Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Writing Exercise #87: Make up a new word and use it in a sentence.

Neologisms are a way we burrow deeper into the language in our quest to signify meaning. When we truncate, combine, reorder, or otherwise modify words, we are creating space for meaning between the voids in the vocabulary. These voids will always be there, and good communicators will continue to exploit them.

Most neologisms are not truly "new words." They contain post-consumer content. A neologism usually borrows meaning from the word(s) it is crafted from. (Occasionally we do have truly new words introduced through avenues like technology or literature. In these cases the word is explained and given exterior context.)

Some neologisms are intended to contain several meanings, such as the neologism which serves as the title for this blog. Others pose provocative contradictions. All arrest the reader's attention; a new word is vastly more interesting than a word you merely don't know.

The language is full of unexplored possibilities. If you can't find the lightning-right word, maybe you can invent it.

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