is sound indeed ; this is a sleep,
That from this golden rigol hath divorc'd
So many English kings. -- 2 H. IV., iv. 4.

About the mourning and congealed face
Of that black blood a watery rigol goes,
Which seems to weep upon the tainted place. -- Lucrece, Stanza 250.
From the old Italian word rigolo, a small wheel, Shakespeare fashioned the term "rigol," to express a 'circle' or 'circlet.'
Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood. -- Macb., iii. 2.
The poet has framed the word "rooky" to express 'abounding in rooks,' 'with trees in which the rooks build,' 'where there is a rookery.' This expression has been strangely misunderstood; while, to our mind, it seems replete with picturesque and self-evident meaning.
Because that now it lies you on to speak
To the people; not by your own instruction,
Nor by the matter which your heart prompts you,
But with such words that are but roted in
Your tongue, though but bastards, and syllables
Of no allowance, to your bosom's truth. -- Coriol., iii. 2.
Shakespeare fabricated the condensed word "roted," to express 'retained by rote,' 'acquired by rote and held ready for conventional utterance.'
Diana's lip is not more smooth and rubious. -- Tw. N., i. 4.
From the Latin word rubeus, 'ruddy,' and from the gem called 'ruby,' Shakespeare devised the exquisite word "rubious" to convey the sense of 'ruddy,' 'ruby-red.'
Those happy smilets,
That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
What guests were in her eyes. -- Lear, iv. 3.
We owe to Shakespeare's need of an expressive and poetical word in this passage, descriptive of a tender daughter struggling with her tears and striving to retain patient submission amid her sorrow, the beautiful diminutive "smilets," which so well designates attempted smiles, half smiles.
To find a place where all distress is stel'd. -- Lucrece, Stanza 207.

Mine eye hath play'd the painter, and hath stel'd
Thy beauty's form in table of my heart. -- Sonnet 24.
Shakespeare has fashioned the expressive word "stel'd" (partly perhaps in reference to "stell," 'a fixed place of abode,' and partly perhaps in reference to "stile," 'an implement used by artists') to imply ' fixed,' 'graven.'
The sea, with such a storm as his bar? head
In hell-black night endur'd, would have buoyed up,
And quench'd the stelled fires. -- Lear, iii. 7.
From the Latin stella, 'star,' and perhaps also in reference to the above-mentioned word "stell," the poet framed the poetical epithet "stelled," to express 'starry,' 'stationed in the firmament.'
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute. -- Hamlet, i. 3.
Shakespeare fabricated the word "suppliance" to express concisely that which is supplied.
With those legions
Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy
Must be supplyant. -- Cym., iii. 7.
And the word "supplyant" to condensedly express 'contributive of supplies.'
And I will never fail beginning nor supplyant. -- Ibid., iii. 4.
And the word "supplyment" to express 'continued supply.'
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed Unto the Tranect, to the common ferry Which trades to Venice. -- Mer. of V., iii. 4.
Shakespeare may have heard the word "Tranect" from some one acquainted with a local peculiarity; or he may have fashioned it himself either from the Italian traghetto, 'ferry,' or from the Latin and Italian tranare, to 'swim,' 'sail,' or 'pass over.' Inasmuch as the Italian tranare or trainare also means to draw or drag, it is possible that the Italian ferry-boat formerly was drawn through the water by means of a process still in use in some places, and which we once saw at Rotterdam, where a ferry-boat was made to traverse the stream, by a man on board laying hold of a rope strained across the canal for the purpose.
How now! what noise? That spirit 's possess'd with haste
That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes. -- M. for M., iv. 2.
From the Latin sistere, 'to stand still,' Shakespeare formed the epithet " unsisting," to express 'unstill,' 'never-resting.'
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin'd it e'er since. -- Coriol., v. 3.
It well became Shakespeare, the most passionate and delicate-souled of poets, to invent this expression "virgin'd," as implying 'held sacredly and chastely and exclusively.'

There are some words which Shakespeare has coined for the sake of humorous effect: --
One Bardolph, if your majesty know the man: his face is all bubukles, and whelks, and knobs, and flames o' fire. -- H. V., iii. 6.
"Bubukles" is facetiously compounded from the French word bube, a blotch or sore, and from the word 'buccal' (pertaining to the cheek; Latin, bucca, the cheek), to signify a cheek-blotch.
If you see this in the map of my microcosm, follows it that I am known well enough too? what harm can your bisson conspectuitics glean out of this character, if I be known well enough too? -- Coriol., ii. i.
"Conspectuities" is fabricated from the Latin conspectus, 'sight,' 'view.'
His heart is fracted and corroborate. -- H. V., ii. 2.
"Corroborate" is Pistol's blunder for some grand word that he intends to match with the choice expression, "fracted"; and he possibly means to say either 'corrodiate' or 'corollorate.' If he mean to say 'corrodiate,' signifying 'eaten away as by rust,' his mistake would have the doubly comic effect of saying precisely the contrary to what he intends, since "corroborate" really means 'confirmed,' 'strengthened,' 'established'; but if he use "corroborate" for 'corollorate' (from "corollary," which, besides meaning 'a surplus or crowning quantity,' as used by Shakespeare in the "Tempest," act iv., sc. I., means also 'a conclusion'), he intends to convey the effect of 'brought to a conclusion,' 'done for.'
You have made fair hands,
You and your crafts! you have crafted fair! -- Coriol., iv. 6.
A noun thus fashioned into a verb is not only characteristic of Menenius -- who is famous for the jocose fabrication of words -- but is a colloquial usage in the English language.
This place is too cold for hell. I'll devil-porter it no farther. -- Macb., ii. 3.

