A neologism ( //; from Greek νέο- (néo-), meaning "new", and λόγος (lógos), meaning "speech, utterance") is a newly coined term, word, or phrase, that 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. Neolexia (Greek: a "new word", or the act of creating a new word) is a fully equivalent term.
The term neologism is first attested in English in 1772, borrowed from French néologisme (1734).
In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that have meaning only to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia) in adults. People with autism also may create neologisms. Additionally, use of neologisms may be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury.
In theology, a neologism is a relatively new doctrine (for example, Transcendentalism). In this sense, a neologist is one who proposes either a new doctrine or a new interpretation of source material such as religious texts.
Neologisms are often created by combining existing words (see compound noun and adjective) 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). Lewis Carroll's "snark" (snake + shark) is also a portmanteau. Neologisms also can be created through abbreviation or acronym, by intentionally rhyming with existing words or simply through playing with sounds.
Neologisms can become popular through memetics, by way of mass media, the Internet, and word of mouth, including academic discourse in many fields renowned for their use of distinctive jargon, and often become accepted parts of the language. Other times, however, they disappear from common use just as readily as they appeared. 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.
When a word or phrase is no 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.
Popular examples of neologism can be found in science, fiction, branding, literature, linguistic and popular culture. Examples include laser (1960) from Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, robotics (1941), and agitprop (1930).
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; "McJob", from Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland; "cyberspace", from Neuromancer by William Gibson; "nymphet" from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.
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) and "Ballardesque" or "Ballardian" (from J.G. Ballard, author of Crash). The word "sadistic" is derived from the cruel sexual practices Marquis de Sade described in his novels. Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle was the container of the Bokononism family of nonce words.
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), a scrooge (from the main character in Dickens's A Christmas Carol), or a pollyanna (from Eleanor H. Porter's book of the same name). James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, composed in a uniquely complex linguistic style, coined the words monomyth and quark.
Lewis Carroll has been called "the king of neologistic poems" because of his poem, "Jabberwocky", which incorporated dozens of invented words. The early modern English prose writings of Sir Thomas Browne are the source of many neologisms as recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary.
The children's book Frindle by Andrew Clements is a story about a neologism.
Words or phrases created to describe new scientific hypotheses, discoveries, or inventions include,
- x-ray, or röntgenograph(November 8, 1895, by Röntgen)
- radar (1941) from Radio Detection And Ranging
- laser (1960) from Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
- blackhole (1968)
- meme (1976)
- prion (1982)
- beetle bank (early 1990s)
- lidar (late 90s) from Light Detection And Ranging
Concepts created to describe new, futuristic ideas include,
- beaming (1931)
- hyperspace (1934)
- robotics (1941)
- waldo (1942)
- Dyson sphere (circa 1960)
- ansible (1966)
- phaser (1966)
- warp speed (1966)
- ringworld (1971)
- replicant (1982)
- cyberspace (1984)
- xenocide (1991)
- metaverse (1992)
- alien space bats (1998)
- teleojuxtaposition (2003)
Literature more generally
See "Neologisms in literature" topic below.
See also Category:Political neologisms
Words or phrases created to make some kind of political or rhetorical point, sometimes perhaps with an eye to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis include,
- genocide (1943)
- Dixiecrat (1948)
- meritocracy (1958)
- pro-life (1961)
- homophobia (1969)
- political correctness (1970)
- Californication (1970s)
- pro-choice (1975)
- heterosexism (1979)
- glocalisation (1980s)
- sie and hir (pronouns) (1981)
- Republicrat (1985)
- astroturfing (1986)
- dog-whistle politics (1990)
- Islamophobia (1991)
- soccer mom (1992)
- fauxtography (1996)
- red state/blue state/swing state (c. 2000)
- corporatocracy (2000s)
- Islamofascism (2001)
- santorum (2003)
- Chindia (2004)
- NASCAR dad (2004)
- Saddlebacking (2009)
Words coined to name or re-brand corporations and signifying new meaning include,
- Accenture (2001), derived from 'Accent on the future'
- Acette (2002), derived from ‘ace’, meaning expertise, and the encapsulating suffix ‘ette’; when read together as aye~set signifying ‘expertise encapsulated’.
- Protiviti (2002), derived from professionalism and proactivity as well as independence and integrity.
