Popty Ping the Welsh neologism for the beep of the microwave.A Neologism is newly created (or “coined”) word.

New words often apply to new concepts or inventions, or perhaps when an old idea takes on a new meaning.

Some random neologisms:

  • aspirin
  • hyperspace
  • internet
  • Islamaphobia
  • wiki
  • bling
  • wmd
  • phishing

Quite simply, these words did not exist several years ago.


Washington Post columnist Bob Levey ran a monthly neologism competition for over 20 years (from 1983 til 2004, when he retired). Readers were invited to send in new words made by taking existing words and adding, subtracting, or changing one letter to yield a new definition. Here are a few wordplays he received over the years.

CashtrationThe act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
IntaxicationEuphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
BozoneThe substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
ReintarnationComing back to life as a hillbilly.
ForeployAny misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of obtaining sex.
SarchasmThe gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient who doesn’t get it.
InoculatteTo take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
HipatitisTerminal coolness.
OsteopornosisA degenerate disease.
BurglesqueA poorly planned break-in.
KarmageddonIt’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like a serious bummer.
GlibidoAll talk and no action.
IgnoranusA person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
Image © Brett Jordan

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