As we all know Shakespeare was adept at creating numerous words for his own works, which are even today in common usage (whether we known their origin or not!) So today’s question is: Do you make your own vocabulary words in your book or resort to the existing ones?
Here is a list of Shakespeare’s unique words:
Bandit Henry VI, Part 2. 1594
Critic Love’s Labour Lost. 1598.
Dauntless Henry VI, Part 3. 1616.
Dwindle Henry IV, Part 1. 1598.
Elbow (as a verb) King Lear. 1608.
Green-Eyed (to describe jealousy) The Merchant of Venice. 1600.
Lackluster As You Like It. 1616.
Lonely Coriolanus. 1616.
Skim-milk Henry IV, Part 1. 1598.
Swagger Midsummer Night’s Dream. 1600.
Shakespeare must have loved the prefix un- because he created or gave new meaning to more than 300 words that begin with it. Here are just a few:
Unaware Venus & Adonis. 1593.
Uncomfortable Romeo & Juliet. 1599
Undress Taming of the Shrew. 1616.
Unearthly A Winter’s Tale. 1616
Unreal Macbeth. 1623
When we look at these words it is fascinating to think until the Bard created them they did not exist!
Please post your comments below.
Last week’s question: Where is your perfect writing retreat?
Weather it’s sitting somewhere with a legal pad, or sitting at my desk in front of my desktop computer, I need complete silence when I write.
Although I began my novel, NOLA Gals with an extended metaphor of the ocean while on a cruise, poolside with a tropical drink, I wrote most of it alone at my sister’s cottage. I moved back and forth between deck and kitchen table, piling up research books & handwriting historical data in ringed notebooks. Eventually it all came together on my laptop.
Today’s prompt is two-fold. Firstly, a theme: A Fall Walk and secondly, words to include: bird, wheel, envelope.
Here is my response:
Gerald replaced the letter into the envelope, folded it in half and pushed into his jacket pocket. With a scarf wrapped tightly around his neck to keep the fall chill from creeping in, he pulled on gloves and his heavy hiking boots.
“I’m just popping out for some fresh air, Martha.”
“All right, dear, the soup will take about two hours, so don’t go too far.”
Gerald tutted under his breath. Martha always had a schedule and woe betide you if you didn’t keep to it. He called back as he exited the warmth of the house and entered the golden hued avenue.
“I’ll be on time, Martha.”
With determined steps, he walked along the treed avenue focused on his destination. Turning a corner a bird flew upward from its foraging in the leaf litter startling him.
“Silly bird!” he turned to follow the bird’s flight path and tripped. Stumbling with hands outstretched to save himself. One hand became entangled in the wheel of a bicycle and Gerald and the rider crumpled into a heap on the verge.
“Oh my God! I’m so sorry. I tried to stop when I saw you falling but wasn’t quick enough. Are you okay?” The young man’s voice was tense with worry.
“Just a bit shocked. Although, I think I may have hurt my hand.”
“Let me see. Can you take off the glove?”
Gerald pulled at the woollen material and winched.
“Oh, that doesn’t look good. I’m going to call an ambulance.”
“It’s just bruised, an ice pack will suffice, I’m sure.”
“Well you will have to do that quickly. I should come with you to make sure it is not more serious. I’m a doctor.”
Gerald looked at the young man- how can you be a doctor? You look as though you’re in high school. Not wanting to be rude, Gerald kept his thoughts to himself.
“I live just up here. It’s not necessary to come – really.”
Gerald let the doctor accompany him home. Martha, of course, made a huge fuss. The envelope’s content would have to wait another day.
Your prompt today is to use these words in a short story or poem – octopus, surrender, bright
Have fun! My story is below.
With a deep breath, I plunged into the bright blue ocean. The water felt cool against my skin, refreshing after the heat of the Caribbean sun. Goggles and snorkel tightly strapped to my head, I gazed at the beautiful corral and brightly coloured fish swimming in all directions away from me. Careful to swim slowly and keep the top of my snorkel above the water, I rounded an outcrop of rock to find a steep drop ahead. The pale seawater around me descended into a dark hole dropping into unknown depths. What lay within those dark waters? I had promised to keep to the shallows but the temptation was too much. Just a quick look would be all right, surely?
I surfaced to look toward the beach and locate my parents. They were lying on beach loungers, enjoying cocktails under the palm trees. Too busy to notice their son swimming beyond the corral reef, identified as his limit. Breathing in and out several times, I filled my lungs to bursting, having no idea how long I would have to swim downwards. Using strong strokes I descended quickly into the gloom. Shimmering lines of light highlighted more brightly adored fish and corral at first then it became darker and colder.
My lungs were beginning to complain when I saw a long tentacle grab a small fish. An octopus! Wow, now I did have to keep going. What if I could catch it? As I turned, an undulating mass rose from the rock ahead of me. It was changing colour from deep brown to pinkish beige as it swam upwards. Following closely, I anticipated its direction and quickly held three of its tentacles, swimming to the surface in a rush as my head was becoming dizzy. Gasping for air while holding my captive tightly, I did not have enough breath to call out to my Dad.
A tentacle wrapped around my arm while another found my throat and began to squeeze. That’s not good. I slid a hand between a couple of suckers and my neck and pushed with all my strength. For a small animal it sure was strong. I needed to grab all the tentacles then it would surely surrender. I only wanted to show Dad then I would let it go.
A couple of tentacles wrapped around my right thigh making treading water difficult. I just needed to get to the shallows then I could walk and shout to my Mum and Dad. A mouthful of water made me cough and swallow more. Spots burst in front of my eyes. I was sinking. Kicking as furiously as I could with my left leg I surfaced for a moment and gasped for air. I had to get this thing off me or I would be the one surrendering.
“All right, lad?”
It was a strangers voice behind me. I turned my head as far as I could to plead for help. The tentacle around my throat was too tight for me to speak now.
“Let’s get him off you, shall we?”
A slight nod from me was enough for the man to pull at the octopus and release my neck from its grip. Next he wrestled the tentacles around my leg and then I was free. The last I saw of that octopus was its tentacles flying through the air before plunging into the depths.
“Thank you so much. Thought I would drown.”
“Have to be careful out here, young man. Keep to the shallows and you should be all right.”
I held out my hand to the stranger. He smiled and gave it a firm shake.
“You bet. Thanks again.”
I didn’t relay my story to my parents until a few days later when we were on the flight home. I knew they would have forbidden me to go in the ocean otherwise. Although, I did heed the stranger’s advice and kept to the shallows for the rest of our stay.
I would love to read your story/poem – why not share in the comments?
Use these words dude ranch, matter, scorn in a story or poem.
With nonchalant ease he leaned against the fence post, blowing smoke rings into the clear blue sky. His Stetson pushed back to reveal a rugged face bearing the signs of harsh weather and too much sun. She could see callouses on his palm as he held up a hand in welcome. Years of pulling at ropes and holding branding rods left their mark on this man. In her eyes he was the ‘dude’ of the ranch. The one the other ranch hands looked up to and admired. He sensed bad weather long before the reporters told their tale on TV or the clouds rolled in. With practiced ease he roped calves, rode all day to search out stragglers and confronted danger with a grin on his face.
He mattered to the crew not only as their leader and teacher but also a fierce and loyal friend, once they proved themselves worthy. It was a rite of passage to have his scornful look change to admiration for the young cowboys, learning the ways of cattle ranching. Weather beaten, tired and bruised, many found the daily life too much and left but a few chose the harshness to be part of an unusual existence. A way of life threatened by the modern world.
Why not try your own story or poem using these words?