About New Words

The words and phrases presented here have been observed recently in written or spoken English by one of our staff or a special team employed to monitor the language for such neologisms, or new words. Some of them will undoubtedly be short-lived, some will prove popular and eventually make it into our dictionaries – it is very difficult to predict which will do which, particularly because most of these words have only just started appearing. Therefore we present them here, separately from our main dictionaries, for users’ interest and (hopefully) entertainment. Source information, about where the word was read or heard, is usually included with the original context.

These words and phrases can appear in either British or American English, the source information will usually give an indication of this. The entries for these new words are not as fully-featured as those on the Cambridge Dictionary site – for example, there is no pronunciation or grammar information – because it is difficult to give such information with accuracy as the words are still so new in the language.

We make no claims that these words will still be popular in a year’s time, nor do we approve or disapprove them – we leave it up to you to vote with the thumbs-up and thumbs-down.

85 thoughts on “About New Words

  1. vishnugaa

    Thnk u soo much for posting new words. im much interesed in cambridge. These words are so different. so itz interesting to use them. can we use these words casually??

  2. The words and phrases presented here have been observed recently in written or spoken English by one of our staff or a special team employed to monitor the language for such neologisms, or new words. Some of them will undoubtedly be short-lived, some will prove popular and eventually make it into our dictionaries – it is very difficult to predict which will do which, particularly because most of these words have only just started appearing. Therefore we present them here, separately from our main dictionaries, for users’ interest and (hopefully) entertainment. Source information, about where the word was read or heard, is usually included with the original context.

  3. Jerome Richalot

    “The words and phrases presented here have been observed recently in written or spoken English by one of our staff or a special team employed to monitor the language for such neologisms, or new words.”
    Is there any way you could give us insight into this “observation” and/or “monitoring”.
    – Are you actively seeking neologisms ? In the Press for example.
    – What methods (if any) do you use for “monitoring” the appearance of neologisms?
    – Are some sources better than others (I find the Guardian Tech section particularly good in that respect)?
    – Do you know of any newspaper style manual that would have/establish guidelines as to how/when to use neologisms (@GuardianStyle tweeted they did not have any)?

    A lot of questions but the subject is fascinating.

    1. – Yes, we have a small team in the UK and the US who read and mark a range of sources, looking especially for neologisms.

      – The methodology is fairly simple and straightforward: noticing a new word or new use, then checking it against existing dictionaries (in print and online) to see if it’s covered.

      – Different sources obviously cover different subject areas: Celebrity magazines and supermarket tabloids for pop culture, the Guardian, the NY Times, BBC Radio 4 and NPR radio in the US for topical news and business, and so forth.

      – We can’t recommend a source for guidelines as to how and when to use neologisms. It is common practice in may publications to place a term readers might now know in inverted commas and to provide an explanation of what the term means. This is especially true when introducing more technical terminology to a lay audience, but can be used whenever a new term is being mentioned for the first time. Another device is to introduce a new term with ‘so-called’ although there is at least a whiff of disapproval in that approach.

      1. Sharon N. Denson

        I’ve come up with a word out of necessity and have suggested it to several people (approximately 50-60). They have unanimously agreed that it is an excellent word that people would use every day. It is necessary, easy to use and simple in its meaning. This word has the potential of being used world wide. Can you direct me on how to get it out there?

      2. Hi Sharon, you would need to get it used regularly in contemporary English before we would consider adding it to the dictionaries. Suggesting it to friends is a start, but to really get it out there you need to start using it on the internet – in social media, forums etc. If you can get it in such a format that it goes viral (such as a humorous cartoon that people will want to share with friends), it is possible for it to catch on very quickly.

  4. Sharon N. Denson

    Hi and thank you for the answer regarding my new word and how to get it out there. This site is an excellent place to start! I thought of this word while writing “email address”. E-DRESS, pronounced eedress. It would replace the commonly used “email address”, shortening it and thus making it easier and faster to say, type and write. I imagine it could be used in writing and speech around the world. Hey everyone, start using ‘e-dress’ instead of ’email address’! Any comments?

  5. Words are the labels on the objects as outstanding Wittgenstein would put it. Without words verbal communication is not possible. Any new coinage enriches the language.The information on the given site provides with fresh look and helps to keep track of the new formations in Modern English.

  6. Could we say that these are nonce words which wait to be tried in speech to get a strong foothold in the language, thus, turning into neologisms? As R.Barthes remarkably stated ” Nothing enters the language without having been tried in speech, but conversely no speech is possible (that is, fulfills its function of communication) if it is not drawn from the ‘treasure’ of the language.”

