Monday, 8 February 2016


The other day I was reading over one those build-your-vocabulary lists of words that merit immediate inclusion into common-parlance, and while I did sort of like the idea behind the nomonym (for something which tastes like something else—chicken’s the standard impression, I suppose) I was not so pleased with the rest of the nominees. While they all might be perfectly cromulent terms, they were kind of dark (reflections of anti-social behaviour or hyper-social conditioning) and not surpassingly clever or up-building, I certainly appreciated how the entry directed me to an analysis of the mechanisms behind neologism—that human need to expand our sanctioned lexicon with an annual supplement reaching to a thousand more words to augment the dated and unfashionable. Though whom among English-speakers holds the top-spot as greatest word-smith is subject to much debate, the devices that each of us employ when it comes to invention is rather better known. The most inspired—but probably also the least likely for adoption, are fashioned like nomonym and its class as portmanteaux, overlapping and fusing two separate meanings, from a French type of luggage that opens into equally-sized, separate compartments.