Made-Up Words

Our language uses several made-up words, or “coined” words as they are sometimes called (why “coined,” I do not know). And more are being created every day, it seems. A recent one – “hangry” – combined two words into one, to describe when someone is angry because they are hungry. An excellent word, I thought.

I also hear this word a lot nowadays – “snarky” – when a person is being sarcastic in a not so nice way. At least, I think that’s the definition. I never heard it used when I was growing up. Maybe people are more snarky now? 🤔

I thought snark or snarky was a new “coined” word, but I was SO wrong. Did you know that “snark” was made up by Lewis Carroll in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark, published in 1876???

And “nerd” was created by Dr. Seuss in 1950!

I love people with great imaginations. I’m not sure I have that kind of creativity. Have you made up a word?

4 thoughts on “Made-Up Words”

  1. Why yes I have. When I was a kid I would say “hugantic.” My mom would say, it’s either huge or gigantic. But in my small kid mind, neither of those words seemed large enough to convey what I wanted to say. To me, “hugantic” was only to way to really express how large, enormous, or overwhelming whatever “it” was. I was probably talking about my “feelings” and if you know me today, you know why that’s funny. I don’t use it much anymore, but that’s probably because I now know many other more refined, sophisticated, precise ways to fully and completely express whatever thoughts I’m trying to communicate. 🙂

  2. I was curious too about the origin of the term “coined”. Thanks to the internet, I found something that sounds logical.

    “Coining, in the sense of creating, derives from the coining of money by stamping metal with a die. Coins – also variously spelled coynes, coigns, coignes or quoins – were the blank, usually circular, disks from which money was minted. This usage derived from an earlier 14th century meaning of coin, which meant wedge. The wedge-shaped dies which were used to stamp the blanks were called coins and the metal blanks and the subsequent ‘coined’ money took their name from them.

    Coining later began to be associated with inventiveness in language. In the 16th century the ‘coining’ of words and phrases was often referred to.”

  3. Great comments, all! Hugantic – love it. Plus, if you say it with a hard “g,” it sounds like a great big hug – nice :).
    And thanks to Mary Pat for bringing us the origin of “coining” of words. Interesting that the original wedge-shaped stamps were called coins, first, before the term was used for the resulting stamped metal.
    Fun! I am looking forward to seeing more made-up words!


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