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A neologism is a new word or expression, or a new meaning for an existing word.(1)A neologism is a newly coined term, word or phrase, which may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. (2) (from "neo" new and "log" word).(6)


Neologisms are often created by combining existing words or by giving words new and unique suffixes or prefixes. Portmanteaux are combined words that are sometimes used commonly. "Brunch" is an example of a portmanteau word (breakfast + lunch).
Neologisms also can be created through abbreviation or acronym, by intentionally rhyming with existing words or simply through playing with sounds.(2) Take "SINK SCUM" for example, which means" Single, Independent, No Kids: the Self-Centered Urban Male". It can be used to describe the growing number of heterosexual men who have little or no interest in marriage and children.(4)

Examples Humor-FS-BozoneLayer.jpg
Bozone ,noun
The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.

Monday morning idea,noun
A fuzzy, incomplete idea that is clearly the product of a mind not quite yet in synch with the workaday world.
"I think Bill needs to rethink that 'Corporate retreat/triathlon' concept. That must have been a Monday morning idea."

squirrel gardening, adj.
The accidental "gardening" that occurs when squirrels transfer seeds and bulbs from one one part of a garden to another, or even between gardens.

awkword, noun
A word that is difficult to pronounce.

overworking class, noun
A segment of society in which the chief characteristic is the desire or need to work long hours.
"Before too long, the idea of the 'working class' will vanish and society will split into two camps: the overworking class —people with too much on their plate—and the underworking class—people with not enough to keep them busy."

n. A diet that a bride uses to lose weight before her wedding day. [Bridal + diet.]
Example Citations:
Magazines have taken to publishing before and after shots of "painfully thin Kate", calling her "Queen of diets" and "Slimline Kate", and speculating on the "briet", or bridal diet.(4)




The reasons why new words enter a language are of external and internal nature.

Language internal reasons:
The language internal reasons such as shift of grammar, shift of meaning, euphemism, taboo, folk etymology, metaphor, and metonymy can be classified as linguistic causes. Internal reasons are due to semantic change and have nothing to do with external factors.(10)

Language external reasons:
The vocabulary of a language undergoes many changes. Existing words disappear or change their meaning, and new words come up. The urge for neologisms is mainly due to pragmatic reasons, i. e. there is a lack of words in every language to express new ideas. Whenever cultural habits change, the language changes as well.(10)Creating new words is made, especially as reflected in language needs of society in terms of new concepts, constantly arising from the development of science, technology, culture, public relations. (7)

When words are first coined, instant approval is not what they meet with. Usually the first reaction is disapproval. For instance, when USA Ex-President John Fitzgerald Kennedy first used the word finalized, much to the horror of purist and most other users, the usage was roundly condemned.(5)
First domain: neologism are coined in modern science and technology.
Second domain: industry, where new words are being created nearly everyday as the names for new products or as trademarks.
Third domain: politics and the government is another domain to “mass-produce” neologisms.(8)

Scientific — words or phrases created to describe new scientific discoveries. Example: prion

Political — words or phrases created to make some kind of political or rhetorical point. Example: pro-life.

Imported — words or phrases originating in another language. Typically they are used to express ideas that have no equivalent term in the native language. Example: tycoon
Trademarks are often neologisms to ensure they are distinguished from other brands. If legal trademark protection is lost, the neologism may enter the language as a genericized trademark. Example: Kodak

Nonce words — words coined and used only for a particular occasion, usually for a special literary effect.

Inverted — words that are derived from spelling (and pronouncing) a standard word backwards. Example: redrum

Paleologism - a word that is alleged to be a neologism but turns out to be a long-used (if obscure) word. Used ironically.(10)


In neologism, there are some unsolved in theoretical and in practical terms the problems. For example, the topic that how long the word should be used in the language to be a neologism and go into the dictionary is much debated.(7) When longer "new", it is no longer a neologism. Neologisms may take decades to become "old", however. Opinions differ on exactly how old a word must be to cease being considered a neologism.(2)

Whether a neologism continues as part of the language depends on many factors, probably the most important of which is acceptance by the public. It is unusual, however, for a word to enter common use if it does not resemble another word or words in an identifiable way.(2)

Many neologisms have come from popular literature and tend to appear in different forms. Most commonly, they are simply taken from a word used in the narrative of a book; a few representative examples are: "grok" (to achieve complete intuitive understanding), from Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein; Sometimes the title of a book becomes the neologism, for instance, Catch-22 (from the title of Joseph Heller's novel). Alternatively, the author's name may become the neologism, although the term is sometimes based on only one work of that author. This includes such words as "Orwellian" (from George Orwell, referring to his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Another category is words derived from famous characters in literature, such as quixotic (referring to the titular character in Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes).(2)



Can you guest meanings of these neologisms?

Passive overeating?

n. A relative shortage of eligible bachelors in a particular area. .
Example Citations:
A large middle class presented its own problems, though, such as the high proportion of well-off spinsters and a "man drought" as eligible men left Edinburgh to seek fortunes abroad.
—Sandra Dick, "Bringing us to our census," Edinburgh Evening News, March 24, 2011 (4)

The inverse of dogfooding – to use your competitors products in day-to-day business operations. Whereas dogfooding is a means for becoming familiar with and showing confidence in your own product, catfooding is a means of getting acquainted with your market and developing your niche.(11)

Passive overeating
This term refers to excessive eating of foods that are high in fat because the human body is slow to recognize the caloric content of rich foods and also eating whatever is prepared before someone, even to the point of discomfort.










8.Xinzhang Yang, An Introduction to Linguistics ,HIGHER EDUCATION PRESS ,2010.



External links

It is a useful file which introduces some basic knowledge and differences between nonce formation and neologism, as well as word-formation amd word-creation.
There are numbers of examples in it and also detailed citations.
These are neologisms collected by an undergraduate linguistics class at Rice University during the fall of 2003.

Neologisms Lexicology
Academic Words