DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Oct 24 2011

Sci-fi Shakespeares

by Jesse M

The poet and playwright William Shakespeare had a dramatic influence on the English language. In the course of producing the many plays, sonnets, and poems which he is now famous for, Shakespeare coined a plethora of new words and phrases (some estimates number in the thousands!), many of which continue to enrich our language and daily discourse hundreds of years later (just a few examples include “seen better days”, “full circle”, and “strange bedfellows”; more available here).

Shakespeare isn’t the only author to become a de facto wordsmith. Over the past century one group of authors have seen concepts, terms, and phrases introduced in their stories adopted by both the scientific and lay communities: Science fiction writers. The SF blog Io9 has compiled a short list of such words; follow this link to take a look. Some commonly used words and phrases sci-fi authors can claim credit for include “robotics”, “genetic engineering”, and “blast off” (introduced by Isaac Asimov, Jack Williamson, and E.E. Smith, respectively).

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