When No Adequate Words Exist

Words, English, Language

Have you ever been unable to adequately express something in words? I don’t mean because you lack a good vocabulary. I mean, because to the best of your (astounding) knowledge, the right word(s) simply didn’t exist…

I have a good vocabulary and enjoy learning new words. But there have been times when I have felt the need, (in the interests of better serving humanity) to create my own new words. One, which some of you may be familiar with, is terrifical. I don’t recall the exact motivation for the birth of this new word, but it has served me well over the years. Apparently, I am not alone, because others have also used ‘terrifical’ to the point where it now appears in several modern dictionaries. Great minds think alike… And before you go there – fools, by definition can’t/ don’t think, so they can’t create words:-).

Before I knew that others also ‘invented’ my wordI thought the meaning of terrifical would be quite self-explanatory, but it seems I was mistaken. Recently, I discovered that ‘terrifical’ was first used in the late 17th Century with an entirely different meaning!  Derived from the ‘terrificus‘,(see, people have been making up words for a long time !), it relates to ‘terrifying or terror.’ Talk about a kill-joy! My terrifical relates only to wonderful things.

My sister makes words up too. Some of her’s are my favourites. I especially love ‘schmoozle’. Used to describe something snuggly, cuddly, or cute. Fortunately, there is no evidence to support that anyone abused her words four centuries ago!

I love and appreciate the English language and frankly, I abhor it when people abuse English. However, I am not averse to anyone adding a well-thought out word here and there, when the need arises. Maybe if you start now, you can get a four-century head-start on a future wordsmith:-). Have you crafted any words of your own? Please feel free to share in the comments – I’d love to learn and maybe even use your words.

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