Definition of nonce word in English:

nonce word


  • A word coined for one single occasion only.

    • ‘One researcher thinks that didgeridoo may be an Irish coinage, a nonce word like boogaloo or dingaling.’
    • ‘The word 'truth' is morphed into the nonce-word 'tlooth' in the title of Mathews's second novel.’
    • ‘Nonce-words in ing are formed freely on words or phrases of many kinds, e.g. oh-ing, hear-hearing, hoo-hooing, pshawing, yo-hoing.’
    • ‘Another sort of punning found in newspapers is the allusive re-using of nonce words from slogans.’
    • ‘Here's a list of nonce words in my colourful vocabulary that have not yet found their way into any dictionary.’
    new word, new expression, new term, new phrase, coinage, newly coined word, made-up word, invented word, invention
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Late 19th century: from nonce + word.