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William Shakespeare

Alternative forms[edit]


Common Middle English surname meaning "spearman", corresponding to shake (brandish a weapon) + spear.


Proper noun[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:


  1. A surname.
  2. William Shakespeare, an English playwright and poet of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
  3. His works or media adaptations of his works.
    He is reading Shakespeare.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (William Shakespeare): Note that Shakespeare's manuscripts use a great many different spellings of his surname, too numerous to list here. (At the time, some name spellings were much more variable than today, see Spelling of Shakespeare's name for a list.)

Derived terms[edit]



Shakespeare (countable and uncountable, plural Shakespeares)

  1. (uncountable) Eloquent language, especially English; poetry.
    • 1979 October 10, Russell Maker, “Highbrows Ruin Baseball's Language”, in Toledo Blade:
      This may not be poetry, but in competition with "Ryan has good velocity and excellent location" it is pure Shakespeare.
  2. (countable) A playwright of the standing of William Shakespeare
    • 1997 Vivien Allen, "Hall Caine: portrait of a Victorian romancer"
      Caine, he said, might be a budding Shakespeare but in Shakespeare's time all it took to put on a play was a barn, a crude stage, []

See also[edit]


Proper noun[edit]

Shakespeare m

  1. Shakespeare (William Shakespeare, English playwright)