ne·​ol·​o·​gism | \ nē-ˈä-lə-ˌji-zəm How to pronounce neologism (audio) \

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

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Other Words from neologism

neologistic \ nē-​ˌä-​lə-​ˈji-​stik How to pronounce neologism (audio) \ adjective

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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 The segment also feels dated, strangled by the unimaginative neologism of the fraught summer that preceded it. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 18 June 2021 Richard Nolle invented the neologism for an article published in Dell Horoscope magazine in 1979. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, 4 June 2021 The Marshall Project’s review of 40 major news outlets in the five years after his Weekly Standard article shows the neologism popping up nearly 300 times, and that is an undercount. NBC News, 20 Nov. 2020 But there is a strain of wishful thinking in the idea that neologisms, revamped grammars, could effect better living. Elisa Gabbert, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 Some of the lexicon’s most provocative moments involve recent neologisms. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2020 Gender-neutral neologisms like ha, hizzer, E, shim, thare, um and ita never even left the hangar. Time, 17 Jan. 2020 These neologisms have confused many a parent, grandparent, language-purists, and yes, even editors of prominent digital publications. Sanaya Chandar, Quartz India, 6 Dec. 2019 On Tuesday, Merriam-Webster selected its word of the year, not some viral neologism like post-truth or selfie but a word that has been around since the Middle Ages: the pronoun they. Katy Steinmetz, Time, 13 Dec. 2019

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.

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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

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The first known use of neologism was in 1772

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Neologism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce neologism (audio) \

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


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