Some Compound Words Invented by Shakespeare
That You Can Choose to Count as True "Invented Words"

Shakespeare, like all the playwrights of his generation, used a lot of compound words in his plays - well over 3000 of them - and he invented a lot of them too. But it somehow seems wrong to include terms such as aglet-baby, bread-chopper and earth-vexing, all of which Shakespeare invented, as part of our list of true "words invented by Shakespeare". There is something a little too arbitrary about compound words, which basically allow an author to stick any two words together to create a new noun or adjective or verb.

So, we have decided to simply treat Shakespeare's compound-words separately from his regular words. Basically, our rule is that we will count as compound words those "words" which are were formed by combining two actual independent words.

However, we must admit that there are certain words, like out and up, which when they are used as the first word of a compound word, they really seem to behave more like prefixes rather than the first of two compounded words; so much so, in fact, that you may disagree with my categorizing them outside of the caste of pure invented words, and into the inferior category of "compound words".

I admit this is a bit of a conundrum; so, here is what we have decided to do: below we have decided to publish a list of those compound words invented by Shakespeare whose first word may be thought to behave more like a prefix than a word, and you the reader may decide if you want to add them to the list of 594 words we count as having been invented by Shakespeare.




  1. after-debt
  2. after-enquiry
  3. after-eye
  4. after-loss
  5. after-meeting
  6. after-nourishment


  1. below-stairs


  1. by-dependancy
  2. by-drinking
  3. by-peep
  4. by-room


  1. counter-reflect


  1. demi-Atlas
  2. demi-natured
  3. demi-paradise
  4. demi-puppet
  5. demi-wolf


  1. down-gyved
  2. down-rase
  3. down-rope
  4. down-sleeve(s)
  5. down-trod


  1. fore-bemoaned
  2. fore-spurrer
  3. fore-vouched


  1. outbreast
  2. outbreathed
    (adj. 2)
  3. out-crafty
  4. outdare
  5. outdared
  6. outdwell
  7. out-Herod
  8. out-jest
  9. outlustre
  10. out-night
  11. out-paramour
  12. outscorn
  13. outsell
  14. outsport
  15. outstay
  16. outsweeten
  17. outswell
  18. outvenom
  19. outvillain
  20. out-worth






  1. overbeat
  2. overbulk
  3. over-dust
  4. overdyed
  5. over-gall
  6. overglance
  7. overgreen
  8. overleaven
  9. over-merry
  10. over-office
  11. overparted
  12. overperch
  13. over-picture
  14. overpost
  15. over-red
  16. overripened
  17. overscutched
  18. overshower
  19. oversize 
    (verb 1)
  20. oversnow
  21. overstare
  22. overstink
  23. over-swear
  24. overteemed
  25. overteeming
  26. overweathered


  1. undercrest
  2. under-fiend
  3. under-hangman
  4. underhonest
  5. under-peep
  6. underprize
  7. under-skinker


  1. up-locked
  2. up-pricked
  3. uprighteously
  4. uproused
  5. upstairs
  6. upswarm
















Site Still Under Construction


1. Master List of All Words “Invented” by Shakespeare, and links to detailed tables.

2. Still-Common Words First Appearing in a work by Shakespeare - a complete list.

3. Still-Common Compound Words First Appearing in a work by Shakespeare.

4. Common Words WRONGLY Attributed to Shakespeare.

5. Common Compound-Words WRONGLY Attributed to Shakespeare.

Did Shakespeare Really Invent Words?

Did Shakespeare Say it First? Common words and expressions commonly attributed to Shakespeare.

Why did Shakespeare invent words?


Exploring the Language and Invented Words of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

(c)2019, All Rights Reserved
This website may use Cookies
This website may use Cookies in order to work better. At anytime you can disable or manage it in your browser's settings. Using our website, means you agree with Cookies usage.

OK, I understand or More Info
Cookies Information
This website may use Cookies in order to work better. At anytime you can disable or manage it in your browser's settings. Using our website, means you agree with Cookies usage.
OK, I understand