15 things we say today that we owe to Shakespeare

15 things we say today that we owe to Shakespeare

things we say

In celebration of Nebraska Shakespeare’s annual performances on UNO’s campus, we thought it would be fun to share why Shakespeare has stood the test of time.

We owe a lot to Shakespeare — more than you think, my friend.

In fact, you probably use many of Shakespeare’s phrases without realizing it.

Take the word, swagger. Two of Shakespeare’s plays — “Henry V” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — showcased the word.

In “Henry V” (Act 2, Scene 4), Williams said: “An’t please your majesty, a rascal that swaggered with me last night.”

In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 3, Scene 1), Puck said: “What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here, so near the cradle of the fairy queen?”

By transitive property, Shakespeare is responsible for your “swag.”

Here’s a list of 15 popular sayings we say or write so often, they’ve become clichés.

1. KNOCK, KNOCK! WHO’S THERE?
We bet you’re waiting for a punch line.
Meaning: Often a children’s joke, the phrase involves tension and anxiety.
From: MacBeth (Act 2, Scene 3)

2. GREEN-EYED MONSTER
Meaning: jealousy.
From: Othello (Act 3, Scene 3)

3. IN A PICKLE
Meaning: a difficult or uncomfortable situation.
From: The Tempest (Act 5, Scene 1)

4. FULL CIRCLE
Meaning: completes a cycle, returns to its beginnings.
From: King Lear (Act 5, Scene 3)

5. THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER
Meaning: being in a position to take advantage of life’s opportunities.
From: The Merry Wives Of Windsor (Act 2, Scene 2)

6. CATCH A COLD
Meaning: To get sick.
From: Cymbeline (Act 1, Scene 4)

7. IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME
Meaning: that something is indistinguishable or incomprehensible.
From: Julius Caesar: (Act 1, Scene 2)

8. FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE
Meaning: Respond to an attack by using a similar method as one’s attacker.
From: King John (Act 5, Scene 1)

9. LOVE IS BLIND
Meaning: an inability to see shortcomings in a lover; doing crazy things when in love.
From: The Merchant Of Venice (Act 2, Scene 6)

10. WILD GOOSE CHASE
Meaning: a hopeless and never-ending pursuit.
From: Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 4).

11. A HEART OF GOLD
Meaning: a very kind or honorable person
From: Henry V (Act 4, Scene 1).

12. BREAK THE ICE
Meaning: to start conversation.
From: The Taming Of The Shrew (Act 1, Scene 2).

13. LAUGHING STOCK
Meaning: a person subjected to ridicule.
From: The Merry Wives Of Windsor (Act 3, Scene 1).

14. WEAR YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE
Meaning: to express your emotions openly, especially when others notice without much effort.
From: Othello (Act 1, Scene 1).

15. METHOD TO HIS MADNESS
Meaning: Someone’s strange behaviour has a purpose.
From: Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2)

How many did you recognize? Let us know in the comments below.

(Sources: Mental Floss and Business Insider)

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