Talk Like William Shakespeare Day takes place most years on March 22. The holiday began in 2009. Some governing bodies in the U.S. have moved the date around but the holiday remains officially in March. The holiday is a fun affair with people adding a bit of silliness to their days by talking like Shakespeare. Most simply add in a few ‘thou’s and ‘-eth’ to the end of the occasional word, while others go all out and recite the happenings of their day in ‘Iambic Pentameter.’ Either way, the point is to have fun with words!
History of Talk Like William Shakespeare Day
William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-Upon-Avon. He was born into a modest family and went on to write 37 published plays in his life as well as a collection of sonnets. What’s astounding about Shakespeare is that his writing and character helped to establish the famed Globe Theater in England, and shaped the development and history of the English language. No small feat for anyone, let alone one writer.
People often speculate about the life of the ‘Bard of Avon.’ He was one of eight children who grew up in what historians theorize to be a fairly stable household for the period. Shakespeare even had the chance to attend school, where he learned Latin and grammar skills, for which he is now famous. He was married to Anne Hathaway at 18, and they stayed married for many years. It was only during this period of his life that he began to write and perform, but he quickly gained attention for his work. By the time Shakespeare had reached his 30s, his portfolio of work had grown in number and variety of content. At this point, he had begun to write about the complex geography, culture, and clashing personalities of London in a way that showed great skill and understanding. It was around 1592 when Shakespeare’s first plays were released — they covered his three main genres: comedy, tragedy, and history.
From there, Shakespeare’s fame only continued to grow, as he penned his most famed and widely beloved plays between the 1590s and his retirement in 1612. Globally-loved plays like “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” were produced during this time, and have gone on to remain classic works of literature even to this day.
Talk Like William Shakespeare Day timeline
William Shakespeare is born to John Shakespeare who was a glove maker and Mary Arden who was the daughter of a farmer.
Between 1585 and 1592, all records of Shakespeare disappear, and there is nothing factual to suggest where he is or what he is doing.
Shakespeare and his troupe, known as the “King’s Men,” establish the Globe Theater.
William Shakespeare dies of unknown causes and leaves his estate to his surviving wife and eldest daughter.
Some 406 years later, Shakespeare’s tomb lies undisturbed — despite archaeologists' attempts to request otherwise.
Talk Like William Shakespeare Day FAQs
What does I bite my thumb at thee mean?
It is the historical equivalent of flipping someone off with the middle finger.
How do I talk like Shakespeare?
You already do! Many well-known widely used phrases and words come from his works. But if you’re looking for specifics, then swap out please for ‘prithee’, and you for ‘thee/thou.’
how old was Shakespeare when he died
He was 52 years old and was buried at Holy Trinity Church.
Talk Like William Shakespeare Day Activities
Talk like Shakespeare
Throw in the occasional ‘-eth’ to end off your words, use ‘thou’ as much as you can, and have fun doing so. This is not the day to take yourself too seriously.
Sample one of Shakespeare’s works
Go ahead and enjoy the works Shakespeare is famed for. You have your pick of dozens of plays, and collections of sonnets and poetry to choose from.
Learn some new phrases
Shakespeare was a creative bard that coined many words we use today — he also came up with even more outlandish insults and compliments that are pure gold. Our personal favorite today is, “You speak an infinite deal of nothing.”
5 Interesting Facts About Shakespeare
The name has different spellings
There are records showing Shakespeare’s name being spelled as Shaxberd, Shappere, and even the man himself signing his name as Shakspere.
Speculations about why he disappeared
There are theories about how, during his disappearance, Shakespeare fled his hometown after having been seen poaching deer on a local politician’s estate.
A nightmare audience
Audiences in the Globe Theater were far more interactive than today’s audiences — they were allowed to yell their thoughts on the performance and actors.
A cursed grave
Upon Shakespeare’s grave, there is a curse written by the man himself — it warns against disturbing his bones, and to this day, the grave remains untouched.
A wordsmith of note
Shakespeare introduced almost 3,000 words to the English language through his written work.
Why We Love Talk Like William Shakespeare Day
It is a fun-themed day
Whatever way you look at it, Talk Like William Shakespeare Day is just fun. It’s a day to be silly and celebrate how the English language has grown and changed from time to time.
It celebrates a historical figure
We can all agree that Shakespeare’s work was transformative. Without him being as revolutionary and clever as he was, we wouldn’t have the host of words and phrases the English language has today.
It’s a good teaching tool
Shakespeare’s works are mandatory teaching in most English-speaking schools around the world. His plays may not be the most riveting thing for a bored teenager to read, but letting those bored youths talk in a funny voice and be a little disruptive is a way to teach them to understand Shakespeare’s works. After all, the man hugely disrupted English literature.
Talk Like William Shakespeare Day dates