“A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
Neologism: A newly invented word or phrase (Princeton.edu)/A meaningless word coined by a psychotic (Merriam-Webster) 😉
What is a Neologism?
Recently, I shared a post about the word blogalicious and how we can all find ways to make up our own words or discover new ones that catch on in popular culture. Even an honest malaprop or eggcorn can become the foundation for a new word. As I shared the post with my children, the conversation veered off to how words become part of popular culture; you know, like how the word “bad” became “cool” and the word “like” a substitute for like “for example.” 😉 So, how do words become part of popular culture? This is a valid question and one that got me hunting around for more insight on the subject.
Interestingly, new words come from many sources but most commonly; the jargon from professional organizations, innovation in society, the modernization of a word from another language, colloquialisms, teen-speak, popular artists/creatives/rappers creating new rhyming words, hysterical abbreviations we make up on Twitter, and, of course, let’s not forget children and their wonderful imaginations. We all know words that are popular today like; fashionista which is the mother of all the istas, bootylicious and the many variations on -licious, shellacking, mashup, gurl, homey, gangsta, fo’shizzle, malamanteau, OMG, agnotology, even all the social media and online terms we use, emoticon, Hypertext, Google, internet, Facebook, and a slew of other words that I‘m sure we can all add to this conversation… Oh yeah, “join the conversation” is a popular social media phrase… I love that one and my top favorite – BLOG!
As I dug further on the internet, I even found out that the Washington Post offers a contest on neologisms and a quick glimpse there gave me two new nonsense words for you to go back and figure out; “ardiness” and “elved.” 🙂 However, the Post is not the true originator of the idea either because as my friends at Wikipedia (another invented word, no?) will share, fantasy literature and the world of poetry are filled with gibberish words and we are all the better for them. As more people use a word, it becomes popular and eventually becomes part of everyday speech. Can you imagine what Alice in Wonderland or even Harry Potter would have been like if both weren’t choc-a-bloc with these wonderfully crazy, onomatopoeic words?
Here’s a little excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky… Would we have such a colorful, creative world if people couldn’t invent new words? I say, gaddup n partay! Oh, don’t forget to check out The HotWord! What new words have you heard this year? Do you have a favorite neologism?
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Positive Motivation Tip: Don’t be afraid to stand out in the maddening crowd; create your vision and coin your word for it!
- Elsewhere: Rap Neologisms (schott.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Can’t Play, Won’t Play [Ideas] (kotaku.com)
- Book Review: Oxford Essential Dictionary of Difficult Words (worddreams.wordpress.com)
- China’s Top 10 Internet Neologisms from 2010 (theatlantic.com)
- Gamification – Matt Mullenweg (ma.tt)
PHOTO CREDITS: The Jabberwocky via Wikipedia