Lately I’ve been excited and curious about the idea of word creation. Oh shut up please. I’m well aware this is yet another dorky pursuit in my nerdy existence.
In particular, I’m absolutely fascinated by a few ideas:
- that words exist in some cultures and not in others. The idea that language is created as needed in particular societies is equal parts exciting and frightening to me. Case in point: Trump’s covfefe
- the dictionary itself is an organic, evolving, highly subjective document which reflects common usage of words across groups of people, rather than a catalog of language created by so called ‘experts’
- that beyond thoughts and behaviour affecting our language, the reverse is also true
I love that cultures have created words for objects, thoughts, feelings and actions that are needed. I love that the Inuit people have over a thousand words for snow. Like many of you, I too, am obsessed with the Danish word hygge and creating a sense of comfort and warmth in my home. On reading one the linked articles above I learnt the word ilunga from the unfamiliar language of Tshiluba means “being ready to forgive a first time, tolerate a second time, but never a third time”.
Discovering words like these feels like finding treasure to me. And of course, being the narcissist I am, it has occurred to me that I too could create my own words for things that exist but are yet to be named. Obviously, I need you all to get on board (all 27 of you) and spread the new lexicon. How amazing would it be to see your own word in the Oxford Dictionary of 2020?!
So here are my new words and definitions:
Sweetbeep: (noun) The sensation one experiences when receiving a text message from someone for whom one has feelings of excitement or attraction
Clungecringe: (noun) The discomfort and anxiety one experiences on viewing an ill-fitting playsuit
Heelspiralling: (verb) Drunkenly, stupidly and unsuccessfully negotiating a ‘going out after’ scenario with reluctant friends whilst leaving a venue
Beverfusion: (noun) Not knowing what to order from the drinks menu
Travidence: (noun) The false and unfounded appearance of knowing what one is doing and where one is going in a foreign country or city (see previous post for more detailed information)
Menopausopay: (collective noun) A group of city women on a weekend away, stalking the homeware shops in a gentrified, adorable country town (Side note: A menopausopay can usually be identified by the utterance of, “Ooh, that looks cute! Can we just have a quick look in here?”)
Sheshame: (noun) The feeling of guilt a woman experiences immediately after bitching about another woman’s appearance.
Caffineedy: (adjective) Used to describe one who desperately hopes to establish a relationship of mutual admiration and respect with their ambivalent, bored-looking barista.
Pharmastalk: (verb) To look through another’s bathroom vanity, particularly in the hope or dread of finding revealing conditions worthy of an episode of Embarrassing Bodies.
Pharmaflage: (verb) To hide all evidence of medical treatments in one’s bathroom vanity which may reveal conditions worthy of an episode of Embarrassing Bodies.
Rantrush: (noun) The physical feeling one gets when on a impassioned roll; reflecting deep self-love and an unfounded belief that one’s words will inspire responses in the listener akin to the battle scene in Braveheart.
So there you have it. Please feel free to leave your own suggestions for new vocabulary in the comments. I feel strongly that the creation of language shouldn’t be left to millenials. So far, from what I can tell, all they’ve managed to contibute is versing (“Who are we versing this weekend, Coach?”), bling, jeggings and totes. I feel strongly that those over thirty with a bit of life experience can do better.