Mary Kenny: William the conqueror
400 years after Shakespeare's death, 15 facts about the Bard.
1 Was William Shakespeare - born at Stratford-upon-Avon 1564, died in 1616 - the greatest writer who ever lived? He certainly coined more words than any other wordsmith, bringing 2,035 new words into English, including addiction, dishearten, dwindle, lonely, well-read, multitudinous and hot-blooded.
2 The book The Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare reckons that Will used 29,066 different words in his 37 plays and 154 sonnets, and his own vocabulary was 17,000 words. Half the everyday clichés we use come from Shakespeare: "a sorry sight", "didn't sleep a wink", "break the ice", and "knock, knock, who's there?"