Why you're way more familiar with William Shakespeare's work than you think.

That William Shakespeare is the greatest writer in the history of the English language is basically a foregone conclusion.

His work is some of the most widely read in the world and has been translated into nearly every major language (including Klingon). Over his long career, he wrote dozens of plays and poems that were as varied as they were significant.


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From gloomy, bloodstained tragedies about flawed, cold-blooded kings to countless quirky comedies about zany misunderstandings, laughable romances, and madcap heroes, the work of Shakespeare is monumental.

As an ode to Shakespeare's work and to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death, Christie's will auction off four early editions of his collected work in a landmark sale.

The first of these four folios, which contains 36 of his plays, is expected to sell for a generous U.S. $5 million.

Not the most frugal purchase. But it holds some absolutely majestic allure, even for a jaded collector.

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Shakespeare's first folio has been hidden from public view for over 200 years and contains some of the earliest editions of his plays, 18 of which had not been previously published. Owning the first folio is basically like owning an original Picasso with a Babe Ruth rookie card taped to it.

The folios toured New York in April and are currently viewable in England (Shakespeare's birthplace), where they will be auctioned off individually.

“It is deeply moving to handle the first printed record of his collected plays and to be reminded of their tremendous impact,” said Margaret Ford, international head of books and manuscripts for Christie’s.

The other three folios will probably have less obscene price tags, but all of them are extremely marketable. The third folio even has the iconic portrait of Shakespeare done by Martin Droeshout.

Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

William Shakespeare changed the English language forever, and his contributions still matter today.

Even if you’ve never read any of his plays or sonnets, you’re still probably familiar with his work. After all, "West Side Story" is based on "Romeo and Juliet," "The Lion King" is based on "Hamlet," and late '90s/mid-'00s teen flicks "10 Things I Hate About You" and "She's the Man" are based on "Taming of the Shrew" and "Twelfth Night," respectively. See? You're a Shakespearian and didn't even know it.

For centuries, Shakespeare has also been credited with inventing or popularizing thousands of words. While there is controversy about whether he actually coined all those words or that dictionary-writers just thought his works most prominently captured the vocabulary of the time, there is no doubt he has helped pepper our culture with some delicious vocables.

Wondering which ones?

Here's a hint: I've used 21 of them in this story alone. Check them out below, along with the first text in which they appeared:

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

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