For every piece of prose you mangled in that high school performance of Hamlet, it’s highly likely that there’s a phrase you use throughout the live long day that also came from Shakespeare. That’s because today’s English language uses an astonishing number of phrases that were either popularized by Shakespeare or created by the Great Bard.
“Break the Ice” – Taming of the Shrew
Let’s break the ice by talking about some common phrases you wouldn’t think were all that old. “Taming of the Shrew” is a comedy published in around 1590 that has had surprising staying power. Like other romantic comedies of his era and ours, this one involved a marriage plot. However, unlike most romantic comedies, this one doesn’t end with the marriage. Instead Shakespeare examines married life. Words and phrases such as “cold comfort,” (“Taming of the Shrew/King John”), “refuse to budge an inch,” (“Measure for Measure”) and “kill with kindness” (“Taming of the Shrew”) are sharp observations about life. The play itself has been adapted in some unusual places, as with the 1999 Hollywood adaptation “10 Things I Hate About You.”