Category Archives: Non-word of the Day

MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, Part 11: WORDS THAT DIDN’T MAKE IT

As the year wound down, I had two choices. Continue making up words indefinitely or stop and retain my sanity. I choose to stop. But I found that I had some spare words left over—and I had a small pile … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, Part 10: PHONEMES

If you’ve ever played Scrabble or Boggle or Worded with Friends, you know there are some letters that you just can’t do much with because they don’t fit together well. This has to do with the sound shape of English … Continue reading

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My Year of New words, Part 9: TYPOS

One of the types of word formation that doesn’t turn up much in textbooks—but which has been enormously helpful to be—is the typo. Typing quickly I notice odd combinations of letters that sometimes suggest new words. Typing malapropism, for example, … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, Part 8 – EPONYMS

July is the month added by Julius Caesar (and August, naturally, by Augustus Caesar), which is why September, October, November and December and not the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth month, as they should be based on their Indo-European roots. … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, PART 7: NYMS

April is both a personal name and the name of a month. It’s a homonym (a word with two meanings) and nyms are the theme for this post. We’ve got synonyms, acronyms, homonyms (and homophones—which sound alike but spell differently, … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, PART 6: VERBING NOUNS AND MORE

This post is about some of the non-word tricks that I haven’t been able to use and about some that I have. One of the tricks that I haven’t been able to use is to verb nouns. Verbing nouns means … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, PART 5: SUFFIXES

Making up words requires suffixes—word endings. In English, there are two major types of suffixes. Some endings INFLECT nouns, verbs and adjectives, and adverbs to show their grammatical forms: plural, possessive, past tense, comparative, superlative. And some endings DERIVE new … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, PART 4: PREFIXES

March was about prefixes. The un- of uncool, unknowable, unpredicatable, unintelligible, uninhabited, and so forth. Attached to adjectives, un- means not. It also means not when attached to nouns, like undead, uncola, and the great unwashed. But attached to verbs, … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, PART 3: CLIPPING

If you Febrify something, you reduce it by 1/15th or 2/30th. So for February it makes sense to introduce the technique of clipping. You shorten a word, from the front (auto from automobile, gas from gasoline, dorm from dormitory, exam … Continue reading

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MY YEAR OF NEW WORDS, PART 2: Blending

Blends are words formed by taking two (or more) words and pushing them together, dropping some sounds and letters. So “smoke + fog” become “smog, breakfast + lunch” becomes“brunch”, “spoon + fork” becomes “spork”. You see what’s going on. Lots … Continue reading

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