Gotta love Shakespeare: origin of idioms

If music be the food of love
If music be the food of love

I can’t help noticing that when I hear a great song, it reminds me of being in love and I go all mushy inside and thoughts of spending time with the man in my life are foremost in my mind.  Not surprising then that good ol’ Shakespeare coined that particular phrase about music, food and love.

The phrase “If music be the food of love, play on”, is a famous quote from the play “Twelfth Night,” written by William Shakespeare in the early 17th century. The quote is often used to express the idea that music has the power to evoke emotions, particularly love, and that it should be embraced and enjoyed.


The quote comes from the play’s opening scene, where Duke Orsino is besotted with Countess Olivia. In his soliloquy, he reflects on the power of music to soothe and stimulate emotions, and its role in fanning the flames of love. He might have said, “Strike up your instruments maestros,” as he instructed his musicians to play more music to enhance his deeply romantic feelings for Olivia.

The phrase “If music be the food of love, play on” has since become a well-known idiom, commonly used to describe the powerful connection between music and emotions. It’s a reminder of the impact that music can have on our lives and the way it can evoke feelings of love, passion, and nostalgia.

People power

The phrase is often used to encourage others to appreciate and enjoy music, regardless of their musical tastes or preferences. Whether it’s classical, jazz, rock, or pop – the idiom reminds us that music has the power to bring people together, to evoke emotions, and to create memories that will last a lifetime.

This evocative phrase has a rich history and origin, thanks to The Bard’s theatrical brilliance in “Twelfth Night.” It remains a popular idiom today, serving as a reminder of the power of music to evoke emotions and bring people together. So, if you’re a lover of music, take a moment to appreciate its impact on your life and “play on.”

With Valentine’s Day top of mind and couples thinking about out ways to make it special, I’m all for the music but I do hope my beau delivers on my compelling desire for chocolate, especially as it coincides with my grand farewell to the keto diet.

Assisted by ChatGPT

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