He has as many friends as enemies; which friends, sir, as it were, durst not, look you, sir, show themselves, as we term it, his friends whilst he's in directitude. -- Directitude! What's that? -- Coriol., iv. 5.
The Third Servant, wishing to use a fine long word, and intending to coin some such term as 'discreditude' or 'dejectitude,' blunders out his grandiloquent "directitude"; which the First Servant, not comprehending, repeats amazedly and asks the meaning of; but the Third Servant being at a loss to explain, avoids the inquiry by running on with his harangue.
Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence. -- M.for M., iii. 2.

The most sovereign prescription in Galen is but empiricutic, and, to this preservative, of no better report than a horse-drench. -- Coriol., ii. i.
Menenius uses "empiricutic" as a droll form of 'empirical.'
He says his name is Master Fer. -- Master Fer! I fer him, and firk him, and ferret him. -- H. V., iv. 4.

They fought together, but Aufidius got off. -- And 'twas time for him too, I'll warrant him that: an he had stayed by him, I would not have been so fidiused for all the chests in Corioli. -- Coriol., ii. i.

Loved me above the measure of a father; Nay, godded me, indeed. -- Ibid., v. 3.

Oh, base Gongarian wight! -- Merry W., i. 3.
Ancient Pistol's sounding substitution for 'Hungarian'; which was a term of reproach, as the gipsies came from Hungary and Bohemia, and thus it was synonymous with 'vagabond' as well as (punningly) with a hungry, beggarly fellow.
Dost thou infamonize me among potentates? -- Love's L. L., v. 2.
Don Armado magniloquently frames the word "infamonize," to express 'defame,' 'render me infamous.'
You are grand-jurors, are ye? We'll jure ye, i' faith. -- I H. IV., ii. 2.

He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I (God bless the mark!), his Moorship's ancient. -- Oth., i. i.

It out-herods Herod; pray you, avoid it. -- Hamlet, iii. 2.

Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. -- M. for M., iv. 3.
The Clown employs the verb "peaches" as a quibble on the peach-coloured satin and as a familiar form of 'impeaches.'
How fiery and forward our pedant is!
Now, for my life, the knave doth court my love.
Pedascule I'll watch you better yet. -- Tam of S., iii. i.
Hortensio fabricates "pedascule" as a scoffing repetition of "pedant," implying (in Latinised form) that he mentally foots or kicks him with the utmost ignominy.
Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.
She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes. -- As You L., iv. 3.

Thou'rt an emperor, Caesar, Keisar, and Pheezar. -- Merry W., i. 3.
The Host jocularly invents the term "Pheezar" from the verb 'pheeze' (to vex, worry, or harry), in order to denote Falstaff's vexed state of mind and to make a jingle with "Caesar" and "Keisar."
Come, Mother Prat; come, give me your hand.-- I'll prat her. Out of my door, you witch, you rag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon! Out, out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you. -- Ibid., iv. 2.

I' faith, sweetheart, methinks now you are in an excellent good temperality: your pulsidge beats as extraordinarily as heart would desire. -- 2 H. IV., ii. 4.
Hostess Quickly's word "temperality" gives the effect of a combined or optional meaning of 'temperament' and 'temperature'; while her word 'pulsidge' for 'pulse' aids to convey an impression of fulness that is extremely apt.
Take your vizaments in that. -- Merry W., i. 1.
Sir Hugh Evans's Welsh says, "vizaments," intending to fashion the word 'advisements,' as a term expressive of consideration, circumspection.

There are some words, coined from their expressive sound, which Shakespeare's excellent taste and judgment caused him to adopt in passages where they give spirited effect: --
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it, and sets it light. -- R. II., i. 3.

Thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side.
And wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first. 2 H. VI., iii. i.

If I go to him, with my armed fist I'll pash him o'er the face. -- Tr. & Cr., ii. 3.

And stands colossus-wise, waving his beam,
Upon the pashed corses of the kings -- Ibid., v. 5.

I'll potch at him some way. -- Coriol., i. 10.

He'll go, he says, and sowle the porter of Rome gates by the ears. -- Ibid., iv. 5.

As young as I am, I have observed these three swashers. -- H. V., iii. 2.

We'll have a swashing and a martial outside. -- As You L., i. 3.

Gregory, remember thy swashing blow. -- R. & Jul., i. i.

For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, "Go hang!"-- Temp., ii. 2 (Song).

The nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy. -- Hamlet, ii. 2.
There are a few peculiar words retained in most editions of Shakespeare, because they are the words printed in the first folio edition, and because they may possibly be the author's original expressions, coined by himself: --
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed. -- Ant. & C., i. 5.

Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole.
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial.
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment. -- Hamlet, i. 5.

You are abus'd, and by some putter-on,
That will be damn'd for't; would I knew the villain,
I would land-damn him. -- W. T., ii. 1.
If these three words be indeed Shakespeare's coinage, they may have been meant by him to signify thu : "Arm-gaunt" may be taken to convey the idea of 'gaunt from long being clad in armed caparisons, and from long bearing an armed rider'; "hebenon" may be accepted as a form of henbane (the oil of which, according to Pliny, disturbs the brain), or of 'ebony' (which was believed to possess soporific and poisonous qualities); and "land-damn" has been supposed to be a mode of succinctly expressing, either 'condemn to quit the land,' or 'doom to the torture of being banked up in earth and left to die.'

How to cite this article:
Clarke, Charles and Mary Cowden. The Shakespeare Key. London: Rivington, 1879. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2011. < >.


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 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy

More to Explore

 Words Shakespeare Invented (List)
 The Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays
 Establishing the Order of the Plays
 Settings of Shakespeare's Plays by Location
 Historical Settings of Shakespeare's Plays by Date

 Shakespeare in Old English?
 Shakespeare's Influence on Other Writers
 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London

 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse

 Shakespeare's Boss
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time