English Language

Newly Invented Words in the English Language



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Neologism is the creation of new words which of course is nothing new, language is ever evolving and forever fascinating. There has always been debate surrounding the usefulness and relevance in regards to the coinage of new words, recent decades have spawned many new words and spurred many such debates. I must admit I'm not always on the side of pop culture when it comes to cementing certain words into the history of language. Though I profess to be a tried and true logophile, such an unseemly name for such a beautiful obsession, I do struggle with certain recent entrants into our everyday vernacular.

I was a bit taken back when I jokingly typed muffin top into dictionary.com and actually found a definition. It is right there in black and white, listed as a noun, defined as flesh that falls over the waistband of a garment, example muffin tops hanging over tight jeans. Etymology, 2003; for its resemblance to the food . . . also known as muffin roll.

This discovery led me to type in "my bad", forty-eight meanings followed by even further explanations. At least now I know where to go when I'm unsure what the teenage beings inhabiting my home are saying. In January of 2005 the American Dialect Society deemed luanqibaozhao least likely to succeed in its Words of the Year vote, fittingly, it is Chinese for "a complicated mess", fitting as well for some of today's new entrants into dictionary prestige.

A newly coined word for newly coined words is protologism, you won't find this in any mainstream dictionary, at least not yet. Without further adieu, I give you new words, beginning with some old new words. Radar was birthed in 1941, while technically an acronym for radio detecting and ranging, it is still a relatively new word, that same year the word robotics was accepted. In 1968 blackhole became another mainstream word. Hyperspace (1934), phaser, (1966), metaverse (1992) and replicant (1982) are also examples of new old words. Political correctness, soccer mom, genocide, homophobia, and meritocracy all came in to being between 1943 and 1992.

Nonce words almost fit into the category of new words, these are words made up for a specific, usually one time use in literary pursuits. Over a thousand nonce words appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, "touch-me-'not-ishness (stand-off-ish.) 1837 Dickens, There was a dignity in the air, a touch-me-not-ishness in the walk, a majesty in the eye of the spinster aunt. cot'queanity (character or quality of a (female) cotquean. [The housewife of a cot or labourer's hut] 1601 B. Jonson Poetaster We tell thee thou angerest us, cotquean; and we will thunder thee in pieces for thy cotqueanity. I'm rather fond of several of them.

Onto the newest of the new, many of which I have a hard time understanding their usage but by popular demand they can now be looked up and utilized for generations. Mouse potato, unibrow, bling-bling (or simply bling), hoody, manga, ginormous, soul patch, supersize, himbo, google, drama queen, ringtone, crunk, degenderize, ixnay (yes, pig-latin), biodiesel, telenovella, docusoap, dramedy, smackdown, spyware, emoticon, chill pill, and trekkie are among the new and wondrous words immortalized in print.

There are some other very real and very invented words in the English Oxford Dictionary of notable origin. Hobbit for instance, created in 1937 by J.R.R Tolkien. Grok was made up by Robert Heinlein in 1961 for his novel Stanger in a Strange Land. Camelious was coined by Kipling in 1902 and Shazam was invented for the Captain Marvel Comics in 1940. The word spoof was invented for a game created by Arthur Roberts in 1884. The word blatant was coined Edmund Spencer in 1596 in The Faerie Queen to describe a thousand tongued monster representing slander.

There will always be words, old, new and newer. I may not like them all but I can't help but love each one of them.

More about this author: Crystal Cook

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