ne·​ol·​o·​gism | \nē-ˈä-lə-ˌji-zəm \

Definition of neologism 

1 : a new word, usage, or expression technological neologisms

2 psychology : a new word that is coined especially by a person affected with schizophrenia and is meaningless except to the coiner, and is typically a combination of two existing words or a shortening or distortion of an existing word

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from neologism

neologistic \nē-​ˌä-​lə-​ˈji-​stik \ adjective

Did You Know?

The English language is constantly picking up neologisms. Recently, for example, computer technology has added a number of new terms to the language. "Webinar," "malware," "netroots," and "blogosphere" are just a few examples of modern-day neologisms that have been integrated into American English. The word neologism was itself a brand-new coinage at the beginning of the 19th century, when English speakers first borrowed it from the French nèologisme. Its roots, however, are quite old. Ultimately, "neologism" comes from Greek neos (meaning "new") and "logos" (meaning "word").

Examples of neologism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Unfortunately, not all neologisms are as adorkable as, well, adorkable. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Made-Up Travel Words We Love to Hate," 18 July 2018 Allusions, dramatic asides, neologisms and flamboyant punctuation became the hallmarks of his style. Thomas Curwen, sacbee, "Tom Wolfe, novelist and pioneer of New Journalism, dies at 88 | The Sacramento Bee," 15 May 2018 To Walker's amusement, his book sometimes appeared in the art instruction section of bookstores, and his neologisms would pop up in discussions about the art of cartooning. Ali Bahrampour,, "Mort Walker, whose 'Beetle Bailey' was a comic-page staple for decades, dies at 94," 27 Jan. 2018 Coining neologisms was and still is one of Coupland’s things. Laura Miller, Slate Magazine, "It’s hard to be the voice of a generation when your generation doesn’t need you anymore.," 15 May 2017 The millennial neologism for an age-old conundrum, ‘‘ Maya Binyam, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Ghosting," 3 Aug. 2017 Fake news — a neologism to describe stories that are just not true, like Pizzagate, and a term now co-opted to characterize unfavorable news — has given new urgency to the teaching of media literacy. Interview By Sydney Ember, New York Times, "This Is Not Fake News (but Don’t Go by the Headline)," 3 Apr. 2017 Unaware of any word that could describe her situation, Webster saw an opportunity for neologism. Michelle Nijhuis, The New Yorker, "What Do You Call the Last of a Species?," 2 Mar. 2017 Instead, these books feature a new kind of mutant—wonky business writers endowed with bulging brainpans and killer neologisms. Jennifer Alsever, WIRED, "The Rise of the Corporate Superhero," 29 Mar. 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'neologism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of neologism

1772, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neologism

borrowed from French néologisme "the habit of forming new words, a newly formed word," from néologie "coining of new words" (from néo- neo- + -logie -logy) + -isme -ism

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about neologism

Listen to Our Podcast about neologism

Dictionary Entries near neologism








Statistics for neologism

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for neologism

The first known use of neologism was in 1772

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for neologism



English Language Learners Definition of neologism

: a new word or expression or a new meaning of a word


ne·​ol·​o·​gism | \nē-ˈäl-ə-ˌjiz-əm \

Medical Definition of neologism 

: a new word that is coined especially by a person affected with schizophrenia, is meaningless except to the coiner, and is typically a combination of two existing words or a shortening or distortion of an existing word

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on neologism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with neologism

Spanish Central: Translation of neologism

Nglish: Translation of neologism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of neologism for Arabic Speakers

Comments on neologism

What made you want to look up neologism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!