Nonce words

28 Jul

From Wikipedia:

“A nonce word is a word used only ‘for the nonce’—to meet a need that is not expected to recur…Nonce words frequently arise through the combination of an existing word with a familiar prefix or suffix, in order to meet a particular need (or as a joke). The result is not a non-word: although it would not be found in any dictionary, it is instantly comprehensible.”

Wikipedia gives examples of nonce words that include “slithy”, “cromulent”, and “unidexter.” (I think that of these, only “slithy” is instantly comprehensible out of context.)


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