The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Neologisms

Neologisms 1 year 1 month ago #7334

  • Steve Minkin
  • Steve Minkin's Avatar
  • Online
  • Senior Player
  • Posts: 59
  • Thank you received: 10
The avant-garde music board on which I'm a regular poster has a lively film thread. Somebody recently saw Olivier's RIII, heard the word 'buzz' used in it, and asked me if that was the first use of the word.

Here's my reply, and since there must be other tales to be told of Will's neologisms, I'd thought I'd kick off a new thread with it.


Good pickup on 'buzz,' which is from HVI 3, II, 3, Earl of Warwick: "For though they cannot greatly sting to hurt,/
Yet look to have them buzz to offend thine ears." [There's a bit of HVI3 in the film.]

'Buzz' was the Elizabethan equivalent of the modern raspberry. Hamlet razzes Polonious in II, 2 "Buzz, buzz."

The related neologism that Shakespeare is credited with is "buzzer" from Hamlet. Claudius in IV, 5, talking of Laertes returning,
"Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps, himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death"

Here's some nice wordplay on 'buzz' from The Shrew:
Katherina. Too light for such a swain as you to catch;
And yet as heavy as my weight should be.
Petruchio. Should be! should- buzz!
Katherina. Well ta'en, and like a buzzard.
Petruchio. O, slow-wing'd turtle, shall a buzzard take thee?
Katherina. Ay, for a turtle, as he takes a buzzard.
Petruchio. Come, come, you wasp; i' faith, you are too angry.
Katherina. If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
Petruchio. My remedy is then to pluck it out.
Katherina. Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies.
Petruchio. Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting?
In his tail.
Katherina. In his tongue.
Petruchio. Whose tongue?
Katherina. Yours, if you talk of tales; and so farewell.
Petruchio. What, with my tongue in your tail?
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: William Shakespeare

Log in or Register

Forgot username  Forgot password
Get the Shakespeare Pro app