The invention of new words

We were reminded in a recent article by Andrew Kaufman for the Guardian that the dictionary is in fact just a book like any other, a product, and although it is often seen as the authority – especially during a game of Scrabble – the introduction of new words should be encouraged.

There have been plenty of examples of new words appearing in the English language inspired from events in 2012, a popular example would be the ‘mobot’ and THE word of 2012 coined by the television series ‘The Thick Of It’ – ‘omnishambles!’

So what makes a new word, and what separates those ‘of the moment’ words from those published in the dictionary? Predominantly (and perhaps obviously) any new word must have a purpose, capture something that already exists and be proven to have genuinely entered the English language. Most new words tend to be a combination of existing words, a nice example from this article is the word cidiot (noun), used to describe someone who has spent so long in a city they have lost the ability to perform tasks the rural population sees as outrageous common sense.

First, he didn’t slow down when it started to snow, then he turned away from the skid, not into it, and I had to tow him out of the ditch – what a cidiot!

Language used in the medical communications industry can often become repetitive and consequently may lack the desired vigor. Introducing new words can help keep language fresh and improve the quality of our work. So for anyone in the business of writing, why not take a look at these words recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary?

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