Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted look at Shakespearean invention, June 22, 2012
This review is from: Coined by Shakespeare: Words and Meanings First Penned by the Bard (Hardcover)
According to various sources approximately 1531 words were first coined by Shakespeare. The leading resource on this appears be the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, which, if you leaf through it, you will find highlighted entries, showing who first used these particular words and quoting the play or poem where they were used.

By comparison this book, 274 pages long is composed of chapters on each letter, including quizzes, some pictures, an estimated coverage of one and a half words per page, with examples of usage and sometimes ontology, and is a somewhat light hearted look at the use of language, covering 450 to 490 words.

You may not know for example that the following words, according to the authors were coined by Shakespeare:

Accused, addiction, advertising, auspicious, bandit, baseless, bet, buzzer, courtship, dawn, denote, design, elbow, embrace, engagement, eyeball, fashionable, film, flawed, forward, generous, gloomy, glow, go-between, green-eyed (as in monster), gust, high-pitched (Rape of Lucrece), hint, hush, impede, inaudible, investment, jet, jig, kickshaw, kissing (really?), lackluster, lapse, launder, lonely, lower, luggage, manager, marketable, metamorphise, misquote, monumental, mimic, negotiate, noiseless, numb.

Obscene, ode, outbreak, Olympian, pageantry, pedant, perusal, premeditated, promethean, radiance, rant,roadway, reclusive, remorseless, retirement, rival, roadway,rumination, sacrificial, sanctimonious, scuffle, secure, shooting star, stealthy, switch, splitting, swagger, tardiness, threatingly, torture (2 Henry VI), tranquil, transcendence, unaware (V &A), unclog, undress (TTS), unmitigated, unreal, urging, varied, vaulting, watchdog,, weel-behaved, widen, widowed, wild-goose chase (RJ), worm-hole (RL), worthless, yelping (1H IV), yoking (VA), zany.

If you read this this book I think you will find it both informative, and entertaining. Why I do not give it a higher number of stars is that I was hoping for a book that includes all the words, so for me this book has a limited appeal and value. The subject is quite interesting.

I have researched several of the words published as originated by Shakespeare, in the Oxford edition, and elsewhere. Some words such as jet mentioned above were used by Greene, some coined by Marlowe faceless, light-borne, lineage, sweet-flowering, undecked, so there are some errors in attribution. Undoubtedly words such as kissing must have existed before they were first used in a play or a poem, nevertheless it is interesting to explore the origins.

I think you will find it enlightening, and there do not appear to be any inexpensive alternatives. One book I recommend is Shakespeare's Wordcraft (Softcover), which includes the use of Shakespearean language patterns, not specifically about coinage although some examples are included.

If you decide to get it, I think you will quite like it, and I hope this was helpful.
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L. Power "NLP"
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Huntingdon Beach

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,373