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Happy Birthday and R.I.P., William Shakespeare

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare in 1564 and his death in 1616. I remember watching Mel Gibson’s movie version of Hamlet several years ago and rolling my eyes at all the cliches…until I realized that this is where those cliches came from!

In fact, our language is rife with phrases that if not coined by the bard himself, were made popular through his works. Here are just a few…and I mean just a few cliches we can trace back to Shakespeare:

love is blind

a fool’s paradise

….hold a candle to…

foregone conclusion

Off with his head!

sea change

One for all, all for one.  (Betcha thought that was Dumas!)

a sorry sight

the long and the short of it

all of a sudden

one fell swoop

dead as a doornail

my salad days

as luck would have it

it’s Greek to me

Brevity is the soul of wit.

vanished into thin air

eaten out of house and home

play fast and loose

fancy free

short shrift

high time

cold comfort

slept not a wink

fair play

foul play

fight fire with fire

green-eyed monster

household word

The truth will out.

Give the devil his due

in stitches

in a pickle

without rhyme or reason

wild goose chase

like the dickens

too much of a good thing

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