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.