Dictionary.com Word FAQs

What is an invented word?

It has always been popular to invent new words for things or concepts which seem to have no name. The series of Sniglets books (Hall, Richard, Sniglets (Snig'lit: Any Word that Doesn't Appear in the Dictionary, But Should), New York: Collier, 1984) contains just that. The use of a newly invented word by a single person is not sufficient to merit a dictionary entry, unless that individual is a very famous person - like an author or statesman. There is nothing to stop you from using an invented word, though. Maybe no one will understand it and you will have to explain it every time but if it genuinely fills a gap in the English language, then it could catch on. If a large number of people start to speak it or write it, then lexicographers will note this and the invented word may be included in dictionaries. There are great books on new words like Allan Metcalf's Predicting New Words (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002) and Paul McFedries' Word Spy (New York: Broadway Books, 2004).

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