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14 votes

How did people know the meaning to Shakespeare's new words?

Actually, most of the new words appears to have based on existing words to some extent: either taking a noun and turning into a verb or vice versa (one example of this would be "to dawn"), or ...
andejons's user avatar
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13 votes
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How many of Shakespeare's words in his plays were new?

Strictly speaking, it is not possible to determine whether Shakespeare invented the words that had not been recorded before they appeared in his works. It is possible that at least some of these words ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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8 votes
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Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, link the sound form "hoe" to "whore"?

Most of these aren't saying "whore". The one that does is "Hohore", which according to this page is actually "ho whore"; "ho" here is the exclamation. Also, note the r in "hore". The Oxford English ...
Laurel's user avatar
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7 votes
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The origin of Tolkien's use of the term "hobbit"

There are two questions here: the origin of the idea of the ‘halfling’, and the origin of the word ‘hobbit’. The former seems to be adequately explained by European folklore, which describes dwarfs, ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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6 votes

Did Koestler coin "mimophant"?

Koestler certainly did describe Bobby Fisher as a "mimophant". In a column published in the Sunday Times on the 3rd of September 1972, he wrote: ... Bobby is a mimophant. A mimophant is a ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
5 votes
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What are T. S. Eliot’s “Jellicle Cats” and “Pollicle Dogs”?

Catherine Milner, Arts Correspondent of the Telegraph, wrote in 2002: According to Dr Faber, a retired physicist who is now 74 and lives in Cambridge, Eliot was "a very generous godfather and the ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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4 votes
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What is the correct term for "fine words"?

One possible term is mot juste, which means (in English), the exactly right word or phrasing. See Merrian-Webster. I believe it also means the same thing in French. We generally use the French ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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4 votes
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Did Koestler coin "mimophant"?

In his 1963 introduction to Suicide of a Nation?, Koestler says that he coined the word and I think we have no reason to doubt him. Note that on its first appearance the word was misprinted! A ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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3 votes
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Shakespeare's vasty deep: was "vasty" a recognised variant of "vast" at the time?

There are five occurrences of "vasty" in Shakespeare's plays: 1 Henry IV, III.1.50: "I can call spirits from the vasty deep" Henry V, Prologue: "Can this cockpit hold / The vasty fields of France?" ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes

What are T. S. Eliot’s “Jellicle Cats” and “Pollicle Dogs”?

Some extra material building on Spagirl’s answer. Eliot’s godson Tom Faber was the son of Geoffrey Faber, the co-founder of the publishers Faber and Faber for whom Eliot worked as an editor. Tom’s ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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2 votes
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Does "egourge" in Finnegans Wake derive from the Greek "egoourgos" meaning "worker for the self"?

Warning: I don't know any Greek (ancient or modern), so trust this answer at your own risk. Dramaturge comes from Greek dramatourgos, which breaks down into drama + ourgós (worker). Similarly for ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
  • 12.7k

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