Invented Words, Gifts of the Bard
Even if you hobnob with the most jaded, remorseless pedant in academe, whose laughable, worthless, zany, flawed arguments dishearten you, the monumental radiance of the English language can’t fail to arouse amazement and excitement.
Fifteen words in that admittedly zany sentence were invented by William Shakespeare, who died 400 years ago this Saturday (April 23, 1616). Altogether he enriched English by more than 1700 words, many of them by combining existing words or adding a prefix or suffix.
I sometimes hear people treat vocabulary and grammar as fixed entities, correct or incorrect for all time. But English is always changing, and surely no one has changed it more than the Bard of Avon.
Factoid: Shakespeare’s exact birth and death dates are unknown. Tradition assigns both to April 23 based on records of his baptism and burial a few days later.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.