Neither a borrower nor a lender be‘ (William Shakespeare)

Words, words, words – so many words that we can be sure to run out of choice never. Yet let your words multiply like rabbits. Let them breed, that they may create a new generation of words – bigger, faster and stronger than the last.

Germans don’t create new words – they just stick the old ones together to make sentences without spaces. Until recently (2013), this was a German word: rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. It literally means ‘beef labelling supervision duties delegation law’. In England, we only have one word for this: stupidity!

Concatenation is obviously not what I mean when I say that we should create new words. I am thinking more of words like ‘fleek’. One syllable, easy to pronounce, memorable and with its own unique meaning. It just means (something like) fine and sleek and can refer to anything you like, although it originally referred to eyebrows after a particularly satisfying grooming session. (For the original use of fleek, watch this 13-second video:

So you see – we don’t need to borrow old words and glue them together into new ones. We can create brand new words by taking components of older ones. New words formed by fusing together parts of existing words are known as blends or portmanteau words. Other examples of this are affluenza and labradoodle. I’ll let you work out what they mean.

I’m trying to think of the word for when someone has two words in mind for the same concept, but the brain can’t choose between them quickly enough. For example – instead of saying ‘fast’ or ‘speedy’ one might say ‘feedy’ or even ‘spast’.

When searching for this elusive word, I came across Spoonerisms, which are “verbal errors in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures.” But, amusing though they are, that’s not what I’m looking for.

Nope – I can’t find a technical term for this, but I came across another definition and a great example: “I will combine two words into one because I will be thinking of both words but can’t choose which one to say before I actually say it. For example, I will say “troublems” because I was thinking about saying either “troubles or problems”.

Personally, I think that this is a beautiful way to refresh language and I would love for you to tell me about any examples of this that you may have. Or perhaps you know the proper term for this? Either way, I’d love to hear from you.


6 thoughts on “Loan

  1. You never cease to amuse 🙂 I can’t think of an example right now, but I know I have said the equivalent of “troublems”….saying a word that combines two like contexts…now, I have a feeling that, at some random time, when I least expect it, one of the words will come to me and it will make me laugh (or blurt it out, much to the confusion of the listener. haha). And, I know what a Labradoodle is (also, did you ever hear of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt being referred to as Brangelina?) And, I would guess that affluenza refers to the soul-crushing pursuit of money (affluence) that is reaching epidemic proportions–and, comes at the expense of severed connections as a dog-eat-dog mentality takes centre stage. Looking forward to hearing if I am on the right track…thanks for posting such a thought-provoking post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lewis Carroll Made up a lot of weird words. Vorpal was one and was a kind of sword. Here is the poem it came from:

    Jabberwocky – Poem by Lewis Carroll

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    ‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!’

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought —
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood a while in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One two! One two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    ‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
    He chortled in his joy.

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    Many of the words used were words Lewis Carroll made up. Some of them are used now. I love the he played with words.

    Liked by 1 person

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