Weekly Vocab Builder: Shakespeare Inspired

Last week, we experienced the ides of March, or March 15. Since I can never pass March 15 without thinking of Shakespeare, this week’s words all appear in the great man’s work. If they don’t inspire you to write like Shakespeare, they should at least inspire you to read or watch ones of his plays. That’s language done well!

  • Ides: “Beware the ides of March” –Soothsayer, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene ii, line 18
  • Basilisk: “Would they were basilisk’s, to strike thee dead!” –Lady Anne, Richard III, Act I, Scene ii, line 150
  • Jovial: “Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks; Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night.” –Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, Act III, Scene ii, lines 28-29
  • Fustian: “For God’s sake thrust him down stairs. I cannot endure such a fustian rascal.” –Doll Tearsheet, 2 Henry IV, Act II, Scene iv, line 187
  • Rudesby: “No shame but mine. I must forsooth be forc’d to give my hand opposed against my heart unto a mad-brain rudesby full of spleen, who woo’d in haste, and means to wed at leisure.” –Katherine, Taming of the Shrew, Act III, Scene ii, lines 8-11
  • Malapert: “Peace, master marquess, you are malapert,” Queen Margaret, Richard III, Act I, Scene iii, line 254
  • Obsequious: “But you must know your father lost a father, that father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound in filial obligation for some term to do obsequious sorrow,” Claudius, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene ii, lines 89-92

You can find more Shakespearean words at these sites:

And you can read the great poet’s works online, for free, at The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, courtesy of MIT.

I leave you with this thought from The Tempest (Caliban, Act I, Scene ii, lines 63-64):

You taught me language, and my profit on’t is, I know how to curse. The red-plague rid you for learning me your language!

You can get the Vocab Builder every weekday by following me on Twitter.

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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