I read that Shakespeare did in fact use the name as we spell it today. I'd like to fact-check that.

I read that Shakespeare did in fact use the name as we spell it today. I’d like to fact-check that.
I remember reading that Shakespeare had signed his name in 6 different ways. What I didn’t realize was that one of them was in fact Shakespeare as we spell it today. See end of dedication below. I just need to confirm that this is in fact the case. I look forward to your feedback.


‘Vilia miretur vulgus; mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua.’

To the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesley,
Earl of Southampton, and Baron of Tichfield.

I KNOW not how I shall offend in dedicating my

unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will

censure me for choosing so strong a prop to support so weak a

burden only, if your honour seem but pleased, I account

myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle

hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if

the first heir of my invention prove deformed, I shall be

sorry it had so noble a god-father, and never after ear so

barren a land, for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest.

I leave it to your honourable survey, and your honour to your

heart’s content; which I wish may always answer your own wish

and the world’s hopeful expectation.

Your honour’s in all duty,

It appears he did use “William Shakespeare”.

The signatures appear as follows:

Willm Shakp
William Shakspēr
Wm Shakspē
William Shakspere
Willm Shakspere
By me William Shakspeare


The standard spelling of the surname as “Shakespeare” was the most common published form in Shakespeare’s lifetime, but it was not one used in his own handwritten signatures. It was, however, the spelling used by the author as a printed signature to the dedications of the first editions of his poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. It is also the spelling used in the First Folio, the definitive collection of his plays published in 1623, after his death.

So it appears “Shakespeare” appeared in printed form not as a signature.

You cannot trust the spelling of the printed works, as that was recorded and set by someone else…
The story of the signatures shows they didn’t really know how to spell it. The spelling was actually determined by the newspapers.

I also heard they used to call him ________ for short.

Can’t for the life of me remember what that name was though…
/Whistles inconspicuously

Shakespeare’s signature.

Of course, the spelling, of anything, was not particularly standardized in those days. There is probably no single definite right answer, but the spelling we normally use is the one that has been settled on as the best compromise.

Thank you all. Very helpful.


Hmmm…so it’s only the last spelling that truly makes the amazing Bible coincidence actually “work.”

Apologies to all who already know about this, but here’s what you do:

  1. Divide the last version above of the spelling of the bard’s name into syllables.

  2. You get 4 letters in the first syllable, and 6 in the second one.

  3. Get out your King James Bible and turn to Psalm 46.

  4. Count in 46 words from the beginning. What is the word?

  5. Count backwards 46 words from the end. What is the word?
    More about this here. This entry contains a couple of additional bits I didn’t know about, including that Shakespeare was 46 years old in 1611 when the translation of the King James Bible was completed.

1 OK. Shaks - peare

2 5 in first, 5 in the second

3 Turning to Psalm 55

  1. Me

  2. With

Me with … David? Wow! That means Shakespeare actually met David!