Sunday, May 22, 2011

Made up Words

One of my author friends, Amarinda, has a word she uses a lot... pukeable. No, it's not in a dictionary, but I expect it will be some day. That's how we add new words to our language. We make them up and then use them--frequently. Other people pick up on them and start to use them, too. And before you know it, it's a valid word.

In the course of writing my books, I've made up a lot of words--about three hundred, so far. No doubt there will be many, many more. But compared to Shakespeare, I'm a mere piker. He added 1700 words to the English language. Think about a world without such words as bloody, critical, sanctimonious, suspicious, radiance, and amazement. Why, we would have to make them up!

Most people know he's the source of such phrases as to thine own self be true and neither a borrower nor a lender be, but how about eat out of house and home? Or green-eyed monster, foregone conclusion, and fair play?

Children are especially good at making up words until we insist they use the "correct" word. Then they rebel as teens by using their own language--a language that often ends up adding words to our vocabulary!

In my Mystic Valley series there are a lot of new words--so many there is a glossary at the beginning of the book--though readers tell me they never need to use it. My favorite word from the glossary? Cisme (pronounced kiss-me) ~~female genitalia. Personally, I like it much better than the available alternatives.

What are some of your favorite made up words? Who is the source? And why do you like them?



  1. "To thine own self be true.' That's a keeper.

  2. Well, I love the word 'pukeworthy' but it's not in the big Dic either :D

  3. I like to make up works as I go at random. I enjoy putting '-ation', '-able'and '-acity'on the ends of words. I figure as an adult to can have your own language. For example - the word verification is 'courboxf'- in a sentence that would be 'I was absolutetly courboxfed after work today.'I like it.

  4. Both excellent words, Trisha and Amarinda!