New Words

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Have you ever been writing, be it in a story or blog post or even a simple status update on your social media, and type something that gets that annoying little red squiggly line under it?

I do all the time. Mainly, this is attributed to my funky fingers hitting the right keys in the wrong order, the dyslexia in my head that makes me see things in the incorrect order, or just plain not pushing the keys down hard enough. That, or hitting the key next to the one I wanted.

I’m referring to typing here, not writing with a pen.

I never took a typing class in school, so I would fall under the “self-taught” area of entering information by the use of a keyboard. When I type, I have to look at the keyboard. This, of course, means I don’t see the words appearing on the screen, but have to glance up to see what I’ve actually typed and make sure it is what I wanted to say, or write as the case may be.

I have come a long way, though. When I first started on a computer, I had to use one or two fingers, pecking away and searching for where the letters I wanted were. I used to go into chat rooms, which is where I learned a lot of the abbreviations (lol, btw, brb, etc.) used in online conversations. By the time I had typed a reply to a particular posting, I would have to scroll up to see the original topic, while the rest of the group had moved on to other things. Very frustrating.

However

As a writer, I sometimes feel the need to find synonyms (or antonyms if I want the opposing word) to avoid using the same word over and over, thus looking a bit superfluous. I like to visit Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, sometimes on a regular basis, to make sure I’m using the right word, or to see if a word that has the red squiggle really is a word or not. (by the way, I tried looking up synonyms for “word,” but cannot find any that can be used for the actual word “word.”)

I am all for learning new words, As a fellow glossographer, (see also here) we should be in the habit of finding new ways to say what we wish to convey. The problem, for me anyway, is remembering the new words.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, Dictionary.com is a fantastic learning tool. Actually, I think I said, “Dictionary.com (and Thesaurus.com) is my friend.” They have not just definitions, but articles and lists that can help one find obscure words and how-to’s on different subjects.

One such article, I read just this morning.

How To Get a Word into the Dictionary

At the end is a comment section that is overrun with people suggesting words to be added. A lot of them are just plain silly, but there are some good ones.

Now, again, as scripters, we should be wanting our own personal made-up words to be folded into modern vernacular so other people can start using them. Wouldn’t it be great to see or hear something by a celebrity or a complete stranger and be able to say, “I made that word up,” even if no one would believe you?

It could be a fantasy

I’ve thought up some, but recalling them is a different story. One of them, though, is “textversation.” (noun) The act of communicating via text messaging or instant/personal messenger programs, usually involving three or more entries per person. Just a question/answer would not be a textversation, but carrying it further would. I used to, if the recipient sent another message after I considered the subject finished, just call them and have an actual conversation. Times change.

Another word I’ve constructed, I used in my soon-to-be book, Hell’s Beginning. When a  person first comes across the scene of a multiple homicide, they run out and “unswallow” their breakfast. Yes, vomit/regurgitate/spew/hurl/puke... unswallow (verb). This should be a word.

What do you think? Have you ever thought of a particular word, but when you tried to look it up found no reference to it being one? Please, share it with me/us. If we can get enough people to not only use the words, but use them in writing, especially online, we can get our own words put into the English dictionary.

Shakespeare did it, as did Dr. Seuss, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Stephen Colbert. (Who’d a thunk those people would all be mentioned in the same reference, let alone the same sentence?)

We have that same power, as wordsmiths; creators of worlds, peoples, situations and even fantastical races. We can create words that have not been thought of, as long as they don’t sound ridiculous and do have a definite meaning. Sometimes, even if they do sound silly, but on rare occasions, I think.

So, bring on those constructs of the written language. Don’t be shy; leave a reply. Even if it’s a mondegreen or a malapropism.

As always (intended if not specified):

#WriteOn!

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6 thoughts on “Finding New Words

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