  7. Dave

    Is it not important to distinguish between acronyms, which are not words (at least initially), phrases (which are also not words, per se) and actual words? Several of the new words identified I like for example but are not really ‘new words’, thus I have rated them thumbs down as this seems to be what the rating mechanism is for. Or is it? Perhaps ‘new terms’ might be a better title for the service? Or perhaps some identification of what rating a … term … means would be good?

  8. KRISHNAKUMAR G NAIR

    HOWMATH –
    I would like to introduce this word to frame a question.
    eg. Obama is the 45th president of USA.
    Howmath president of USA is Obama?
    It is found that framing of such questions in english is quiet difficult, and there is not a question word for that.

  9. Ebenezer Adu

    you see, it is us humans that observe and make our jugdement, and decisions according to what is happening, or being experienced I presume we dont have a word in our contamporary dictionaries that could describe precisely what your new words have meant, so why not to be accepted and be used.

  10. georgessengupta

    There are two related contexts in which I can’t find good antonyms for ‘avoidant’ or ‘avoidance’ – unsatisfactory candidates include positive, active, proactive and confident. Unpleasant neologisms might include “approachant” and “approachance” .

    In relations with other people , e,g, “her avoidant behaviour was characterized by withdrawing and turning away from others”. “Very friendly” or “sociable” are perhaps the nearest to an adjective that means “open to and actively positive about interactions with other people”, but lack specificity.

    However, this is probably less of a problem than the other sense of characterising goals, e.g. Avoid goals are directed towards avoiding an undesirable outcome, such as “I don’t want to be the last one chosen.” Approach goals are directed towards approaching a desirable outcome, such as “I want to get a First in my degree”.

    It is slightly odd that it is difficult to come up with an adjective that means ‘acting positively towards a desirable outcome’. “He stopped avoiding his dissertation, and displayed a positive and active attitude towards his studies” is fine, but long. “He stopped avoiding his dissertation, behaving in an approach way towards his studies” sounds terrible. “He stopped avoiding his dissertation with approachance” also sounds terrible, but is succinct.

    I would be interested to hear of any really good antonyms for ‘avoidant’ and ‘avoidance’.

  11. I feel like a gifted foreshadower seeing “cultured leather” as a newly crafted word. In my opinion, human fingers will turn first into a leather covered tools and then into even more advanced plastic one`s as a result of all that tapping screens. Please don`t believe that!

  12. In Africa especially Yoruba’s. There is this cultural broom for smoothing unsliced vegetable soup or even herbal teas. In Japan it is called chasee but the Yoruba’s call it ijabe, whisker is an iron so it would not sound right. Therefore “Glisher” can sound neuter to this noun, would love if you can update it.

  13. Ali Ismail

    Dear Sir/Madam

    The English language has been the most successful to ever be used on Earth. It is missing a very important word that is not just “the average noun” or something pointless. Maybe learning about this word would produce reactions that counter the satisfactory way English is looked upon, plus the scientists of Earth would learn new approaches in things like Quantum Physics which will be spoken of below.

    Urdu: Vasei

    Definition: No How

    No method as to How it is done.

    In Quantum Physics there is the ongoing attempt to solve how an electron disappears and reappears around different points of the nuclei. Cause and effect is the accepted theory of mainstream science. Why would a How be the way? Vasei is a very technical way of not only seeing things but things actually happening.

    There are also examples in other collections of information where lengthy explanations are needed to explain metaphors of “the Vasei Occurrence” even for translations in English. Slogans like “Let there be light” and Arabic “Kun Faya Kun” (Allah said “Be” and it was).

    Please start the process of adding this word to English.

    Regards

    Ali Ismail

  14. I should like to thank you for every thing, Because I have been learning very much with the Cambridge dictionary up to now, mainly with the new words who you have been posting, keep on like this because we as not native speakers we are thankful with this.

  15. Clive Timms

    Clive Timms

    For a humorous example of word creation watch the Australian movie ‘Mary and Max’. Max, who lives alone in New York with his cat, suffers autism and anxiety but finds himself in a relationship via letter writing with Mary who lives in Australia. The term used for this was ‘pen pal’ but with the rise of electronic communications is now somewhat archaic. How about the term ‘e-pal’ expressing a long term relationship developed through the exchanging of emails. Also could there be a blog not just for new words but for the resurrection of old words. There are so many wonderful words out there that are no longer used.

  16. Chris Stewart

    New words are a testament to the arbitraryness of our glorious if not befuddled lingua. Also it places emphasis on the constant evolving and dynamic structure of English. We unabashedly incorporate other language dictum into ours where it can enhance our discriptors. As a niggling aside is it a fair and correct statement to assert that Advertising is hedgemony in its most mercenary attitude with economic benefits accompanying notes it.

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