Posts tagged ‘shakespeare’

The Plastic End of a Shoelace is Called an Aglet

By Chad Upton | Editor

Originally and occasionally still, Aglets are made from metal, often copper or brass.

The word Aglet (or Aiglet) comes from an old french word, aguillette and it’s root word is aguille, which means needle. This makes sense since aglets make it easy to thread laces through eyelets in garments and shoes.

Metal aglets can still be found on garments, although usually as decorative accents rather than functional fasteners. Some of these decorative aglets are made from stone or glass and even shaped like small figurines. These go back to at least the fifteenth century, even Shakespeare references an “aglet baby” in The Taming of the Shrew.

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Sources: wikipedia (aglet), dictionary.com

October 3, 2011 at 2:00 am 7 comments

Shakespeare Coined Hundreds of Words and Phrases In Use Today

By Kyle Kurpinski

Among high schoolers (and even among many adults) William Shakespeare’s writing has a reputation for being horrendously confusing. Consider this quote from The Tempest (IV, i, 51-54):

Look thou be true; do not give dalliance

Too much the rein: the strongest oaths are straw

To th” fire i’th” blood: be more abstemious,

Or else, good night your vow!

I am well out of high school, but passages like that remind me why I majored in Engineering and not English Lit.

Yet, the Bard’s reputation for using baffling and “archaic” language isn’t necessarily well-deserved. Estimates vary as to the exact number of unique words found in Shakespeare’s complete works, but there is a general consensus that his plays and poetry contain approximately 1,700 words never previously seen in print, and not all of them are obscure relics like crant (garland/crown) or rigol (circle). Here is just a small sampling of “everyday” words originally given to us by William Shakespeare:

  • Bloody
  • Bump
  • Critic
  • Eyeball
  • Gloomy
  • Gossip
  • Housekeeping
  • Hurry
  • Laughable
  • Lonely
  • Obscene
  • Road
  • Skim milk

If that wasn’t enough of a contribution, the Bard also created phrases such as:

  • Wear one’s heart upon one’s sleeve
  • Love is blind
  • Good riddance
  • Heart’s content
  • Discretion is the better part of valour
  • A foregone conclusion

Shakespeare didn’t necessarily invent all these bits of language; he wrote at a time when English was rapidly evolving and mass publishing was in its early stages, so in some cases he may have only been the first to print them. But even if he didn’t coin all these terms from scratch, most scholars seem to agree that he was probably responsible for a fair share. Confounding verses and outdated words aside, Shakespeare should be remembered for what he was: one heck of an incredible writer and a pioneer of new language. To see more of Shakespeare’s commonly used words and phrases, click on the sources below.

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Source: No Sweat Shakespeare, Shakespeare-Online, WordSpin, The Phrase Finder, Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

May 23, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments


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