15 Great New Words for Phenomena That Don’t Yet Have a Name

15 neologisms and coinages to describe as yet unnamed experiences in the modern world

Here at Interesting Literature Towers we love interesting word facts. On Twitter we recently held a competition to coin a new word for something that doesn’t really have an existing word to describe it. (We’ve tried to get bibliosmia into common currency, but it needs a bit more of a push.) Using the hashtag #CoinANewWord, we encouraged our followers and other Twitterers to suggest new words for familiar experiences and feelings, especially those that are peculiar to the modern-day world. Below are some of our favourites. We’ll start with the winner of the competition, who received a stack of great non-fiction books on language and related subjects by Caroline Taggart (whose latest book, on a related theme, we’ve written about here), provided by the publishers, Michael O’Mara Books.

APPLEOGETIC: The sudden regret of not keeping up with the latest mobile phone trends (via @BearGrowlls)

IRRELECHOLY: The feeling that the world is going to sh*t and you’re too irrelevant to help fix it (via @Kmcloughlan)

LIBRATING: Working in a library, both as job and a customer. ‘Sorry, can’t come out tonight, I’m librating’ (via @DerbyshireLibs)

LIKON: A person, who suddenly comes into the limelight on posting something on social media, and gets tons of likes (via @Swarnaav)

BIBLIOFICKLE: When a person starts to read a book and then quickly loses interest and begins another (via @IntestinalBookW)

AMBIBIBLIOPROPRIA: Being unable to remember, when browsing in a second-hand bookshop, whether or not you already own a particular book (via @olivertearle)

VOLUMINIFIC: Producing a lot of – not necessarily terrific – books like those being given away today (via @CiTaggart – whose book, New Words for Old: Recycling Our Language for the Modern World, helped to inspire the competition!)

POLIFUDDLED: The condition of confusion regarding the claims of politicians (via @britpid)

PHONEGOGGED: To be mindlessly lost in one’s phone, oblivious to one’s real and interesting surroundings (via @litchickuk)

SADOCHONDRIAC: Someone who wants to hibernate over winter so pretends they have Seasonal Affective Disorder (via @angep1969)

BEMBLE: The bottom tremble a cat does before pouncing. ‘Tinker’s bembling at that squirrel’ (via @SarahHarrisonPR)

PLODDLER: Slow-moving toddler holding up pedestrian traffic (via @AnaBooks)

BRO-GUN: Hipster hairstyle [or wearer] resembling an ancient Samurai warrior, most famously, a Shogun (via @IWishIHadTyped)

INSOMNEDIA: Inability to sleep due to social media addictions (via @Bohemian_Scribe)

SMIFFLE: A fake laugh made to placate a person who has told an unfunny joke (via @JustinAylward92)

So there we are – fifteen wonderful suggestions for new words to describe modern phenomena. If you’ve coined a new word, let us know your neologisms, so we may all share them across social media and the world at large. And which of the above is your favourite? Let’s get some of the best out there on social media. Then we might be able to kid the Oxford English Dictionary, in another ten years’ time, that they’re ‘real’ words…

13 thoughts on “15 Great New Words for Phenomena That Don’t Yet Have a Name”

  1. Some really excellent neologisms! My favourite is likon — genuinely a word of its time — followed closely by bemble (because all cat-owners will recognise this action, and cos I just like the sound of it) and bibliofickle because that’s exactly where social media and the net have led us: inability to focus on anything in case something more interesting is happening elsewhere. Great stuff!

  2. I can’t totally claim this one and can’t find it anywhere but I call myself a Bardinator due to devoted persistent appreciation of Shakespeare and keeping coming back for more. “I’ll be back for more Bard.”

  3. I like ambibliopropria. That happens to me not only in second hand bookshops but in new ones too. It’s all these long-running series that some authors have. How do they expect us to memorise the whole list when we’re collecting?


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