neologism


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

A neologism (; from Greek νέο- néo-, “new” and λόγος lógos, “speech, utterance”) is the name for a newly coined term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. Neolexia (“new word”, or the act of creating a new word) is a synonym. The term neologism is first attested in English in 1772, borrowed from French néologisme (1734). Someone who studies neologisms may be called a neologist. Neologists also study cultural and ethnic vernacular. A neologism may also be a new usage of an existing word, sometimes called a semantic extension. This is distinct from a person’s idiolect, one’s unique patterns of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that have meaning only to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This tendency is considered normal in children, but in adults it can be a symptom of psychopathy or a thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia). People with autism also may create neologisms. Additionally, use of neologisms may be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury. In theology, a neologism is a relatively new doctrine (for example, Transcendentalism). In this sense, a neologist is one who proposes either a new doctrine or a new interpretation of source material such as religious texts.