neologism

noun

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

Did you know?

The English language is constantly picking up neologisms. In recent decades, 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 in the latter half of the 18th century, when English speakers borrowed the French term néologisme. The word's roots are quite old, ultimately tracing back to ancient Greek neos, meaning "new," and logos, meaning "word."

Examples of neologism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For those who seek to reform U.S. foreign policy, the best path may be to send Rhodes’s neologism into retirement. Emma Ashford, Foreign Affairs, 29 May 2020 During the next coffee break, Crutzen’s neologism was the main topic of conversation. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 20 Apr. 2024 The neologism cannot be found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but the word, meaning shadow lover, is used to describe the people who flock across the globe for a chance to see the moon obscure the sun. Solcyré Burga, TIME, 5 Apr. 2024 To this end, the new generation of morticians (another neologism meant to conjure expertise) bought up shambling Victorian mansions in swish residential districts and invented a new form of comfort. Dan Piepenbring, Harper's Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 The ultra-niche neologism both invites and repels my understanding. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 17 Aug. 2023 After all, even the simplest of idioms was once a neologism vying for recognition. Sam Corbin, New York Times, 9 July 2023 The firm’s name is itself a neologism taken from Uchronie, the title of a book written by 19th-century French philosopher Charles Renouvier, referring to a hypothetical time period of our world. Gay Gassmann, ELLE Decor, 20 Apr. 2023 That wins the award for neologism of the week. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 26 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'neologism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1772, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of neologism was in 1772

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Dictionary Entries Near neologism

Cite this Entry

“Neologism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neologism. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

neologism

noun
ne·​ol·​o·​gism nē-ˈäl-ə-ˌjiz-əm How to pronounce neologism (audio)
: a new word or expression
neologistic adjective

Medical Definition

neologism

noun
ne·​ol·​o·​gism nē-ˈäl-ə-ˌjiz-əm How to pronounce neologism (audio)
: 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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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