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William Shakespeare (Pic: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
William Shakespeare (Pic: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
William Shakespeare (Pic: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

We could probably keep running blog posts about Shakespeare’s use of words from now until the end of the internet and never run out of new gems to mine from his illustrious back catalog.

It all depends which tack you want to take. There are the insults, the terms, words and phrases he minted that have become common parts of the English language, and now this, a collection of poetic ways to say the sort of things people usually employ slang to describe.

Which means quite a lot of big talk and some really creative nicknames. Your job is to bring them back into active service:

“I’ll tickle your catastrophe”
From: Henry IV Part 2
Translation: I’ll not only bring about your downfall, I’ll enjoy it too.

From: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Translation: To remove or deprive someone of their belongings.

“Thou art… an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.”
From: King Lear
Translation: You’re unworthy of my attention, and a leech on my kindness.

From: All’s Well That Ends Well
Translation: Evil, wicked or criminal.

“Barbary cock-pigeon”
From: As You Like It
Translation: A jealous man who keeps his wife away from other men. Named after a breed of pigeon from the Barbary coast.

From: Henry IV Part 2
Translation: A smelly old woman.

“You are not for all markets”
From: As You Like It
Translation: In love matters, you’d be well advised to take whatever you can get.

From: Henry IV Part 2
Translation: a good man, a gentleman or admirable person.

“Away you three-inch fool!”
From: The Taming of the Shrew
Translation: You have an underwhelming member, now go away.

From: Hamlet
Translation: Sneaking or hiding in the shadows.

From: Henry IV Part 1
Translation: A lazy person.

From: As You Like It
Translation: Someone for whom love is their business. A tradesperson for amorous affection.

“I do desire we may be better strangers”
From: As You Like It
Translation: Consider yourself unfriended.

From: King John
Translation: Either demonstrating a basic lack of respect or appearing to be entirely without fear.

From: Much Ado About Nothing
Translation: Someone who works or reads late into the night, a burner of the midnight oil.

Source: Shakespeare’s words

See more:
WATCH: If Shakespearean Insults Were Used Today…
12 British Actors Reading Shakespeare for Shakespeare Day
9 TV Characters Who Owe It All to Shakespeare
Personality Quiz: Which Shakespearean Tragedy Art Thou?

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By Fraser McAlpine