English playwright William Shakespeare invented new words in the 16th and 17th centuries that became commonly used in modern English, with an estimated 1,700 words whose origins are traced back to his works. Shakespeare did not necessarily come up with completely new words, but rather he tended to add prefixes or suffixes to already established words or change nouns into verbs, or vice versa. Examples of words first used in Shakespeare’s works include assassination, disheartened, inaudible and uncomfortable. Some historians believe that Shakespeare might not have been the one to invent the words but simply was the first to record words that previously had been used only orally.
More about William Shakespeare:
- Shakespeare was an entrepreneur who made money off lucrative real estate investments. Some historians believe this is why he was able to spend so much time writing.
- There is a period of seven years of Shakespeare’s life after the birth of his twins in 1585 during which there are no records of him and are referred to as “the lost years.” It is not known what he was doing at that time.
- Shakespeare has no descendants because his only grandchild, a granddaughter named Elizabeth, died in 1670 without having children.