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

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 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, "Analysis: How the media created a 'superpredator' myth that harmed a generation of Black youth," 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, "In Defense of Poetic Nonsense, With a Character Who Shares Your Frustration," 3 Mar. 2020 Some of the lexicon’s most provocative moments involve recent neologisms. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Search for New Words to Make Us Care About the Climate Crisis," 21 Feb. 2020 Gender-neutral neologisms like ha, hizzer, E, shim, thare, um and ita never even left the hangar. Time, "People Have Invented More Than 200 Gender-Neutral Pronouns. Here's Why 'They' Is Here to Stay," 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, "Woke, lit, snacc: When GenZ lingo stumped our resident elder millennial," 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, "This Is Why Singular ‘They’ Is Such a Controversial Subject," 13 Dec. 2019 Leave it to northern Europeans to come up with a neologism to describe a complicated emotional state. Lisa Abend, Time, "In Europe, the Movement to Give Up Air Travel Is Taking Off. Could the U.S. Be Next?," 1 Aug. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for neologism

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The first known use of neologism was in 1772

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Neologism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for neologism


How to pronounce neologism (audio)

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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