Home » Books & Literature » Literary Classics » In England when Shakespeare was writing, the word ‘Nothing’ was slang for female genitalia, meaning ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a dirty double entendre.

In England when Shakespeare was writing, the word ‘Nothing’ was slang for female genitalia, meaning ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a dirty double entendre.

Why Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a brilliant sneaky innuendo

It’s one of Shakespeare’s best works, it’s a brilliant take on gender roles, and it’s also a sexual joke: in Shakespeare’s time, the word ‘Nothing’ was slang for female genitalia. The title of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a double entendre.

The play was probably written in 1598 and 1599 when Shakespeare was mid-career, and is riddled with jokes and plays on words — though some of them have been shrouded by changing linguistics and semantics. Even one that is in the title remains hidden to most people — after all, why would “nothing” be dirty?

Much of this play revolves around writing secret messages, spying, and eavesdropping. People are constantly pretending to be others or being mistaken for other people, and are constantly tricked… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

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