It’s all Greek to me!

I love a good coincidence, I really do. While thinking about a blog post for this week based on a discussion in CAE Objective this week about Shakepeare, and how many expressions we use nowadays we owe to him, I accidentally went on Facebook and saw that my friends (owners of a lovely Greek bar in the centre of Valencia, Kuzina) are celebrating National Greek day today. And guess what? Shakespeare was one of the first playwrights to coin the phrase ‘it’s all Greek to me’, meaning something is impossible for you to understand, in his play Julius Caesar in 1616.

Here are some other expressions, which British people use to this day although some might be unaware of their origins.

In my heart of hearts is one of my favourites and it crops up in Hamlet.  It makes me think of hearts in a Russian doll formation, one inside the other. An example would be, ‘in my heart of hearts I knew he wasn’t telling me the truth.’

On a lighter note, knock knock! Who’s there? turns up in Hamlet and it is used in many jokes today. For example,

Knock knock!

Who’s there?


Noah who?

Noah good place we can get something to eat?


Oh for goodness’ sake! (Henry VIII) A terrible joke, I know! I should be a laughing stock. The latter expression meaning people laugh at you appears in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Well I think that’s enough for now although parting is such sweet sorrow. Happy Halloween! A holiday definitely not for the faint hearted (Henry VI part I).


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