Welcome to Amaze-ing Words Wednesday! Some time ago, I wondered if I could make up my own word. And then I did.
New words are called neologisms (neo=new, logo=word). Neologisms are added to our language all the time. For instance, technology has brought us “texting,” “tweeting,” and “Googling.” When you can’t find any word in the English language that conveys exactly what you mean, you could try adding a neologism to the existing vocabulary.
This is risky, of course. Language is, after all, for the purpose of passing along meaning between people, and if no one else understands your word, your meaning falls flat. Still, it’s worth a shot, and some great terms have made their way into our common lexicon by throwing a new word out there!
Here are a few I’m adding to my own word bank.
Scread. I picked this up from an episode of Fairly Legal. The main character, lawyer Kate Reed, is asked whether she read or skimmed a client’s file. Her answer is that it was something in between: She scread the file. Past tense, this is pronounced [skred]. It now applies to how I often go through blog posts, newspaper articles, and all of the paperwork the school sends home with my kids.
Infinimore. I give credit to my younger, and quite creative, son for this this word! We have a game of saying “I love you” and then the other says “more” or “infinity.” So he combined the two to come up with infinimore. He defines it as “more than infinity.” While I don’t know how more than infinity is possible, I now adore trading “I love you infinimore” with him. (I know, I know, he’ll eventually stop using it with me and use it on girls.)
Humblebrag. This one I saw on author Jenny B. Jones’s website. It immediately piqued my interest, so I searched the word “humblebrag” on the Urban Dictionary. The simplest definition is “a brag shrouded in a transparent form of humility.” An example tweet: “Uggggh just ate about fifteen pieces of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modeling contract LOL :p #humblebrag.” It’s a statement that sounds like you’re complaining but conveys that you are superior to others. Another one on the site was something like, “Just stepped in gum on the red carpet! Ugh.” Makes you want to say, “Ooh, poor baby.” *massive eye roll*
Hairitude. As you can see from this list, by far the easiest way to come up with a new word is to take two known words and shove them together somehow. That’s exactly what I did when Jenny Hansen asked for her peeps to vote for fictional character Rapunzel in Clay Morgan’s March Movie Madness. I was quite happy to vote for Rapunzel whose spunk and 80-foot long hair I admired and desired. I slapped together “hair” + “attitude” to say that Rapunzel’s got hairitude! I think this term can apply, however, to any chick with an out-of-the-box, over-the-top hairdo that communicates an “I am all that” attitude. Personally, I think these ladies have hairitude:
If you love adding new words to your vocabulary, check out Natalie Hartford‘s Urban Word Wednesdays posts. Some of these terms are too raunchy for work water cooler conversation, but Natalie does a great job introducing neologisms and giving us a hilarious primer on their use.
So what words have you made up? What neologisms should we add to our common language? Are there concepts or things for which we need a new word? Maybe we can help.
(Note: I do try to keep this site PG-ish, so keep that in mind. Thanks.)