Neologism Word Contest
Alternate Meanings for Common Words

Examples of Neologism

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Neologism Contest - Alternate Meanings for Common Words

Each year the Washington Post invites readers to think of alternative meanings for common words.  Here are some neologism examples:

  • Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
  • Cantankerous(n), able to drive a tank.
  • Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
  • Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
  • Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
  • Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavoured mouthwash.
  • Defenestration (n.), Uninstalling Windows 7 and then installing Linux.
  • Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
  • Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
  • Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
  • Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly
  • Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
  • Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  • Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  • Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
  • Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

You too can be become a neologist by create your own words and definitions.  You could send your examples of neologisms to the Washington Post, or, send them to us.


The True Definition of Neologism

The key syllable is 'Neo' meaning new.  Neologisms are related to a particular individual or publication; one theme with neologisms is that they are employed to describe a new invention.  For example, Black Hole (Astronomy).   Will and Guy have only recently heard the term, however, neologism was first coined in the early 1800s.

Examples of Pseudo-Neologism


404 moment:  When a junior doctor cannot find the patient's medical records.  Derived from the website error message when a page cannot be displayed: '404 - document not found'

Adminosphere: The nicely decorated and furnished offices of trust management, or the principal

Administrivia: Sending pointless emails and paperwork from those in the for mentioned Adminosphere

Hasselhoff: Term used for a victim who turns up at accident and emergency with an injury for which there is a bizarre explanation.  Originates from Baywatch where David Hasselhoff hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed tendons and an artery in his arm

Agnostication: Describes the usually vain attempt to answer the question 'How long have I got, doc?'

Blamestorming: Apportioning of blame after some particularly egregious error has occurred

PhilosophyKeep this philosophy in mind the next time you hear gossip

Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you either hear some gossip, or are about to repeat a rumour.

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC) Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, 'Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?'

'Wait a moment,' Socrates replied. 'Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test.'

'Triple filter?' replied the acquaintance!

'That's right,' Socrates continued. 'Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?'

'No,' the man said, 'actually I just heard about it and...'

'All right,' said Socrates. 'So you don't really know if it's true or not.'

'Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?

'No, on the contrary...'

'So,' Socrates continued, 'you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?'

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued. 'You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness.' Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?'

'No, not really.'

'Well,' concluded Socrates, 'if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?'

The man was defeated and ashamed. This is the reason Socrates was such a brilliant philosopher and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why he never found out that Plato was having an affair his wife.

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