nonce word

noun

Definition of nonce word

: a word (as ringday in “four girls I know have become engaged today: this must be ringday”) coined and used apparently to suit one particular occasion sometimes independently by different writers or speakers but not adopted into use generally Coleridge coined mammonolatry in 1820 as a nonce word I still think I heard it, though so seldom that it had more or less the air of a nonce word— S. T. Byington

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Learn More about nonce word

Statistics for nonce word

Cite this Entry

“Nonce word.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nonce%20word. Accessed 19 January 2020.

Comments on nonce word

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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