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Make up a word and its definition

Topic #230:

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.
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  1. How about Teleweight — weight one gains from snacking while watching television? To use it in a sentence: She went on a diet to lose some teleweight, a result of her House-marathon addition. (substitute any popular TV program for House here)

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  2. Mine is megagaltasticism. Someone is already working on getting megagaltastic included in the dictionary, but I needed a noun.
    Megagaltastic means having a very broad vocabulary.

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  3. How about “Infamiety”? Where people pride themselves for being infamously known. I typed this word out while writing a story and had to backtrack because I didn’t know why my fingers typed it out this way. It was supposed to be “infamously” but my fingers typed it as “infamiety”. I think it looks like a word so I’ll toss it in.

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  4. Voluntold: When I tell my Hot Hubbie that I have volunteered him to help in some way or another. As in, “My wife voluntold me to clean up after the neighborhood party” or “I was voluntold to help in the classroom”.

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      1. Thanks. My Hot Hubbie doesn’t like it much, but the word is catching on here in our neck of the woods. It can be so useful sometimes. Yesterday I was voluntold to help in the kiddos PTO. “Ugh,” I say with a smirk on my face.

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  5. I use “prossibly” quite often which means more likely than possibly but not as likely as probably.
    My favourite and most used/useful is “internot” which is what you get when the internet is not working.
    And then there’s a favourite phrase which uses the word “sparrowfart” – “crack of sparrowfart” which means its so early in the morning the sparrows haven’t even had their early morning fart let alone starting singing for us! I think I got that one from my dad.

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  6. Not a new word, but interesting to know (try and say that fast three times in a row!)
    Sesquipedalophobia or Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words

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