Top Eleven Most Common Words Invented in Verse

Poetry and lexicography, buzzfeed style. Having recently ranked the neologisms of prolific poetic word-coiners, I decided to look at all verse-coined words in OED [*caveat], and rank them according to their frequency in British National Corpus. Only words first attested after 1500 are included, on the basis that a large proportion of the lexicographical record before that is in verse. Frequency is per million headwords (pos-tagged) in the BNC.

  1. job, n. (f=322.9)
    A piece of work; esp. a small definite piece of work done in the way of one’s special occupation or profession.
    First recorded use by: Thomas Middleton
    In: Mayor Quinborough (a 1627)

                                               I cannot read,
    I keep a Clark to do those jobbs for need.

  2. control, n. (f=381.2)
    The fact of controlling, or of checking and directing action; the function or power of directing and regulating; domination, command, sway.
    First recorded use by: William Shakespeare
    In: Comedy of Errors (1590)

                                             The winged fowles
    Are their males subiects, and at their controules.

  3. real, a. (f=230.3)
    Having an objective existence; actually existing as a thing.
    First recorded use by: William Shakespeare
    In: All’s Well that Ends Well (1607)

                                      Is there no exorcist
    Beguiles the truer Office of mine eyes?
    Is’t reall that I see?

  4. central, a. (f=194.1)
    Of or pertaining to the centre or middle;
    First recorded use by: Henry More
    In: Platonical Song of the Soul (1647)

                                Or else his inward life
    And Centrall rains do fairly him compell
    Within himself.

  5. model, n. (f=184.2)
    An architect’s set of designs … hence, a similar set of drawings made to scale and representing … an existing building.
    First recorded use by: George Gascoigne
    In: Posies, Herbes (1575)

    To tel some‥reasonable worde,
    Of Hollandes state, the which I will present, In Cartes, in Mappes, and eke in Models made.

  6. concerned, ppl. a. (f=157.6)
    First recorded use by: Abraham Cowley
    In: Davideis (1656)

    With concern’d haste her thoughtful
    Looks she rais’d.

  7. American, a. (f=157.5)
    First recorded use by: Joshua Sylvester
    In: Du Bartas (1598)

     Under the Empire of the Ocean,
    Atlantike, Indian, and American.

  8. despite, prep. (f=146.0)
    In spite of.
    First recorded use by: William Shakespeare
    In: Henry VI part 2 (1593)

    Or thou, or I Somerset will be Protectors,
    Despite Duke Humfrey, or the Cardinall.

  9. list, n.6 (f=138.9)
    A catalogue or roll consisting of a row or series of names, figures, words, or the like.
    First recorded use by: William Shakespeare
    In: Hamlet (1602)

     Young Fortinbras‥Hath‥Shark’d vp a List of Landlesse Resolutes.

    The Leuies, The Lists, and full proportions are all made Out of his subiect.

  10. act, v. (f=137.0)
    To put in motion, move to action, impel; to actuate, influence, animate.
    First recorded use by: William Warner
    In: Albion’s England (1602)

    Thy Senses fiue that acte thy life; thy Speache, whereby to many
    Thou doest communicate thy selfe, saue God disclameth any.

  11. modern, a. (f=130.9)
    Being at this time; now existing.
    First recorded use by: William Dunbar
    In: Poems (1500-20)

    Hodiern, modern, sempitern,
    Angelicall regyne!

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