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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WADDLE
WADE
WAFER
WAFT
WAG
ACTION
PEOPLE
STATE
WAGE
WAGER
WAGGON
OBJECT
PEOPLE
WAGON
WAGTAIL
WAIL
BEWAIL
NOT
WAIN
WAINSCOT
WAIST
WAIT
PEOPLE
WAKE
TIME
WALK
ACTION
OBJECT
TIME
WALL
ANIMAL
APPEARANCE
WATER
WALLET
WALLOW
WALNUT
WAN
WAND
WANDER
PEOPLE
TIME
WANE
STATE
WANION
WANNY
WANT
MIND
WANTON
WAPPENED
NOT
WAR
MIND
PEOPLE
PLACE
SHIP
STATE
WARBLE
WARD [direction]
BACK
DOWN
FOR
HITHER
IN
ON
OUT
THITHER
UP
ANIMAL
BEHAVIOUR
CLOTHING
COMPASS
PLACE
SPEECH
TIME
TO
NOT
WARD [protect]
OBJECT
PEOPLE
WARDEN [fruit]
WARDER
WARDROBE
WARE
ACTION
OBJECT
NOT
WARM
DEGREE
OBJECT
WARN
TIME
WARP
ANIMAL
WARRANT
INTENSITY
WARREN
WARRIOR
WART
PEOPLE
WARY
WASH
ACTION
PEOPLE
PLACE
STATE
NOT
WASP
STATE
WASSAIL
WASTE
PEOPLE
STATE
TIME
WASTER
WATCH
ANIMAL
INTENSITY
OBJECT
PEOPLE
SPEECH
STATE
TIME
NOT
WATCHWORD
WATER
ACTION
ANIMAL
BEINGS
FRUIT
INSECT
OBJECT
PAINTING
PART
PEOPLE
PLACE
SCENE
STATE
TYPE
WAVE
PEOPLE
STATE
WAWL
WAX
COLOUR
PART OF BODY
WAY
ACTION
DISTANCE
PEOPLE
ROUTE
STATE
TIME
WAYLAY
WAYWARD
WEAK
DISEASE
PART OF BODY
PEOPLE
STATE
WEAL
PEOPLE
WEALD
WEALTH
WEAN
WEAPON
WEAR
INTENSITY
PEOPLE
STATE
WEARY
STATE
NOT
WEASAND
WEASEL
WEATHER
OBJECT
PROTECTION
STATE
WEAVE
BAD
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
WEB
BEINGS
WEDDING
CLOTHING
GIFT
MUSIC
PLACE
TIME
NOT
WEDGE
NOT
WEDLOCK
WEDNESDAY
WEE
WEED [clothes]
WEED [plant]
PEOPLE
TYPE
NOT
WEEK
WEEN
INTENSITY
WEEP
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
WEET
WEIGH
INTENSITY
NOT
WEIGHT
WEIRD
WELCOME
PEOPLE
NOT
WELFARE
WELKED
WELKIN
WELL [exclamation]
WELL [health]
WELL [very]
ACTION
APPEARANCE
BEHAVIOUR
CLOTHING
EMOTION
EQUIPMENT
MIND
MONEY
MUSIC
RANK
RELATIONSHIP
SKILL
SPEECH
STATE
WELL [water]
WELSH
WEN
WENCH
TYPE
NOT
WEND
WERADAY
WEST
DIRECTION
WET
STATE
WETHER
WHALE
WHARF
WHAT
WHEAT
WHEEL
ACTION
OBJECT
WHELK
WHELM
WHELP
TYPE
WHEN
WHERE
PLACE
SUFFIXES
WHET
OBJECT
WHETSTONE
WHEY
APPEARANCE
WHIFF
WHIFFLER
WHILE
PAST
PRESENT
SHORT
WHINE
WHINYARDS
WHIP
ACTION
OBJECT
PEOPLE
NOT
WHIR
WHIRL
OBJECT
WATER
WEATHER
WHISPER
WHIST
WHISTLE
ACTION
WHIT
WHITE
APPEARANCE
PART OF BODY
PEOPLE
TIME
TYPE
WHITHER
WHITSTER
WHITSUN
WHITTLE
WHIZ
WHO
WHOLE
EMOTION
STATE
NOT
WHOLESOME
WHOLLY
WHOOP
WHORE
ACTION
INTENSITY
PEOPLE
STATE
WHY
WICK
WICKED
WIDE
APPEARANCE
STATE
WIDOW
ACTION
EMOTION
FEMALE
MALE
STATE
WIELD
NOT
WIFE
STATE
TYPE
WIGHT
WILD
ACTION
ANIMAL
BIRD
STATE
WILDERNESS
WILDFIRE
WILES
WILFUL
STATE
WILL
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
WILLOW
WIMPLED
WIN
ACTION
PEOPLE
WINCE
WINCH
WIND [blow]
ACTION
BEHAVIOUR
OBJECT
PART OF BODY
STATE
WEATHER
WIND [turn]
ACTION
DISEASE
OBJECT
NOT
WINDOW
TYPE
WINE
TYPE
WING
BIRD
HEIGHT
SPEED
STATE
STRENGTH
WINK
ACTION
STATE
WINNOW
WINTER
ACTION
INSECT
PERIOD
WIPE
NOT
WIRE
WISDOM
WISE [mind]
PEOPLE
NOT
WISE [suffix]
WISH
INTENSITY
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
WISHTLY
WISP
WIST
WISTLY
WIT
BAD
GOOD
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
WITCH
ACTION
WITHDRAW
WITHER
WITHERS
WITHHOLD
WITHIN
WITHOUT
APPEARANCE
SPEECH
TIME
WITHSTAND
WITNESS
NOT
WITTOL
WITTY
WIVE
WIZARD
WOE
STATE
WOLF
ACTION
TYPE
WOMAN
ACTION
COUNTRY
MIND
NUMBER
RANK
RELATIONSHIP
STATE
TASK
WOMB
BIRTH
STATE
WONDER
STATE
WONT
NOT
WOO
PEOPLE
NOT
WOOD
BIRD
PEOPLE
PLACE
WOOF
WOOL
PEOPLE
SPEECH
STATE
WOOSEL
WORD
ACTION
TYPE
NOT
WORK
ACTION
INTENSITY
OBJECT
PAINTING
PEOPLE
PLACE
STATE
TIME
WORLD
PEOPLE
PLACE
STATE
TIME
WORM
PLACE
PLANT
STATE
TYPE
WORRY
WORSE
APPEARANCE
STATE
WORSHIP
PEOPLE
WORST
WORSTED
WORT
WORTH
AMOUNT
INTENSITY
MONEY
PEOPLE
STATE
NOT
WOT
WOUND
EMOTION
EXCLAMATION
STATE
NOT
WOVEN
WRACK
SHIP
WRANGLE
PEOPLE
WRAP
ACTION
WRATH
STATE
WREAK
WREATH
STATE
WRECK
SHIP
STATE
WREN
WRENCH
WREST
BAD
INTENSITY
WRESTLE
INTENSITY
PEOPLE
WRETCH
WRING
PEOPLE
NOT
WRINKLE
STATE
WRIST
WRIT
WRITE
ACTION
PEOPLE
TYPE
WRITHLED
WRONG
PEOPLE
STATE
WROTH
WROUGHT
WRY
APPEARANCE
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SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL