Neologisms: What They Are and How To Use Them

Do you know what a neologism is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on neologisms, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What are neologisms?

According to Merriam-Webster, neologisms are new words, usage, or expressions that have been introduced into a language by popular use. This word is also used in psychology and psychiatry to refer to a new word that is coined especially by a person affected with schizophrenia. This is usually a combination of two existing words or a shortening or distortion of an existing word and is meaningless except to the coiner. This type of aphasia could also occur as a symptom of a head injury, stroke, or other brain damage beside the speech of schizophrenics. 

A neologism might come from an abbreviation or acronym, or be a compound of two words, such as the word neologism itself which comes from the Ancient Greek neos (meaning “new”) and “logos” (meaning “word”). Sometimes a common use of a neologism is a portmanteau or blend of two words that are used in new senses. The use of new words is one of the accepted parts of the language evolution. The use of neologisms usually begin in popular use or mass media and become a part of the language over time. These have been invented by authors like William Shakespeare, William GIbson, and Lewis Carroll as well from their plays, novels, and short stories. Some neologisms include seersucker, jabberwocky, nerd, chortle (from snort and chuckle), neuromancer, cyberspace, stranger, and more.

Many different languages also contain words that mean neologisms. You may notice that some of these translations of neologisms look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of neologisms is provided by Word Sense

  •  Esperanto: neologismo‎
  •  Finnish: uudismuodoste‎, uudissana‎
  •  Udmurt: вылькыл‎
  •  Nynorsk: neologisme‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: neologisme‎ (neut.)
  •  Japanese: 新語‎ (しんご, shingo), 新造語‎ (しんぞうご, shinzōgo), 造語‎ (ぞうご, zōgo)
  •  Turkish: yenici deyim‎
  •  Catalan: neologisme‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: neologizm‎ (masc.)
  •  Arabic: مُوَلَّدَة‎ (fem.)
  •  Korean: 신어‎ (新語‎), 신조어‎ (新造語‎)
  •  Manx: noa-ockle‎ (masc.)
  •  Italian: neologismo‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: neologisme‎ (common)
  •  Spanish: neologismo‎ (masc.)
  •  Mandarin: 新詞語‎, 新词语‎ (xīncíyǔ), 新詞‎, 新词‎ (xīncí)
  •  Lithuanian: naujadaras‎ (masc.), neologizmas‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: novotvar‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: νεολογισμός‎ (masc.)
  •  Basque: neologismo‎
  •  Russian: неологи́зм‎ (masc.)
  •  Latvian: jaunvārds‎ (masc.), neoloģisms‎ (masc.)
  •  Faroese: nýggjyrði‎ (neut.)
  •  Romanian: neologism‎ (neut.)
  •  Latin: neologismus‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: neologizmus‎, szóújítás‎
  •  Portuguese: neologismo‎ (masc.)
  •  French: néologisme‎ (masc.)
  •  Bokmål: neologisme‎ (masc.), nyord‎ (neut.)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: neologizam‎ (masc.), novotvorenica‎ (fem.)
  •  Galician: neoloxismo‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Neologismus‎ (masc.)

What are examples of neologisms?

Neologisms can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of neologism lists from Vappingo that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use. 

  •  Escalator
  •  Tweet cred: social standing on Twitter.
  •  Muffin top: This refers to the (often unsightly) roll of fat that appears on top of trousers that feature a low waist.
  •  Granola
  •  Tipex
  •  Racne: Acne located on a woman’s chest.
  •  Metrosexual: A man who dedicates a great deal of time and money to his appearance.
  •  Zipper
  •  Laundromat
  •  Vagjayjay: Slang term for the vagina that was believed to have been coined by Oprah.
  •  Tebowing: description of a prayerful victory stance derived from NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
  •  Chilax: To calm down or relax, it is a slang term used when someone is starting to get uptight about something that is happening.
  •  Unappalin’ – Adjective used to describe a person with a combination of physical attractiveness, ruthless ambition and limited mental capacity.
  •  Examples of Popular Culture Neologisms
  •  Troll: An individual who posts inflammatory, rude, and obnoxious comments to an online community.
  •  Moon-basing – The act of a candidate or surrogate offhandedly proposing a policy so outrageous that it significantly harms the candidate’s electability.
  •  BFF: Stands for best friends forever. Used to state how close you are to another individual.
  •  Noob: Someone who is new to an online community or game.
  •  Google: To use an online search engine as the basis for looking up information on the World Wide Web.
  •  Spam: Flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.
  •  Band-aid
  •  Kleenex
  •  Frisbee
  •  Crowdsourcing: The activity of getting a large group of people to contribute to a project or task, especially by using a website where people can make contributions; for example, online proofreading services.
  •  Santorum – We’ll let you look that one up for yourself.
  •  App: Software application for a smartphone or tablet computer.
  •  Tupperware
  •  Ego surfer:  A person who boosts his ego by searching for his own name on Google and other search engines.
  •  Rickwad – An individual who claims to be a devout Christian but supports policies that indicate otherwise.
  •  Republican’ts – The 49 percent of Republicans who, in a recent survey, were unable to explain the meaning of their party’s initials “GOP.
  •  Xerox
  •  Stitch ‘n’ bitch: A gathering of individuals who chat or gossip while knitting or crocheting.
  •  Geobragging: Repeated status updates noting your location in an attempt to get attention or make other people jealous.
  •  Hoover
  •  Staycation: A vacation at home or in the immediate local area.
  •  Brangelina: used to refer to supercouple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
  •  Mitthead – An individual who constantly changes his political positions to suit his audience and objectives
  •  Aspirin
  •  404: Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error message 404 Not Found, meaning that the requested document could not be located.

Overall, a neologism is a new word.


  1. neologism: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Neologism | Definition of Neologism | Merriam-Webster 
  3. 54 Great Examples of Modern-Day Neologisms | Vappingo