Would you consider yourself fashionable? Have you checked out our fashionable bridal products? Would you favour a fashionable host? Well, you wouldn’t even have the opportunity if it wasn’t for William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is a household name today, and he’s earned it! With 37 plays and 154 sonnets under his belt, containing over 10,000 words, and variations thereof, that are believed to have been used uniquely by Shakespeare (and now feature in our everyday lives), he’s had a big impact on our literary society and language.
“Fashionable” just so happens to be one of those words coined by The Bard, and was believed to be first used in this adjective form in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Troilus & Cressida (Act iii, Scene iii). So, if you’ve ever considered yourself ‘fashionable’, were fashionably late, or favoured a ‘fashionable host’ – you were quoting Shakespeare!
Although, were you? That’s not really the full story and we can’t just not tell you the rest, Shakespeare wouldn’t have wanted it that way. When you say ‘fashionable’ you’re probably not using it in the same way Shakespeare meant it.
“For time is like a fashionable host,
That slightly shakes his parting guest by th’ hand”
‘Fashionably late’ is probably the closest interpretation of Shakespeare’s original use of the word.
The way Shakespeare used it, it’s likely to mean inconstant, facile and shallow (which are really still the definitions of ‘fashion’ and ‘fashionable’ as we use them if you think about it), but we see it as a positive thing and use the word in a positive light, differently to how it was originally used when it was coined.
Shakespeare gave us so many words and phrases that are used today, and the English language wouldn’t be what it is now without him, but as a society we still push and adapt and change our language all by ourselves. Forever creating new language trends, abbreviations and words. It’s not just Shakespeare who has changed the way we view language, it’s all of us, all the time, forever.
Shakespeare lives in how we view language, how we use language and how we change language.