Words created to describe new kinds of objects and concepts originating in various types of design include,
- Bauhaus (early 20th century)
- blobject (1990s)
- fabject (2004), a fabricated 3-D object
- kirkyan (2006)
Words or phrases evolved from mass media content or used to describe popular cultural phenomena (these may be considered a variety of slang as well as neologisms) include,
- moin (early 20th century)
- prequel (1958)
- Internet (1974)
- jumping the shark (late 1970s)
- posterized (c. 1980s) ("posterize" also has existed for some time as a term for an image-editing technique; its neologistic sports usage is completely unrelated)
- queercore (mid 1980s)
- plus-size (1990s)
- blog (late 1990s)
- hard-target search (1993) - first used in the movie "The Fugitive"
- chav (early 2000s)
- webinar (early 2000s)
- wardrobe malfunction (2004)
- truthiness (2005) (already existed as an obscure word previously recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary, but its 2005 usage on the Colbert Report was a neologistic one, with a new definition)
- fauxhawk (mid 2000s)
- From "d'oh" to "cromulent" - many culturally-significant phrases from The Simpsons (1989–) are now in common use
Commerce and advertising
Genericised trademarks include,
Words or phrases created to describe new language constructs include,
- retronym (popularized in 1980)
- backronym (1983)
- aptronym (2003; popularized by Franklin Pierce Adams)
- snowclone (2004)
- protologism (2005)
Miscellaneous sources include,
- nonce words—are words coined and used only for a particular occasion, usually for a special literary effect.
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary, draft revision Dec. 2009, s.v.
- ^ G E Berrios (2009) Neologisms. History of Psychiatry 20: 480-496
- ^ P. J. McKenna, Schizophrenia and Related Syndromes. Page 363.
- ^ Neologisms and idiosyncratic language in autistic speakers. J Autism Dev Disord. 1991 Jun;21(2):109-30.
- ^ B Butterworth, Hesitation and the production of verbal paraphasias and neologisms in jargon aphasia. Brain Lang, 1979
- ^ Wood, J., "The Nuttall Encyclopædia: Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge" (1907), 
- ^ http://www.wordspy.com/words/fauxtography.asp
- ^ http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/news/2006/10/71878?currentPage=all
- Alego, John. Fifty Years among the New Words: A Dictionary of Neologisms, 1941-1991. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-521-41377-X.
- Alego, John, et al. "Neology Forum." Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America 16 (1995): 1-108.
- Fontaine, M. Funny Words in Plautine Comedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Books.Google.com
- Fowler, H.W., "The King's English", Chapter I. Vocabulary, Neologism, 2nd ed. 1908.
- Wood, J., "The Nuttall Encyclopædia: Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge" (1907), 
- General information
- Root knowledge : The need for neologisms
- Neologism History & Evaluation
- International Dictionary of Literary Terms : Neologisms
- The Urban Dictionary
- Langmaker.com, a regularly updated directory of over 1,100 invented languages and neographies.
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neologism — NEOLOGÍSM, neologisme, s.n. Cuvânt împrumutat de curând din altă limbă sau creat recent într o limbă prin mijloace proprii. [pr.: ne o ] – Din fr. néologisme. Trimis de RACAI, 03.11.2007. Sursa: DEX 98 Neologism ≠ arhaism Trimis de siveco,… … Dicționar Român
Neologism — Ne*ol o*gism, n. [Cf. F. n[ e]ologisme.] 1. The introduction of new words, or the use of old words in a new sense. Mrs. Browning. [1913 Webster] 2. A new word, phrase, or expression. [1913 Webster] 3. A new doctrine; specifically, rationalism.… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
neologism — index jargon (technical language) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
neologism — (n.) practice of innovation in language, 1776, from Fr. néologisme, from neo (see NEO (Cf. neo )) + Gk. logos word (see LECTURE (Cf. lecture) (n.)). Meaning new word or expression is from 1803. Neological is attested from 1754 … Etymology dictionary
neologism — [n] new word buzz word*, coinage, neology, new phrase, slang, synthetic word*, vogue word*; concept 275 Ant. time worn … New thesaurus
neologism — ► NOUN ▪ a newly coined word or expression. ORIGIN from NEO (Cf. ↑neo ) + Greek logos word … English terms dictionary
neologism — [nē äl′ə jiz΄əm] n. [Fr néologisme: see NEO , LOGY, & ISM] 1. a new word or a new meaning for an established word 2. the use of, or the practice of creating, new words or new meanings for established words neologist n. neologistic adj.… … English World dictionary
Neologism — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Neologism >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 neology neology neologism Sgm: N 1 newfangled expression newfangled expression Sgm: N 1 caconym caconym Sgm: N 1 barbarism barbarism Sgm: N 1 archaism archaism … English dictionary for students
neologism — n. to coin a neologism * * * [niː ɒlədʒɪz(ə)m] to coin a neologism … Combinatory dictionary
neologism — [[t]ni͟ːələʤɪzəm, niɒ̱l [/t]] neologisms N COUNT A neologism is a new word or expression in a language, or a new meaning for an existing word or expression. [TECHNICAL] The newspaper used the neologism dinks , Double Income No Kids. Syn: new word … English dictionary