Make up a word and its definition.
We’ll pick the best invented words and highlight them in a future post.
Background: The English language, like all languages, is always changing. Words are always moving in how they are used, and older words decline in use, while new words enter common usage. Any lexicographer will tell you dictionaries are meant to record usage, rather than to define it permanently, which is why they release new dictionaries every year.
Shakespeare for example, made up many new words and changed the usage of many old words and sayings. And often words enter English from other languages. The German word schadenfreude, which means to take pleasure in other people’s misfortune, entered the language because there was no single word with that meaning.
How to come up with a new word:
- Think about a situation or a problem that’s common, that doesn’t have a single word for it, and then make one up.
- Combine two words together, like making smog from smoke + fog. This is called a portmanteau. For example, when your coffee is too hot to to drink, could be called a cofferno (coffee + inferno).
- If you know more than one language, think of a word you like from another language that’s hard to explain in English.