8 words from Shakespeare that the business world still uses today

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Shakespeare's Words Used Today

Four hundred years after the Bard's death, we're still using the same words he gave us to get stuff done and make money.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

While most of us know Shakespeare for his extensive repertoire of plays like Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, few are aware of the profound impact he had on the evolution of modern English.

One scholar has identified as many as 15,000 different words that Shakespeare used in his plays, several of which he invented himself by combining existing words and borrowing words from foreign languages.

In fact, Shakespeare added hundreds of new words to the English language, including many commonly used words and colorful expressions that we still use today.

While many of these words may have already been in use in the daily speech used at the time he was writing his plays, the Oxford English Dictionary credits 2,000 of them to Shakespeare.

Scanning a list I found of words that were first used by Shakespeare, I was struck by how utterly familiar they sounded. These are words that we still use today--and frequently. Even if you've never read a play by Shakespeare, or watched a movie or TV adaptation of one, you probably use many of the words that are credited to him--every day.

I was also struck by the number of words that are used widely as part of today's business vocabulary. Here are 8 words Shakespeare gave the business world, along with a passage from one of his plays where it first appeared:

1. Manager

Businesses may be looking for more leaders these days, but they still rely on managers to get things done. Who would have thought this bread-and-butter word we use--mostly unconsciously--dozens of a times a week, came from Shakespeare? Yet you can find it in two of his plays, including Love's Labour's Lost and Midsummer's Night Dream:

Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
To wear away this long age of three hours
Between our after-supper and bed-time?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

2. Marketable

Whether you're a one-person stay-at-home freelancer, or a sprawling multinational with hundreds of thousands of employees, everything we do in business is about making our product or service as marketable as it can be. Shakespeare knew this four centuries ago when he dropped the word into his play, As You Like It:

Celia. By my troth, thou sayest true; for since the little wit that
fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have
makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.

Enter LE BEAU

Rosalind. With his mouth full of news.

Celia. Which he will put on us as pigeons feed their young.

Rosalind. Then shall we be news-cramm'd.

Celia. All the better; we shall be the more marketable.

Also see the most common misspelled words in each state:
51 PHOTOS
Most Misspelled words in each state
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8 words from Shakespeare that the business world still uses today

Alabama

Resume 

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Alaska

Desire

(Photo: Zoonar/N.Okhitin via Getty Images)

Arizona

Definitely 

(photo: TaylorB90/Flickr)

Arkansas

Diarrhea 

(photo: yorkfoto)

California

Gray

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Colorado

Receipt 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Connecticuit

Cancelled 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Delaware

Paronycha 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Florida

Gray

(photo: Shutterstock)

Georgia

Pneumonia 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Hawaii

Pterodactyl

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Idaho

Antelope

(photo: Shutterstock)

Illinois

Gray

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana

Gray

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Iowa

Gray

(photo: yorkfoto)

Kansas

Gray

(photo: Shutterstock)

Kentucky

Jealous

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana

Paran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Maine

Frustrated 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Maryland

Sincerely 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Massachusetts

Gray

(photo: Shutterstock)

Michigan

Gray

(photo: Shutterstock)

Minnesota

Gray

(photo: anthonylibrarian/Flickr)

Mississippi

Niece

(Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc via Getty Images)

Missouri

Maintenance 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Montana

Diagnose 

(photo: J.Stephen Conn/Flickr)

Nebraska

Seizures 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Nevada

Gorgeous

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Hampshire

Cancelled 

(photo: Shutterstock)

New Jersey

Hanukkah 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Mexico

Anniversary 

(photo: Shutterstock)

New York

Hanukkah

(photo: Shutterstock)

North Carolina

Cancelled

(photo: Getty Images)

North Dakota

Gray

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Ohio

Gray

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oklahoma

Hors d'oeuvres 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Oregon

Hallelujah 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Pennsylvania

Hanukkah

(photo: Henryk Sadura)

Rhode Island 

Magnetism

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Carolina

Resume

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Tennessee

Pneumonia

(photo: Shutterstock)

Texas

Beautiful 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Utah

Ornery 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Vermont

Radiator 

(photo: Shutterstock)

Virginia

Gray

(photo: Shutterstock)

Washington

Vacuum

(photo: Shutterstock)

West Virginia 

Relax

(Photo: dk_photos via Getty Images )

Wisconsin

Chihuahua  

(photo: Kubrak78)

Wyoming

Jealous

(Photo: Space Images via Getty Images)

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3. Negotiate

In business, we negotiate everything: Prices, delivery times, sales targets, compensation, severance packages. In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare uses the word "negotiate" to describe what you should do to avoid falling for someone just for their good looks:

Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love:
Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.

4. Leap-frog

Entrepreneurs say they want to "leap-frog" the competition. Okay, so maybe it sounds clich already, but that's probably because the word has been in use for more than 400 years, since Shakespeare first used it in a scene in Henry V in which the King attempts to woo the beautiful princess Katherine to become his wife:

If I could win a lady at
leap-frog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my
armour on my back, under the correction of bragging
be it spoken. I should quickly leap into a wife.

