Review: Shakespeare’s Words

by David Crystal & Ben Crystal

This is a book that I almost can’t live without. It is essentially a dictionary of most of the words that Shakespeare uses in his plays. But I’d be selling it short if I said it was just that. The majority of the book is the dictionary. The editing is very clear and concise, it’s always the first place I look when I come across a word that I don’t know

Aside from just being a dictionary, every so often there are encyclopedic entries about various things; ie: counting numbers, insults/curses/swears, differentiating certain words, terms on a certain subject (mythology, ships, etc).

After all that, you get a couple pages devoted to each show which includes a sypnosis, a list of characters, and venn diagram-esque circles that visually show how all the characters are connected! It’s wonderful for some of the more complex plots where it helps to see how everyone is related. Especially the Hisories.

I’d be lying if I told you that I summarized everything in this book. You’ll just have to by it to see it yourself! This book is a must-have for all Shakespeare enthusiasts and theatre practicioners. Hence the 5 out of 5 rating. Go out and get it! Or else….

Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion

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Here’s a fairly new website who strives to be something great. Believe you me, they’re on their way. Lots of websites have the complete works online, but they’re all from the same source and have mistakes all over the place. has people working on these texts to give them a more friendly and scholarly edit to fix these mistakes. It’s a big job and the work has only just begun.

They also have the whole play as printed in the First Folio in modern type. Now you can see the capitalization, spelling, and punctuation as first printed in 1623. It’s a great resource if you don’t want to look through gigantic PDFs of a Facsimile copy of the Folio, or don’t have access to a physical book of the Folio.

My next favorite part of the plays is that they have mouse-over definitions. There aren’t a lot in there yet, but given some time you’ll have a one stop source for text analysis. The site also includes documents of hard to find info on many of the plays, a search feature of everything, and a really great discussion forum where there’s lots of great info posted, and a good place to get some help if you need it.

I could go on, but I’ll let you check it out for yourself. Overall I give 4 out of 5 Bards for their great resources and potential to be something amazing. If they finish what they started, I will most certainly give them an extra Bard.

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WOTD: Fardel

For the first word of the day, I just picked something random that came to mind.

Fardel or Farthel (n) IPA pronunciation:
1. a pack, a bundle
2. burden

Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box, which none must know but the king;
-The Winter’s Tale (IV.iv)

…who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
-Hamlet (III.i)

ETYMOLOGY: c.1300, from O.Fr. fardel, dim. of farde, perhaps from Arabic fardah.

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The Bard Blog Goes Online!

Welcome to the Bard Blog. A new site for my own amusement, and for your education and edification. The site will be under construction for a little while, and will be continually updated with new information. Check back soon! 

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