Shakespeare's Words & Phrases
Shakespeare's Words & Phrases
  • 경남타임즈(경남대학교)
  • 승인 2019.06.07 13:32
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By Miwon Jo


William Shakespeare(15641616) invented over 1700 words and coined many phrases in the English language that we still use today.


Even though William Shakespeare wrote over 400 years ago, we continue to use words and phrases found in his sonnets and plays. You could be quoting Shakespeare without knowing it. Read on to learn more phrases that we attribute to Shakespeare's plays.


Shakespeare's Phrases


These phrases are often attributed to Shakespeare:


1. All that glitters isn't gold (Merchant of Venice)

번쩍이는 것이 다 금은 아니다.

The proverbial saying 'All that glitters is not gold' means that not everything that is shiny and superficially attractive is valuable.



2. Bated breath (The Merchant of Venice)

(기대·불만으로) 숨을 죽이고


We waited with bated breath for the winner to be announced.


3. All's well that ends well (All's Well that Ends Well)

끝이 좋으면 모두 좋다; 도중에 잘 되지 않는 일이 있다고 해도 마지막만 잘 되면 좋다는 것을 뜻하는 속담 오늘날에는 상투어로 쓰인다.


I'm glad you finally got here, even though your car had a flat tire on the way. Oh, well. All's well that ends well.



4. The clothes make the man (Hamlet)

옷이 사람을 만든다(옷이 날개).

The phrase clothes make the man is a proverb that means that people are judged according to the way they are dressed.


I'm not surprised John was fired because he never dressed professionally, and the clothes make the man. You really need to get some better work clothes before starting this new job. The clothes make the man, you know



5. Brevity is the soul of wit (Hamlet)

간결함은 지혜의 본질이다.


[Proverb] Conciseness of expression is an essential characteristic of astute, perceptive, or witty remarks.


Dale took ten minutes to tell that joke; he obviously doesn't know that brevity is the soul of wit. The comedian was in the middle of a long, tedious story when someone in the audience shouted, "Brevity is the soul of wit!"


6. What's done is done (Macbeth)

지나간 일은 할 수 없다.


[Proverb] Events that have already taken place cannot be changed and actions that have already been committed cannot be undone, so it is best not to dwell on them.

I know, but what's done is done.

7. Foregone conclusion (Othello)

피할 수 없는[분명한] 결과

If you say that a particular result is a foregone conclusion, you mean you are certain that it will happen.


Most voters believe the result is a foregone conclusion.


8. Jealousy is the green-eyed monster (Othello)

the green-eyed monster 질투, 시기


O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster.

Othello, Act 3 Scene 3


9. Wear my heart upon my sleeve (Othello)

() 보이다.

reveal one´s heart; give oneself away; disclose one´s intention; wear one´s heart on one´s sleeve


I am not a man to wear my heart upon my sleeve.


10. Break the ice (The Taming of the Shrew)

(특히 회의·파티 등을 시작할 때) 서먹서먹한[딱딱한] 분위기를 깨다.

to say or do something to make people feel relaxed and comfortable at a party or a meeting


Break the ice with tea or coffee and get to know your client a little better.



11. It's Greek to me (Julius Caesar)

뭐가 뭔지 하나도 모르겠다.

[Phrase] Alternative form of it's all Greek to me


a way of saying that you do not understand something that is said or written


She tried to explain how the system works, but it’s all Greek to me.



12. Melted into thin air (The Tempest)

자취도 없이 사라지다.

melt[disappear, vanish] into thin air

To suddenly disappear completely, without leaving a trace.


The snow melted into thin air.


13. Not slept one wink (Cymbeline)

한 숨도 자지 못했다.

to not sleep at all:


I didn't sleep a wink last night with all that noise.


14. The world is my oyster (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

내 뜻대로 할 수 있다.

I can do whatever I want in this world.


I feel like the world is my oyster.


15. Neither rhyme nor reason (The Comedy of Errors)

도대체 영문을 모름.

No particular logic, sense, method, or meaning of a given situation, action, person, thing, group, etc.


I've looked over it several times, but there's neither rhyme nor reason to the agreement we were sent this morning.



16. Star-crossed lovers (Romeo and Juliet)

불행한 연인.

Two people in love who are forced to be apart by circumstances or influences outside of their control.


It's about two star crossed lovers, kept apart by a big feud.



17. Wild-goose chase (Romeo and Juliet)

헛수고, 쓸데없는 노력.

A prolonged or chaotic search for something that is difficult to find (often because it does not exist).


It's a wild goose chase to do this without a plan.






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