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Methinks

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  • The archaic-sounding verb methinks, meaning it seems to me, is likely to continue appearing in English as long as we keep reading Shakespeare, who, in Hamlet, immortalized the word with the line, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Today, the word is often used in reference to the Shakespeare play, often with other language from that line—for example:

    Angelo, methinks the coach doth protest too much. [Sports Illustrated]

    It sounds reassuring, but methinks she doth protest too much. [San Francisco Chronicle]

    Methinks Arsenal protesteth too much. [Telegraph]

    But the word also appears on its own—for example:

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    Methinks it’s a bit early for superstar diva comparisons. [CNN]

    I’d like to tell you sales of it go up when the moon is full, but methinks that would be a bit too much of a poetic fiction. [The Atlantic]

    That will be Victoria’s hardest battle, methinks: to overturn her image of having more money than taste or talent. [Daily Mail]

    In any case, the word always sounds like an archaic flourish, and it’s very difficult to use it in a nonhumorous way.

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    Comments

    1. a harmless drudge says:

      Writers of letters to the editor of my daily paper seem uncommonly fond of saying “methinks” rather than “I think”. I suppose they believe it makes them sound erudite. But I always get the image of a old fart, surrounded by piles of mouldering newspapers, lost in his fantasy world.

      At least that is what methinks.

      a harmless drudge

      .

    2. John Dawlings says:

      If methinks is really so popular because of Skaespeare’s line, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”, why isn’t doth just as popular? Methinks just fits in certain sentences. Possibly because the English verb to think has so many different meanings, the use of methinks removes the ambiguity. How about youthinks, himthinks, herthinks etc etc :)

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