What does Hamlet mean?

Definitions for Hamlet
ˈhæm lɪtham·let

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Hamlet.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hamlet, crossroadsnoun

    a community of people smaller than a village

  2. Hamletnoun

    the hero of William Shakespeare's tragedy who hoped to avenge the murder of his father

  3. village, hamletnoun

    a settlement smaller than a town


  1. hamletnoun

    A small village or a group of houses.

  2. hamletnoun

    A village that does not have its own church.

  3. hamletnoun

    Any of the fish of the genus Hypoplectrus in the family Serranidae.

  4. Hamletnoun

    The eponymous main character of Shakespeare's play.

  5. Etymology: hamelet, diminutive of ham (Modern French hameau) of origin. Cognates include home, Dutch heem, German Heim, Old English hām. (English usage before the 12th century)

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Hamletnoun

    A small village.

    Etymology: ham, Saxon, and let, the diminutive termination.

    Within the self-same lordship, parish, or hamlet, lands have divers degrees of value. Francis Bacon, Off. of Alienation.

    He pitch’d upon the plain
    His mighty camp, and, when the day return’d,
    The country wasted and the hamlets burn’d. John Dryden, Fables.


  1. Hamlet

    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 words. Set in Denmark, the play depicts Prince Hamlet and his attempts to exact revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother. Hamlet is considered among the "most powerful and influential tragedies in the English language", with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others".There are many works that have been pointed to as possible sources for Shakespeare's play—from ancient Greek tragedies to Elizabethan plays. The editors of the Arden Shakespeare question the idea of "source hunting", pointing out that it presupposes that authors always require ideas from other works for their own, and suggests that no author can have an original idea or be an originator. When Shakespeare wrote, there were many stories about sons avenging the murder of their fathers, and many about clever avenging sons pretending to be foolish in order to outsmart their foes. This would include the story of the ancient Roman, Lucius Junius Brutus, which Shakespeare apparently knew, as well as the story of Amleth, which was preserved in Latin by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum, and printed in Paris in 1514. The Amleth story was subsequently adapted and then published in French in 1570 by the 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest. It has a number of plot elements and major characters in common with Shakespeare's Hamlet, and lacks others that are found in Shakespeare. Belleforest's story was first published in English in 1608, after Hamlet had been written, though it's possible that Shakespeare had encountered it in the French-language version.Three different early versions of the play are extant: the First Quarto (Q1, 1603); the Second Quarto (Q2, 1604); and the First Folio (F1, 1623). Each version includes lines and passages missing from the others.


  1. hamlet

    A hamlet is a small human settlement, usually smaller than a village, often without its own church or central government, and is typically found in rural areas. It is often considered the smallest type of settlement in terms of population size and infrastructure. The definition and requirements of a hamlet can vary greatly across different countries and regions.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Hamletnoun

    a small village; a little cluster of houses in the country


  1. Hamlet

    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts on his uncle Claudius for murdering King Hamlet, Claudius's brother and Prince Hamlet's father, and then succeeding to the throne and taking as his wife Gertrude, the old king's widow and Prince Hamlet's mother. The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness – from overwhelming grief to seething rage – and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others." The play was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime and still ranks among his most-performed, topping the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance list since 1879. It has inspired writers from Goethe and Dickens to Joyce and Murdoch, and has been described as "the world's most filmed story after Cinderella". Shakespeare based Hamlet on the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum as subsequently retold by 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest. He may also have drawn on or perhaps written an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet. He almost certainly created the title role for Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time. In the 400 years since, the role has been performed by highly acclaimed actors and actresses from each successive age.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Hamlet

    ham′let, n. a cluster of houses in the country: a small village.—adj. Ham′leted, located in a hamlet. [O. Fr. hamel (Fr. hameau), and dim. affix -et—from Teut., Old Fris. ham, a home, Ger. heim, A.S. hám, a dwelling.]

Suggested Resources

  1. hamlet

    Song lyrics by hamlet -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by hamlet on the Lyrics.com website.

Who Was Who?

  1. Hamlet

    A Dane who had difficulty with an auxiliary verb. Also founded the foolish questions.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hamlet is ranked #9994 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Hamlet surname appeared 3,227 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Hamlet.

    60.8% or 1,962 total occurrences were White.
    34.1% or 1,101 total occurrences were Black.
    2.9% or 95 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.5% or 50 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.3% or 12 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.2% or 7 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Anagrams for Hamlet »

  1. Thelma

  2. amleth

  3. malthe

How to pronounce Hamlet?

How to say Hamlet in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Hamlet in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Hamlet in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of Hamlet in a Sentence

  1. Tom Masson:

    Hamlet is the tragedy of tackling a family problem too soon after college.

  2. A. Whitney Griswold:

    Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam.

  3. Alfred North Whitehead:

    I will not go so far as to say that to construct a history of thought without profound study of the mathematical ideas of successive epochs is like omitting Hamlet from the play which is named after him. . . But it is certainly analogous to cutting out the part of Ophelia. This simile is singularly exact. For Ophelia is quite essential to the play, she is very charming-- and a little mad.

  4. William Shakespeare:

    Hamlet Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel Polonius By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed. Hamlet Methinks it is like a weasel. Polonius It is backed like a weasel. Hamlet Or like a whale Polonius Very like a whale.

  5. King Jehovah Hohenzollern:

    Hamlet knows a hawk from a handsaw, I know blasphemy from a lie and plagiarism from a bad decision.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Hamlet

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Hamlet." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Hamlet>.

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    a petty misdeed
    A nitrile
    B elation
    C contempt
    D peccadillo

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