|Saturday, August 31, 2002||
EVERY year thousands of new words enter the dictionaries. Who coins these words? The language user. Once a new word has been coined, it has to appear extensively in print, on the Internet, on the television and in radio broadcasts. And, how will it appear? By filling a specific need, describing a phenomenon for which no other word exists, by being catchy and by catching the eye of the language user. The editor of a dictionary goes through a wide variety of sources in order to consider the inclusion of new words in the latest edition. Often a new word may have been coined or an old word that had been lying dormant may have been activated. So, if you have created a new word, the best way to win posterity for it is to use it repeatedly, making it so well worn that the editor has to acknowledge its existence!
Here are a few words
that got a life through their use by people who are experts in their
fields or are public figures. The word pangaea was coined by the
German meteorologist Alfred Wegener to refer to the hypothetical super
continent that existed in the distant past when all the major
landmasses of the earth were joined. It is made up of the Greek words
pan, meaning all, and gaia, meaning earth. The French naturalist
George Louis Leclerc De Buffon coined Prehensile from the Latin
prehensus, meaning to grasp. Prehensile can be used as an adjective
meaning greedy, capable of grasping or skilled at keen perception or
mental grasp of an idea or concept.
The word nous was a word normally used in an informal context, in the sense of common sense or practical sense. It came from Greek in the late seventeenth century where it was used for mind or intellect. Diana Mitchell used it in Financial Gazette of October 12, 2000, and, almost at once, nous became a word highly acceptable in journals and magazines.
Every big campus would
have a mori gate, a small opening, just adequate for one person to
squeeze through, to be used when the big gates of the campus were closed
for the night. Where did mori come from? Does it mean the hole of Hindi?
Most old cities have a narrow gate leading to a small mohalla. In the
past, this gate was used for making transactions for the sale of horses.
In Turkish, mori is a horse. Voila! The coinage becomes clear.