Neologistically Speaking

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 wordย 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:

Kate & Cindy of the B-52s
Farrah Fawcett with THE hairdo to have when I was growing up.
Princess Leia & the buns
Amy Winehouse - Gone too soon, but the hair rocked.

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.)

39 thoughts on “Neologistically Speaking

  1. From the top of my head, I can’t remember any words I invented …
    In Portuguese, there is always a new word coming from other languages, especially from English … when a term becomes too popular here (mostly technology related words), we start using it in Brazil and, sometimes, even conjugating the verb LOL at first, it sounds weird, but with time we get use to it.

    1. Of all the things for us to export! English! Perhaps the most confusing language ever. But fun, too. It’s good to know this happens in Portuguese as well. It’s a beautiful language to listen to.

  2. My husband and daughter had a word similar to yours, only theirs was “infitameous.”

    Sometimes people on my car enthusiast forum “Camarovan” to events and gatherings.

    Of course, there’s the email that’s been circulating for years of the Washington Post contest for this very thing. The contest winner is “ignoranus,” someone who is both stupid and an… uh, anus. LOL

    1. Yeah, I think I did a post on the Washington Post contest. (Where is that?)

      I like the Camarovan. It’s a joining of two words in a different way — not merely a compound.

      Infitameous . . . priceless.

  3. I love to make up my own words and have been doing it for as long as I can remember. They’ve become such a part of me, I’m at a loss to recall exactly what they are. I loved your “infinimore” and will be using that soon.

  4. I love scread! I do that way too often when I read, lol. My daughter is forever making up words, and of course I can think of a single one right now. Fun post!

  5. My husband and I make up nasty nicknames for people, but I can’t think of any actual words we make up.

    Now, I do have a neologism (sort of) for activities. If I’m researching the Wonderland Murders, I say I am “Wonderland-ing it.” If I am researching Ted Bundy, I am “Bundy-ing it.” Get it?

    I also a sort of neologism for describing the romantic content of novels. I say something like “That novel was romance-ier than I prefer” or “Her stories are pretty romance-y.” But that’s not really too creative, is it?

    Fun post. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Oh, oh, oh. I finally thought of one. Critiquer. I use this to describe someone who critiques other people’s writing. And I know it’s not a real word.

    2. It is interesting how one of the things that has happened with English is that we make verbs from nouns — like Wonderlanding, Googling, etc. It’s easy to do. I’m doubting that many people, however, are using the phrase “Bundy-ing it.” LOL.

  6. Love scread. That’s the way I go through my day now in order to keep up with everything. LOL I can’t for the life of me come up with anything right now although I know I make up words all the time. Fun post, Julie!

  7. Julie, you are a very clever lady! I on the other hand am brain dead and can think of nothing off hand. But I do relate to scread. That should be inducted into the dictionary! I love it! Fun post is right! Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hah, I scread all the time. And infinimore is so adorable. Great hairitude pictures. Humblebragging… gah, I’ve met a few annoying people who do that in real life.

    I’m really looking forward to my kids making up new words. Mostly they just twist the grammar in cute ways and ask me what things are called. Maybe I should ask them to come up with their own words instead.

    When I was little, I made up one word and called lightning “skysplitter”. That’s a translation since English is not my mother tongue. The English version would be a mouthful for a kid ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Scread! I love that and I do it all the time. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope I don’t get in trouble with this method–sometimes I am afraid I am going to miss something!

    1. I just don’t know how to get through everything anymore without screading. I do read books and scan newspaper articles, but the stuff in between gets the mixture. Thanks, Coleen!

  10. Love love love scread and Hairitude (did I ever have some going on last night – stay tuned)! Fantastic Julie and thank you sooooo much for the ahhmazing shout out! Girl…you rock!!! Luv it!!

    1. Ah, you have piqued my interest. Natalie and hairitude: Who knows what that could be?!!! Thanks, Natalie. I share each and every one of your Urban Word Wednesday finds with my hubby, sometimes while blushing but still…

  11. Love the infinimore reference, Julie! So sweet.:) Just want you to know that I look forward to your Amaze-ing Words Wednesday posts so much that even when my life is crazy I save your email until I have enough time to savor them. I don’t want to say I only scread it, now do I?

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