Word families

Shakespeare often refers to the heart. But he also uses this word to help create other words, such as unheart, heart-sore, and heartless. How many such derived words are there, and how are they used? Type HEART into the search-box and you will see.

We use the term word-family to identify the set of words that contain the same basic element. They will be part of a compound word (as in heart-sore), accompanied by a prefix (as in unheart) or a suffix (as in heartless), or used in different ways (e.g. as a noun and a verb). In this section we list all the words in the canon (in the modern English version) that have family resemblances so you can see which words Shakespeare exploited in this way, and which he did not. Words that are not included (such as the and Horatio) are described on the further information page here.

When there are several family members, we group them into themes, showing the directions in which Shakespeare used a word. Where these occur, they are listed under the main heading. The names of the themes, taken along with their family members, we hope are self-explanatory, but more illustration can be found on the further information page here.
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NAG
NAIL
OBJECT
NAKED
NAME
ACTION
TIME
TYPE
NOT
NAP [cloth]
NOT
NAP [sleep]
NAPE
NARROW
APPEARANCE
STATE
NASTY
NATION
NATIVE
NATURE
BAD
GOOD
STATE
NOT
NAUGHT
NAUGHTY
NAVEL
NAVIGATION
NAVY
NAY
NEAF
NEAR
PART OF BODY
NEAT [animal]
PEOPLE
NEAT[elegant]
NEB
NECESSARY
NOT
NECK
OBJECT
SHAPE
STATE
STRONG
NECTAR
NEED
PEOPLE
NOT
NEEDLE
NE'ER
NEEZE
NEGATION
NEGLECT
TYPE
NEGOTIATE
NEGRO
NEIGH
NEIGHBOUR
PEOPLE
PLACE
STATE
NOT
NEMESIS
NEPHEW
NERVE
NOT
NEST
NESTOR
NET
STATE
NETHER
CLOTHING
NETTLE
PLANT
NEUTER
NEVER
ACTION
DEATH
EXTRA
SPEECH
STATE
NEW
ACTION
BIRTH
CLOTHING
EMOTION
FIRE
MIND
PLANT
RANK
RELATIONSHIP
SPEECH
STATE
TIME
NEWT
NEXT
NIBBLE
PEOPLE
NICE
STATE
NICK
NICKNAME
NIECE
NIGGARD
NIGH
NIGHT
ACTION
ANIMAL
BIRD
CLOTHING
GREETING
INSECT
NOISE
OBJECT
PEOPLE
SLEEP
TIME
NIMBLE
PART OF BODY
STATE
NINE
HIGHER
NIP
PART OF BODY
NIT
NO
PLACE
NOBLE
ACTION
INTENSITY
MIND
MONEY
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
NOBODY
NOD
PEOPLE
PART OF BODY
NOISE
PEOPLE
NOT
NOISOME
NOLE
NOMINATE
TIME
NONAGE
NONCE
NONE
ACTION
NONPAREIL
NON-PAYMENT
NON-PERFORMANCE
NOOK
STATE
NOON
NORTH
DIRECTION
NOSE
COLOUR
PLANT
SHAPE
NOT
NOTCH
NOTE [music]
NOTE [notice]
IMAGE
INTENSITY
NOT
NOTE [text]
OBJECT
PEOPLE
NOTHING
OBJECT
NOTION
NOTORIOUS
NOT-PATED
NOTWITHSTANDING
NOUGHT
NOUN
NOURISH
SLEEP
TIME
NOVELTY
PEOPLE
NOW
STATE
NOWHERE
NOYANCE
NULLITY
NUMB
STATE
NUMBER
AMOUNT
INTENSITY
NOT
NUN
PLACE
NUNCIO
NUNCLE
NUPTIAL
NURSE
PEOPLE
PLACE
NURTURE
BAD
NUT
PART
PEOPLE
TYPE
NUTRIMENT
NUZZLE
NYAS
NYMPH
TYPE
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SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL