This year marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton. The anniversary is being celebrated by an exhibition at his alma mater, Cambridge, for the next six months.
Gavin Alexander, a fellow of Milton's college, Christ's, argues that his contribution to the language as a creator of new words and new word forms is greater than any other writer in the language, including Shakespeare, according to World Wide Words. He points out in an article that's available online that the Oxford English Dictionary credits Milton with adding some 630 words. Shakespeare has only 229.
Without Milton's multilingual background and powers of invention, we might not now have such words as love-lorn, far-sighted, liturgical, exhilarating, debauchery, cherubic, padlock, besottedly, unhealthily, depravity, dismissive, embellishing, fragrance, terrific, didactic, irresponsible, or unprincipled.
Head on over to the Milton Reading Room to read a lot more of Milton's words online.