Exceedingly well read
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Exceedingly well read'?
To be 'well read' is to be erudite and literate.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Exceedingly well read'?
From Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1, 1597:
In faith, he is a worthy gentleman,
Exceedingly well read, and profited
In strange concealments, valiant as a lion
And as wondrous affable and as bountiful
As mines of India.
The 'he' in the line refers to Owain Glyndwr, the Welsh leader who the English court regard as wild and mystical. In considering him 'well read' Earl Mortimer, who was Glyndwr's son inlaw, elevates him to be worthy of equal status in the court.
In real life there is hardly anyone more suite to the compliment 'exceedingly well read' than Shakespeare himself. That's both in the sense of the Bard having read widely of the classics of Greek and Rome and other literature and also the fact that he is probably the writer who has been read more than any other. Agatha Christie is the only other writer who comes close to the number of book sales ascribed to Shakespeare's work, which is estimed at 3 billion copies.
See other - phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.