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ELIZABETHAN / SHAKESPEAREAN DICTIONARY
 

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Click on a letter to access the Online Shakespearean Dictionary

Have Fun with the Shakespearean Insults Generator!

William Shakespeare Online Dictionary
The Shakespeare language used in the works of the Bard is rich and colourful, but many of his odd words are no longer in current use or in the modern dictionary and the origins meanings of the Elizabethan vocabulary are totally unfamiliar.
 

    
William Shakespeare Education - the Elizabethan Alphabet - Differences only 24 letters - Deciphering manuscripts of the era

William Shakespeare's works sometimes appears to have a language of its own. Indeed, William Shakespeare did in fact invent many of the words that he used and these are documented in the William Shakespeare dictionary - inventing new words to the English language seems to be a definite objective for Shakespear! The words coined by Shakespeare are explained with their full origins and meanings. We have therefore included a free, online Shakespearean Dictionary for most of his expressions which are obscure or even obsolete in modern language or in a modern Dictionary. The online Shakespeare Dictionary includes all of the words coined by Shakespeare words together with their origins and meanings. See how many phrases and words in the free, online Shakespearean Dictionary are new to you and what the definition of their meanings and their origins are - it makes the language of the Great Bard much easier to understand. 

Use of Elizabethan / Shakespearean Words & Vocabulary
Shakespeare translations and understanding the real meanings behind some of the Shakespeare language in the great plays and sonnets can be difficult. And this is hardly surprising when the expressions and their meanings have been obsolete since the Elizabethan era!  Make a note of any unusual Shakespearean words that you encounter whilst reading the works in the language coined by William Shakespeare and then check the meaning of the Shakespearean vocabulary in the online Shakespearean Dictionary by clicking on the appropriate letter of the alphabet. Just glancing at the Shakespearean meanings detailed in our free, online Elizabethan Dictionary is very interesting - the meanings will help anyone studying the Bard's works.

The Elizabethan Vocabulary and Language of a Literary Genius
He was not born to the nobility and his Elizabethan education was quite basic as he left school at the age of 13 and never attended University. Neither of his parents could read or write - a dictionary was not that important during the era ! Yet his vocabulary was massive for a man of his background. A total of 15,000 different words were used in his plays and a further 7000 were used in his poems and sonnets. This gave him a vocabulary of 21,000 words when the average vocabulary of the day in Stratford, England, was less than 500. No wonder we need an online Shakespearean Dictionary ! Even by today's standards, the most celebrated authors do not exceed an average of 7500 words (The poet, John Milton was an exception and his totalled about 8000) and the average English speaking person only has about 2,000 words in their vocabulary. For a person with a University degree this range in vocabulary would rise to about 3000 to 4000. It is therefore no wonder that he is referred to as an Elizabethan Literary Genius and why we have included a free, online Elizabethan / Shakespearean Dictionary featuring the vocabulary coined by the Bard on this section of the site.

Interpreting Elizabethan / Shakespearean Manuscripts and Original Documents
Vital, but little known, information about the Elizabethan alphabet is essential when looking at copies of original manuscripts of the period - examples of which can be found in Shakespeare's ' First Folio '. Learning the alphabet used during the Elizabethan era will no doubt clarify many questions that the differences of the Elizabethan alphabet have raised such as "Couldn't Elizabethans spell properly?" and "Why is there so much confusion with the letters 'u' and 'v' and 'i' and 'j' ?Shakespeare translations and understanding the real meanings behind some of the Shakespeare language in the great plays and sonnets can be difficult. And this is hardly surprising when the expressions and their meanings have been obsolete since the Elizabethan era!  

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