5. Employment

Business is about creating--and destroying--jobs. It's about employment of people, whether they work full-time or part-time, whether they're outsourced or in-sourced. Here's a character in Shakespeare's play, Two Gentlemen of Verona, making a pitch for a bunch of men who are trying to make up for past wrongs and find a decent job:

These banish'd men that I have kept withal
Are men endued with worthy qualities:
Forgive them what they have committed here
And let them be recall'd from their exile:
They are reformed, civil, full of good
And fit for great employment, worthy lord.

6. Investments

How could businesses get off the ground--or grow--without investments? Shakespeare probably wasn't thinking of Silicon Valley or unicorns when he used the word, but "investments" does make an appearance in two of his plays, Henry IV and Hamlet.

In both instances, "investments" refers to clothing, and it's used metaphorically in a scene in Hamlet when Polonius warns his daughter Ophelia about the prince:

In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile.

7. Outsell

If you want to get serious traction in business, you need to outsell your competition. Okay, so maybe Shakespeare didn't have customer acquisition metrics in mind, but he did use the word "outsell" to describe a beautiful woman in his play, Cymbaline:

I love and hate her: for she's fair and royal,
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman; from every one
The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
Outsells them all; I love her therefore

8. Undervalued

Companies that receive an offer from a potential acquirer like to argue they are being undervalued. Employees often complain how their talents and skills are undervalued by their company. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare uses the word to describe a woman's beauty:

In Belmont is a lady richly left;
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued

RELATED: Check out the famed last words of 18 famous people:

19 PHOTOS
Famous last words of 18 famous people
See Gallery
8 words from Shakespeare that the business world still uses today

Karl Marx, philosopher

"Last words are for fools who haven't said enough." 

SourceInternational Business Times

 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist

"I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."

Source: "The Power of Personality" by Sylvia Loehken

 (Photo by Joe Munroe/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Archimedes, mathematician

"Stand away, fellow, from my diagram!"

Archimedes was killed during the Second Punic War. According to the historian Plutarch, a soldier reportedly came up to the mathematician and told him to go with him to Marcellus.

Archimedes, however, refused to do so until he finished the problem he was working on. Enraged, the soldier killed him.

Sources: "The Parallel Lives" by Plutarch, "Famous Last Words" by Laura Ward

(Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Napoléon Bonaparte, French military and political leader

"France, the army, the head of the army, Joséphine."

Source: The Guardian

(Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Humphrey Bogart, actor

"I should never have switched from scotch to martinis."

Source: International Business Times

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Augustus Caesar, first Roman emperor

To his subjects he reportedly said:

"I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble."

And to his friends who were with him throughout his reign he said:

"Have I played the part well? Then applaud me as I exit."

Source: History

 (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Joe DiMaggio, baseball player

"I finally get to see Marilyn."

Source: ABC News

(AP Photo, File)

Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory

"I am not the least afraid to die."

Source: "Famous Last Words" by Laura Ward

(Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Bob Marley, musician

"Money can't buy life."

Source: The Guardian

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Leonardo da Vinci, inventor and painter

"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."

Source: Huffington Post

(Photo by Dito/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France

After accidentally stepping on her executioner's foot as she climbed the scaffold to the guillotine, she reportedly said:

"Pardon me. I didn't do it on purpose."

Source: "Famous Last Words" by Alan Bisbort

(Photo by Archiv Gerstenberg/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Michel de Nostradamus, French apothecary and alleged soothsayer

He made one last — correct — prediction when he said:

"You will not find me alive at sunrise."

Source: "Immortal Last Words" by Terry Breverton

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

John Adams, second president of the US

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson started out as rivals, but they became friends later in life. As Adams lay on his deathbed, on July 4, his last words were:

"Thomas Jefferson survives."

Jefferson had actually died some hours earlier, also on July 4.

Source: History

(Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer and physician best known for creating Sherlock Holmes

He said to his wife:

"You are wonderful."

Source: The New York Times

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Ludwig van Beethoven, composer and pianist 

Some reports say Beethoven, who was deaf by the end of life, said:

"I will hear in heaven"

while others suggest he said:

"Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est" (Applaud, friends, the comedy is finished)

But still others say that after a publisher brought the composer 12 bottles of wine, his final words were:

Sources: "The Creative Circle" by Michael Fitzgerald, "Beethoven: The Man Revealed" by John Suchet, Classic FM(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

James Brown, singer

"I'm going away tonight."

Source: The Guardian

 (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Thomas Edison, inventor and businessman

Right before his death, Edison came out of a coma, opened his eyes, and reportedly said to his wife:

"It is very beautiful out there."

He was probably referring to the view outside his window.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, "Famous Last Words" by Laura Ward

 (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) 

Leonard Nimoy, actor

These may not be his last words, but Nimoy's last tweet was:

"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP."

LLAP is short for "Live long and prosper," a saying made famous by Nimoy's "Star Trek" character Mr. Spock.

Source: Twitter

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

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