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Love's Labour's Lost: Q & A

In Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare uses the longest word in any work of English literature: honorificabilitudinitatibus. What does it mean?

The word honorificabilitudinitatibus (13 syllables) is the conjugation of a real medieval Latin word honorificabilitudinitate. Dante actually used it more than once, as did other writers of the period. A translation of it would be "the state of being able to achieve honors."

Which is the correct spelling of the title of the play: Love's Labour's Lost or Love's Labours Lost?

The title in its current form is taken from the Third Folio. The earlier Folios have the title Loues Labour's Lost. There is much debate over where to place the comma (if at all) in "Labour's". Some scholars think that Shakespeare intended it to mean "Labour is", which would make it "Love's Labour is Lost." But others argue that there should be no comma at all in "Labours" (thus making it the nominative plural). This is how the play is known in other countries - for example, in France it is called "Labours of the Love Lost" or sometimes "Sorrows of the Love Lost."

How to cite this article:

Mabillard, Amanda. Love's Labour's Lost: Q & A Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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