#163: 15 Practical English Expressions from Shakespeare

Did you know that William Shakespeare, one of the most famous English writers, hugely shaped how we speak English? In fact, he invented over 1700 new English words. So in this podcast we have hand picked 15 of the most useful expressions that you can start using to add a bit of sophistication to you English. And then maybe you can get a copy of one of Shakespeare’s plays and really put your English to the test. Aww yeah!

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Words You’ll Learn:

  • Poetic – having an emotional, sensitive way of expressing something
  • Set – the scenery built on the stage to make a play come to life
  • Playwright – someone who writes plays
  • Cliffnotes – a summary or simplification of a book
  • Infectious – having a viral or contagious nature
  • Bling bling – shiny jewelry that calls people’s attention
  • (name initial) money – a way of creating a nickname for someone (for example, E Money for Ethan, J Money for Justin) — not very common nowadays
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover – expression meaning that you can’t use something’s outer appearance to judge its quality
  • Handy – useful
  • Faint – weak; not bright
  • Passive Aggressive  – showing dissatisfaction through action rather than telling someone to his face
  • the silent treatment – to ignore someone when you are mad at him
  • knock – to use ones fist to make a noise (often on a door to tell someone that you have arrived)
  • (Name) who? – expression to ask for a last name if someone is at your door or on the phone (e.g. Ethan? Ethan who?)
  • Stocks – humiliation device used lock someone in a public place so they can’t move and people can laugh at them or throw things at them
  • Contraption – a device
  • Humiliating – something that makes you feel extremely embarrassed
  • Swoop – when a bird flies low and fast to catch its prey
  • Predator – an animal that hunts and eats other animals
  • Prey – an animal that is hunted and gets eaten by other animals
  • Flesh – meat (usually used to describe meat of the body, not meat that you eat)
  • Blood runs thicker than water – expression used to say that bonds to one’s family are stronger than to his friends
  • Put yourself out there – to put yourself in a position of vulnerability

15 Shakespeare Expressions:

  1. All that glitters is not gold
  2. All’s well that ends well
  3. Break the ice
  4. Faint Hearted
  5. Good riddance
  6. In my mind’s eye
  7. Kill them with kindness
  8. Knock knock! Who’s there
  9. Laughing stock
  10. Lie Low
  11. “There’s a method to my madness”
  12. One fell swoop
  13. One’s own flesh and blood
  14. A piece of work
  15. Wear my heart upon my sleeve


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  • Janet says:

    Great lesson ! Appreciated.. I loved the new expressions and words. I should learn them and keep them in my memory… hard job but should try.
    the below expressions I didn’t know would be from Shakespeare..
    1- All that glitters is not gold
    2- Break the ice

    Like always, grateful for your support ..

  • Jack Milgram says:

    Hey, great! By the way, here’s a good source on Shakespear and all his works https://custom-writing.org/blog/works-of-william-shakespeare?highlight=shakespear. Someone might find it useful.

  • Andrew says:

    Today I’m going to say just short to the point: direct download link actually leads to the previous podcast 162, not to the 163.