Definition of neologism in US English:



  • 1A newly coined word or expression.

    • ‘Mr Rowan said neologisms (new words) were often invented by certain groups to make themselves feel exclusive.’
    • ‘I'm sure the Harry's Place commentariat can come up with inventive neologisms to describe political concepts recently arisen…’
    • ‘He chose antiquated vocabulary, from religious literature and classical poetry, and avoided neologisms.’
    • ‘Stylistically, the language was riddled with neologisms and foreign terms, and the composition was muddled by excessive ornaments.’
    • ‘Like many neologisms (new words), ‘dis’ is formed by chopping the front off a longer word.’
    • ‘I wouldn't call them neologisms because a neologism is a new word that has immediate definition or sense.’
    • ‘Vauban never spared himself during the process, and was always on hand, muttering away in a Burgundian dialect littered with forceful neologisms.’
    • ‘The antonym to tight is not ‘loose’ - logic has no place in the coinage of neologisms - but janky, also spelled and pronounced jinky or jainky.’
    • ‘Politicians invent neologisms and use words in a very imaginative way.’
    • ‘His work routinely exhibits a Joycean verbal playfulness and exuberance, and is littered with inventive neologisms and mixed metaphors.’
    • ‘The terms he used, positive and negative, plus and minus, are still the terms we use today; so are the neologisms he created to describe his findings: battery, charged, neutral, condense, and conductor.’
    • ‘We've become accustomed to accepting the fact that popular culture comes out of America mostly, and so does this make the United States the source of most neologisms say since the '40s?’
    • ‘I was imagining a full hybridized America in the 21st century and trying to coin all these neologisms to explain what America would look like.’
    • ‘Because the golden crucible of creative neologisms so often has a surface scum of knee-jerk, cliché-ridden, automatic invention.’
    • ‘Chemists are constantly inventing new molecular words, expanding the language - and some of these neologisms are rather witty.’
    • ‘Elevation is lent to his language by archaic and poetic words and an admixture of neologisms, while his extensive use of metaphor more closely resembles poetic than prose usage.’
    • ‘But if you dress up the idea in a forbidding vocabulary, full of neologisms and recondite references to philosophy, then you may have a prescription for academic stardom.’
    • ‘You will appreciate that I spend much of my time reading the newspapers in order to turn up neologisms and other interesting terms.’
    • ‘Yet, many neologisms sneak in unnoticed and many exist for some time, only later to attract adverse attention.’
    • ‘Radner writes long, convoluted sentences and regularly coins neologisms; he also employs words without much sensitivity to the alternative associations that they are likely to breed in the minds of the reader.’
    new word, new expression, new term, new phrase, coinage, newly coined word, made-up word, invented word, invention, nonce word
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The coining or use of new words.
      • ‘No recondite phrase or pleasing neologism, it is a wordless summons like that made by the infant in distress.’
      • ‘Like Clark Coolidge, whose verve depends on malapropism, neologism, and ricochet, Roberts bounces back and forth within a multivalent vocabulary.’
      • ‘Justifying speciesism takes us back to square one, but with an ugly, misleading and tendentious neologism thrown in.’
      • ‘Substituting catachresis for neologism lends the good historian another way of thinking about linguistic terms extralinguistically and the means to treat terms in thought-as if thinking, too, were an unexplored, historical datum.’
      • ‘At the risk of coining a fourth type (writers are only allowed one neologism per article) we could say that the global economy (and its attendant pollution) is itself 4th nature.’
      • ‘Their attempts to get around these logical points generally result in an orgy of neologism and grammatical originality that gives me eye-ache.’
      • ‘‘I am not afraid of neologism,’ wrote the fearless Professor Fowler.’


Early 19th century: from French néologisme.