StudySmarter: Study help & AI tools
4.5 • +22k Ratings
More than 22 Million Downloads
Free
|
|
Neologism

A  neologism is a new word. Neology is the process of creating new words and phrases through writing or speaking. The process of neology can also involve adopting words that already exist and adapting them to illustrate a different meaning. Making neologisms is also a great way to have fun with language as you need to use your creativity!

Mockup Schule Mockup Schule

Explore our app and discover over 50 million learning materials for free.

Illustration

Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken

Jetzt kostenlos anmelden

Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.

Jetzt kostenlos anmelden
Illustration

A neologism is a new word. Neology is the process of creating new words and phrases through writing or speaking. The process of neology can also involve adopting words that already exist and adapting them to illustrate a different meaning. Making neologisms is also a great way to have fun with language as you need to use your creativity!

Neologism definition in the English language

Neology is defined as:

  • The process of creating new words and phrases, which then turn into neologisms.
  • Adopting words that exist and adapting them to show a different or same meaning.

What are the methods to create a neologism in a sentence?

There are many different methods of neology. As a creator or reader, it's important to understand these especially when it comes to finding or creating amazing neologisms. It's also key to remember that when using or creating your own words within an academic context, this can be considered misspelt. So be careful! Let's take a look at four of these methods followed by them being used within literature and conversations.

Neologism: examples

Take a look at some neologism examples below!

Word blending

This method consists of blending two or more words to create a new word. We may use this method to help us describe a new event or something new, which incorporates the meaning of the two existing concepts within one word. We can do this by blending free morpheme (a part of a word or word that has a meaning by itself) to other words.

Neologism Example of blending StudySmarterFig. 1 - An example of blending is 'Spider-man.'

Free morphemes'Spider''Man'
Word blend'Spider-Man'x
Neologism'Spider-Man'x

The noun 'Spider-Man' first appeared in 1962. In it, we can see that the free morpheme 'spider' (the insect with eight legs) has been linked with the free morpheme 'man' (a male person). This word blend creates a new word: 'Spider-Man', which is a neologism. As a result, this particular man takes on the capabilities of a spider such as having speed, power, and agility, which helps the creators describe something new to the audience.

Clipping

This refers to shortening a longer word, which then acts as a new word with the same or similar meaning. As a result, this makes the word easier to spell and remember. Such words come from particular groups and then make their way into society. These groups can include schools, the army, and laboratories.

Check out these examples of four different types of clipping that are used in conversations today.

Back clipping

A word is clipped backwards.

'Captain' - 'cap'

Fore clipping

A word is clipped from the beginning.

'Helicopter' - 'copter'

Middle clipping

The middle part of the word is retained.

'Influenza' - 'flu'

Complex clipping

Reducing a compound word (two free morphemes joined together) by keeping and linking the existing parts.

'Science fiction'- sci-fi'

Many words today have been clipped, making it acceptable to use them in informal settings. However, keep in mind that words that have been clipped can be considered misspelt in academic writing. Many have not been recognized as standard English.

The case of the word 'flu' is interesting. This neologism, which was originally used in science, has now been accepted in standard English. We all probably use this term today rather than saying 'influenza'. This is an example of slang being accepted in mainstream society, making it satisfactory within writing.

Neologism: synonym

A synonym for neologism is coinage or slang. We can then consider two terms, acronyms and initialisms, as methods of neologism to help people communicate more efficiently, or for companies to set up their branding by coining certain words.

Acronyms

In this method, a neologism is made up of some letters of a phrase, which are then enunciated as a word. You have probably seen and heard of acronyms before within literature and conversation. We use acronyms because it's a faster way of communicating: words are then easier to write and remember.

Due to this, many organizations use them within their branding. A tip to remember when creating or identifying acronyms is that connective words such as 'and' or 'of' are excluded. We will now explore an example of an acronym.

