In the book Personal Effects: Dark Arts by JC Hutchins (@jchutchins), a guy makes up words hoping people will use them (for example, he makes up the word “foolbiscuit” to mean idiot). My favorite pop-culture instance of this is the character in the movie “Mean Girls” who keeps trying to get everyone to use the word “fetch” to mean “cool.” I wondered if there was a name for that behavior, and sent the question out to my Twitter friends.
I got a lot of great recommendations, which I’ve compiled below. Thanks, everyone! (And I apologize if I’ve missed any. I think I got them all.)
Suggested names for words made up with the hope that others will use them.
GrantBarrett@Fritinancy @grammargirl I don’t have a verb, but new words that are spread by an organized campaign are called “factitious.”
RogueReverend@GrammarGirl Somebody used “Sniglets.” Can’t remember who, but I heard it a long time ago.
robcrogers3@GrammarGirl Call them maladoptisms?
CathleenRitt@GrammarGirl Protologism is a new word created in the hope that it will become accepted. Protologism was coined by Mikhail Epstein in 2003
Fritinancy@GrammarGirl Barbara Wallraff calls them Word Fugitives. I’ve also seen “sniglet.” http://tinyurl.com/yg66md
KeriStevens@GrammarGirl Thank you! Unfortunately, got nothing for you re: pushed neologisms. Egologisms?
Suggested names for people who make up words with the hope that others will use them.
picnicking@GrammarGirl, someone that likes/needs/wants to coin new words for general use? How about ,” popcoiner?”
dhersam@GrammarGirl neologist wouldn’t work? 🙂 maybe more along the lines of coiner, self-promoter?
karma_musings.@GrammarGirl Maybe… foolbiscuit??? 🙂
mr_steve23@GrammarGirl Vocabulator – one who contributes to the growth of a communal lexicon.
Suggested words for the act of making up new words in the hope that others will use them.
mr_steve23@GrammarGirl Vocabulation – the act of adding new words to a communal lexicon.
parkview@GrammarGirl “neologestation” I does take awhile, after all.
sasmus@GrammarGirl Neoligistics, neoligizing.
CaliEditor@GrammarGirl Why not “neologizing?”
reiheit@GrammarGirl “neologising”. I guess that’s the British spelling, American would be “neologizing”
ScottQuitter@GrammarGirl How about Shakespearing?
aparentlee@GrammarGirl How about “webstering” to describe the practice of adopting or designing new language?
DCRealtorRicki@GrammarGirl bonmoting? moting? creamoting (create + mot)?
BrazilLit@GrammarGirl do you mean “word coining” ?
Fritinancy@GrammarGirl Maybe @GrantBarrett can help you out. (I’d say “sniggling.”)
lbgilbert@GrammarGirl The behavior? How about “shameless self-promotion”? 😉
CathleenRitt@GrammarGirl What about “Neologging” (as in flogging a neologism”)
leprecoceferoce@GrammarGirl Protologising? From Wikipedia: A protologism is a new word created in the hope that it will become accepted.
WesleyC@GrammarGirl: I like ‘egologisms’ so how about use that as a base? Egologising?
earbox@grammargirl I’d say “liffing” (after The Meaning of Liff), but it sounds too close to “yiffing,” which has..unfortunate connotations.
KeriStevens@GrammarGirl evangelogizing. Yes.
RoseZag@GrammarGirl Yes, there is! It falls under a type of ld/autism/speech and language. Sorry, I can’t remember the name!
Finally here are a few interesting related comments.
DeepEddy@GrammarGirl there was an episode of The Sarah Silverman Show about this. I don’t remember if they gave it a name there or not.
averagebetty@GrammarGirl Whatever you call it, it’s the behavior of a toddler. A crafty toddler can have adults calling blankets “binkies” in no time.
MajorBedhead@GrammarGirl Surely there’s a name for that already. Wasn’t that done in A Clockwork Orange?
[And finally, my favorite comment] pianoeditor@GrammarGirl If there isn’t a name for that, you could make one up, hoping people will use it.
Sniglets was the brainchild of comic Rich Hall.
The slang language (slanguage?) used in “A Clockwork Orange” was adapted from Russian; there’s a glossary in the back of the book.