As writers, we often get attached to the way words work. So the idea of making up new words doesn’t always sit well with us. But should it? According to Erin McKean, who’s a lexicographer, language is meant to evolve—and part of the way it does this is through the invention of new words.
In the past few months alone, Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam-Webster have added a range of new words into the English lexicon, including:
twerk: v. To move (something) with a twitching, twisting or jerking motion.
crowdfund: v. To fund (a project or venture) by raising money from a large number of people, each of whom contributes a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.
selfie: n. a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
And here’s an entertaining list of words that aren’t yet in the dictionary—but maybe should be. Our personal favourite? Nomonym. Definition: A food that tastes like another food.
What do you think about making up words? Do you have any made-up words that make it into your regular rotation?