10 Phrases From Shakespeare We Still Use 400 Years After His Death

PHOTO: English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, is pictured in an engraving by William Holl, circa 1800. Universal History Archive/Getty Images
English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, is pictured in an engraving by William Holl.

Four centuries after William Shakespeare died in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, England, his distinctive vernacular still lives on worldwide.

The beloved playwright wrote at least 37 plays during his lifetime, including "Hamlet," "Othello," "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Romeo and Juliet," and gave the English lexicon hundreds phrases we still use today.

Here are 10 Shakespearean terms that have withstood the test of time:

"Good Riddance"
Meaning, to happily get rid of anything deemed worthless, this phrase originated in Shakespeare's 1609 play "Troilus and Cressida." The idiom was so durable, it even became the name of a popular Green Day song in 1997.

"Break the Ice"
Shakespeare wrote this group of words in his 1590 play "The Taming of the Shrew." It means to overcome a socially awkward situation.

"Wild Goose Chase"
First seen in 1597's "Romeo and Juliet," a person who goes on a "wild goose chase" is searching for something that's likely not attainable.

"Love Is Blind"
Shakespeare created this phrase -- often said as a warning -- from his play "The Merchant of Venice," first performed in 1605. It means that sometimes one's feelings for their loved ones can obscure reality.

"Brave New World"
This expression from Shakespeare's play "The Tempest," believed to have been written between 1610-1611, refers to a prominent moment in societal history.

"Naked Truth"
Shakespeare wrote this phrase in his play "Love's Labour's Lost," written in the 1590s. It means what you think: the complete and utter truth.

"Green Eyed Monster"
Seen for the first time in 1603's "Othello," this idiom was Shakespeare's way of describing how jealousy looks.

"Bated Breath"
This is another phrase from "The Merchant of Venice," which means to be so excited, anxious or nervous that you're actually holding your breath.

"[Fight] Fire With Fire"
Shakespeare wrote this phrase in his 1623 play "King John." It means to use the same tactics as an opponent to beat them, even if you have to play dirty.

"Laughing Stock"
These two words appear in Shakespeare's play "The Merry Wives of Windsor," published in 1602. It describes a person or thing that is greatly ridiculed.