Have you ever thought that a word didn’t exist in the common lexicon, but should? I recently read an article on 13 untranslatable words, and also listened to a radio segment about imported words and how we could replace a few with made-up English versions, and that got me to thinking. Words have often been added to our language after prolonged usage, and words that the younger generation might take for granted (think “defriend,” “flash mob,” or “young adult”) were added to the Oxford English Dictionary as recently as last year. So here are 8 great new words that I think we should add to our shared vocabulary.
8. Sad and Joy
This was a suggestion made by Ralph Keyes, who asked his readers to create English words to replace foreign words that we use instead. “Sad and joy” was suggested as a replacement for schadenfreude.
This came up in a discussion about what to call women, ladies, young ladies, girls, gals, chicas (see what I mean?) who are in their 20′s or 30′s. Twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings is too long, and we wanted an informal title that didn’t have sexist baggage or sound too stilted.
I found this word on a Huffington post blog while researching this article, and out of the 15 made-up words they suggest we start using, I liked it the most. They define Schmoodle (noun) as “a state of over-ornamentation. But almost in a tacky sense. Sch-moo-del.”
Yes, the classic Harry Potter spell that changes something you fear into something funny, so that you lose your fear. Best described as, “the triumph of laughter over fear” – I like the idea though I’m not exactly sure how you would use it in a sentence…
This again comes from the NPR article on replacing foreignisms with new English slang. This would be to replace the word simpatico, and I just liked how Ralph Keyes described it: ”Doughnuts for the kind of warm, sweet feeling that simpatico suggests. So you might say that person’s really doughnuts, in a slangy way.”
Okay, so this actually made it into the Oxford English Dictionary last year, but I had to bring it up, because it’s a great word. In her notes, Katherine Connor Martin—the head of OED’s US Dictionaries—said this about the definition, “Wackadoo and wackadoodle are elaborations of wacky, wack, or wacko, used to refer to people regarded as eccentric. The silliness of the words themselves contributes to their mildly contemptuous effect.”
Suggested word for “pre-Internet” – a time before the Internet. As described in the discussion board on Quora, Curtis Cee explains the word this way: “Literally, nexum is Latin for “the act of binding together”… The Internet era is at its root defined as the age of interconnected networks, including physically wired and wireless, social, informational, and many other types of networks. So the Latin phrase antenexum or ante annos nexum ideally signifies this age before the world became connected.”
1. Hand Slap
This might just be me, but I like saying “hand slap” more than “high five” – I think it could catch on! (If you’re interested in learning about some of the origin stories of the term “high five,” RadioLab does a great segment on it in its episode titled, “Patient Zero.”)
Do you have any suggestions for new words to the English language? Or at least the common lexicon? Share your thoughts – and words – in the comments section!