Shakespeare Word Search

This very large poster is for the nerdiest Shakespeare nerds.

The word search has a grid of 85,808 letters containing all the words used by William Shakespeare. Our source was The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, originally published in 1623, available from Project Gutenberg (

Shakespeare wrote using a vocabulary of, depending on who did the counting, 15,000 to 31,500 words. We found, after removing punctuation and deleting duplicates, 26,786 unique words.

We wrote a computer program that arranged the words in a word search grid of 248 by 346 characters. The words are arranged horizontally, vertically, and diagonally going forward and backward. The puzzle is 95.6% dense, meaning that about 96% of the letters are part of a word, and only about 4% of the letters are random fillers.


>> Buy the 32 x 40-inch poster: US$36.50

>> Buy the 40 x 50-inch poster: US$47.50


And don’t worry: while the text is small, it is certainly readable. On the 32 x 40-inch poster the text is 8.2 pt., and is even larger on the 40 x 50-inch poster.

Here’s a closeup:

Shakespeare loved apostrophes

My goodness, this Shakespeare guy liked his apostrophes. But punctuation doesn’t work in a word search puzzle, so we had to remove them: we closed up all the words with apostrophes, for example, she’s and won’t became shes and wont.

Second, we would never deign to edit what Shakespeare wrote, so we don’t do it here. For example, in his poem Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare wrote, “A nurse’s song ne’er pleas’d her babe so well.” We all know he meant the words never and pleased — but he used ne’er and pleas’d, so our word search puzzle contains neer and pleasd.


The word list and the solution

Download the free Word List and Solution Guide for the full list of words showing the solution to the puzzle. The solution is shown for each word by giving the coordinates based on the tick marks surrounding the grid on the poster, as shown in the image above.


>> Buy the 32 x 40-inch poster: US$36.50

>> Buy the 40 x 50-inch poster: US$47.50









The drawing of Shakespeare used on this page, on the poster, and in
the solution document is used by license from Shutterstock.