Neologism, NASA Logo, StudySmarter

Fig. 2 - NASA is an example of an acronym

The acronym 'NASA' was created in 1958 and refers to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Here we can see the creator has taken the initials of each of the nouns and linked them together to create the neologism 'NASA'. We can also see that 'and' and 'the' have been excluded, as these words would not help the reader understand what sort of company this is. We can also see that the enunciation is 'nah-sah', making this easier to pronounce.

Initialisms

An initialism is an acronym that is pronounced as single letters. You may have used initialisms yourself before within your writing or even said them with your peers. They are considered to be informal slang words, so it's important to not use these within academic settings. Please see below an example of an initialism.

Neologism, LOL example, StudySmarter

Fig. 3 - LOL is an example of an initialism.

The initialism 'LOL' or 'lol' which means (laugh out loud), was first used in 1989 in a newsletter. Since then, it has become widely used within texting and social media. We can see that the creator has taken the initials of each word and formed a neologism, which is also an acronym. However, due to the pronunciation as 'LO-L', it then turns into an initialism.

Neologism: the difference between acronyms and initialism words

What is the main difference between acronyms and initialisms? Acronyms are very similar to initialisms, as they are both made up of letters from words or phrases. However, an initialism is not pronounced as a word, but instead, you say the individual letters. Please take a look at the below examples:

Acronym: 'ASAP' (as soon as possible)

Neologism, Time Piece, StudySmarter

Here, the creator has used the first letters of each word 'A', 'S', 'A', 'P' and has put them together. As we can see, this acronym still holds the same meaning: something that needs to be done urgently. However, it enables this piece of communication to be quicker. We pronounce this as one word: 'A-SAP', that's how we know it's an acronym!

Initialism: 'CD' (compact disc)

Neologism, CD, StudySmarter

The creator has taken the first letter of the words 'Compact Disc' and has put them together. This still holds the same meaning: a disc that plays music. As this is an initialism, we would pronounce the letters individually: 'C', 'D'. This is how we know it's an initialism!

Neologism - Key takeaways

  • Neology is the process of creating new words and phrases, which then turn into neologisms. It also involves adopting words that exist and adapting them to show a different meaning.
  • Some examples of neologism include blending, clipping, acronyms and initialisms.
  • Blending refers to blending two or more words to create a new word. Clipping refers to shortening a longer existing word to create a new word.
  • Within neology, we use acronyms because it's a faster way of communicating, writing and remembering words. Many organisations use them within their branding.
  • The main difference between acronyms and initialisms is that acronyms are pronounced as a set word. Initialisms are pronounced as individual letters.

References

  1. Fig. 1: Spider-man-homecoming-logo (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spider-man-homecoming-logo.svg) by John Roberti is licensed by Creative Commons (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

Frequently Asked Questions about Neologism

Neology refers to the process of creating new words and phrases, which then turn into neologisms. Neology also involves adopting words that exist and adapting them to show a different meaning.

Here are 9 neologism examples:

  • Spider-Man (spider and man)
  • Cap (captain)
  • Copter (helicopter)
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Sci-fi (science fiction)
  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • Lol (laugh out loud)    
  • ASAP (as soon as possible)
  • CD (compact disc)

You pronounce neology: neo-lo-gy. Neologism is pronounced: nee-o-luh-ji-zm. Note that within neologism, the third syllable is not pronounced 'gi' (like the letters 'gi'), but rather like the first syllable in 'gigantic'.

An acronym is pronounced as a word formed from a set of words or phrases. An initialism has the same rule, but instead, the word is pronounced as individual letters. Both are forms of neology as new words are created which are known as neologisms.

Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

True or false? An anacronym is an acronym that is no longer in use.

True or False? A recursive acronym is an acronym that refers to itself.

A portmanteau is a ...  (There may be more than one answer).

Next

Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

  • Flashcards & Quizzes
  • AI Study Assistant
  • Study Planner
  • Mock-Exams
  • Smart Note-Taking
Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

Start learning with StudySmarter, the only learning app you need.

Sign up now for free
Illustration

Entdecke Lernmaterial in der StudySmarter-App