I am having a discussion with colleagues about a recent news article relating to new words in the dictionary (cleggmannia? really?) and got onto the subject of evolution of language, and how many words Shakespeare 'invented'.
Having never given the statistic a second thought until now, it occurs to me that it is bizarre to imagine someone who, at the time a successful popularist playwright, would just stick words of ambiguous meaning (to his audience at least) into his works.
Is it not a more sensible suggestion that he was simply the earliest recorded individual to write these words down, and that they were probably very much in common use at the time?