"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Friday, 13 February 2009

Neologisms and Retronyms

A neologism is a word, term, or phrase that has been recently created (or "coined"), often to apply to new concepts, to synthesize pre-existing concepts, or to make older terminology sound more contemporary. It may also be an old word used in a new sense.

A retronym is a form of neologism coined for an old object or concept whose original name has come to be used for something else or is no longer adequate. The term clock, for example, was quite adequate to describe a type of timepiece until digital clocks came along. It was then necessary to introduce the word analogue to describe clocks that were not digital.

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