Thursday, November 10, 2016

All from the bard

All from the Bard

Recent events have inspired politicians, pundits, and folks on the street to speak – shall we say – idiomatically. Any number of the printable idioms I’m hearing recently have been borrowed from William Shakespeare. Here’s to appreciating a brief sample:

“In a pickle”
from The Tempest

“Set your teeth on edge”
from Henry IV & The Winter’s Tale

“Not slept one wink”
From Cymbeline

“Makes your hair stand on end”
From Hamlet

“The world is my oyster”
(Actually, the original was, “The world’s mine oyster”)
From Falstaff

“Brave new world”
From The Tempest

“What’s done is done”
from Macbeth

May all your idioms be as well-tested.

Big thanks to this week’s sources: An English Muse, MIT’s Complete Works of Shakespeare.


  1. Speaking of politics...there's also "I smell a rat" from Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4, when Hamlet stabs Polonius behind the arras.

    I remember taking a friend to a performance of Hamlet, which he'd never seen. He said it was "okay", but "It's so full of cliches!" Haha. You've got some good ones here, Mr. Monger.

    1. Dearest Miss Allen,
      Thanks for coming by again & I'm so sorry I missed "I smell a rat." It belongs in this post.