Massive List of Phrases That Shakespeare Created That We Still Use Today

Shakespeare is without a doubt a man that had the most effect on the English language and the way that we use it today. In an effort to find out just how much he has influenced how we speak today, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of phrases that can be attributed to him and his plays. These are from multiple sources, and I’ve culled them together into one massive list.
Enjoy!
  • A countenance more in sorrow than in anger
  • A Daniel come to judgment
  • A dish fit for the gods
  • A fool’s paradise
  • A foregone conclusion
  • A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
  • A ministering angel shall my sister be
  • A plague on both your houses
  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
  • A sea change
  • A sorry sight
  • A tower of strength
  • Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety
  • Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio
  • All corners of the world
  • All one to me
  • All that glitters is not gold / All that glisters is not gold
  • All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players
  • All’s well that ends well
  • An eye-sore
  • An ill-favoured thing sir, but mine own
  • And shining morning face, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school
  • And thereby hangs a tale
  • As cold as any stone
  • As dead as a doornail
  • As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods
  • As good luck would have it
  • As merry as the day is long
  • As white as driven snow
  • At one fell swoop
  • Ay, there’s the rub
  • Bag and baggage
  • Bated breath
  • Beast with two backs
  • Beware the ides of March
  • Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks
  • Breathe one’s last
  • Brevity is the soul of wit
  • Budge an inch
  • Cold comfort
  • Come full circle
  • Come the three corners of the world in arms
  • Come what may
  • Comparisons are odorous
  • Conscience does make cowards of us all
  • Cowards die many times before their deaths
  • Crack of doom
  • Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war
  • Dash to pieces
  • Dead as a doornail
  • Death by inches
  • Discretion is the better part of valour
  • Dish fit for the gods
  • Dog will have its day
  • Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble
  • Eaten me out of house and home
  • Elbow room
  • Et tu, Brute
  • Even at the turning of the tide
  • Every inch a king
  • Exceedingly well read
  • Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog
  • Fair play
  • Fancy free
  • Fatal vision
  • Fie, foh, and fum, I smell the blood of a British man
  • Fight fire with fire
  • For ever and a day
  • Foul play
  • Frailty, thy name is woman
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
  • Full of sound and fury
  • Get thee to a nunnery
  • Give the devil his due
  • Good men and true
  • Good night, ladies
  • Good riddance
  • Green eyed monster
  • Hark, hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings
  • He will give the Devil his due
  • Heart’s content
  • High time
  • His beard was as white as snow
  • Hoist by your own petard
  • Hold a candle to
  • Hot-blooded
  • Household words
  • How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child
  • I bear a charmed life
  • I have not slept one wink
  • I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips
  • I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
  • If music be the food of love, play on
  • In a pickle
  • In my heart of hearts
  • In my mind’s eye
  • In stitches
  • In the twinkling of an eye
  • Into thin air
  • Is this a dagger which I see before me?
  • It beggar’d all description
  • It is meat and drink to me
  • It smells to heaven
  • It was Greek to me
  • It’s a wise father that knows his own child
  • Kill … with kindness
  • Knock, knock! Who’s there?
  • Laughing-stock
  • Lay it on with a trowel
  • Lean and hungry look
  • Let slip the dogs of war
  • Lie low
  • Like the Dickens
  • Lord, what fools these mortals be!
  • Love is blind
  • Make your hair stand on end
  • Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water
  • Milk of human kindness
  • Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows
  • More fool you
  • More honoured in the breach than in the observance
  • More in sorrow than in anger
  • More sinned against than sinning
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Mum’s the word
  • Murder most foul
  • My own flesh and blood
  • My salad days
  • Neither a borrower nor a lender be
  • Night owl
  • No more cakes and ale?
  • Not a mouse stirring
  • Now is the winter of our discontent
  • O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo
  • O, Brave new world
  • Off with his head
  • Oh, that way madness lies
  • Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
  • One fell swoop
  • One that loved not wisely, but too well
  • Out of the jaws of death
  • Out, damned spot!
  • Parting is such sweet sorrow
  • Play fast and loose
  • Pomp and Circumstance
  • Pound of flesh
  • Primrose path
  • Rhyme nor reason
  • Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything
  • Screw your courage to the sticking place
  • Send him packing
  • Set your teeth on edge
  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
  • Sharper than a serpent’s tooth
  • Short and the long of It
  • Short shrift
  • Shuffle off this mortal coil
  • Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep
  • Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em
  • Something in the wind
  • Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
  • Sorry sight
  • Spotless reputation
  • Star crossed lovers
  • Stiffen the sinews
  • Stony hearted
  • Stood on ceremonies
  • Strange bedfellows
  • Such stuff as dreams are made on
  • Sweets to the sweet
  • The be-all and the end-all
  • The better part of valour is discretion
  • The course of true love never did run smooth
  • The crack of doom
  • The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose
  • The Devil incarnate
  • The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers
  • The game is afoot
  • The game is up
  • The lady doth protest too much, methinks
  • The naked truth
  • The play’s the thing
  • The quality of mercy is not strained
  • The Queen’s English
  • The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
  • The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on
  • The working day world
  • The world’s mine oyster
  • There is a tide in the affairs of men
  • There’s method in my madness
  • Thereby hangs a tale
  • This is the short and the long of it
  • This is very midsummer madness
  • This precious stone set in the silver sea, this sceptered isle
  • This was the noblest Roman of them all
  • Though this be madness, yet there is method in it
  • Throw cold water on it
  • Thus far into the bowels of the land
  • Tis neither here nor there
  • To be or not to be, that is the question
  • To gild refined gold, to paint the lily
  • To make a virtue of necessity
  • To sleep: perchance to dream
  • To thine own self be true
  • Too much of a good thing
  • Truth will out
  • Under the greenwood tree
  • Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown
  • Unkindest cut of all
  • Up in arms
  • Vanish into thin air
  • We are such stuff as dreams are made on
  • We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
  • We have seen better days
  • Wear my heart on my sleeve
  • What a piece of work is a man
  • What the dickens
  • What’s done is done
  • What’s in a name?
  • What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
  • When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions
  • Where the bee sucks, there suck I
  • While you live, tell truth and shame the Devil!
  • Who wooed in haste, and means to wed at leisure
  • Wild goose chase
  • Woe is me

Comments

  1. avatarMary Bentley says

    Great job, Jonathan! I did the very same thing recently. I did a list of my favorite phrases, and I also did a list of my favorite quotes. Great minds think alike? ha

  2. avatarHilary Giffen says

    You can put them together…

    The dogs of war have eaten me out of house and home… Out! Out! damn Spot.

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