neologism

All posts tagged neologism


Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary site has a tool that you can use to find out which words were first used in print in the year you were born. Of course, you can use it to find out which words were first used in print in any year you choose. It doesn’t have to be your birth year. It could be the birth year of your cat, for all they care. Let’s try 1905, the year Albert Einstein published his paper on the photoelectric effect. He got the Nobel prize in Physics for that in 1921.  One of the words for 1905 is pinspotter, which is another word for pinsetteran employee or a mechanical device that spots pins in a bowling alley.  I was a pinsetter in my youth.  Small world, eh?

Let’s try another year. How about 1955, when the world population was 2,755,823,000? Also the year Albert Einstein died, sadly. And the word is: weirdo — a person who is extraordinarily strange or eccentric. I don’t think I’m a person who is extraordinarily strange or eccentric, but I might qualify as a quasi-weirdo.

One more. Let’s go with 2005, when the first ever YouTube video was uploaded. The word: sexting — the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone. Not something I’ve ever done. Count yourself lucky.

Go ahead. Go to the site and try some years. The time you waste will be your own.

rjb

PS That YouTube video from 2005? It was called Me at the Zoo. Eighteen seconds of transcendental wisdom.

Don’t touch those wires! Photo credit: NOAA – Public domain

New Word of the Day – Bombogenesis

Today’s new word of the day — a form of neologism* — is bombogenesis. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, bombogenesis is a noun meaning the development and intensification of a major storm. It comes from the recent tendency to describe a major storm as a “snow bomb” or “weather bomb.” Lisa Suhey has written an article for the Christian Science Monitor that explains the term bombogenesis and a few others, including blizzard. The weather service has been using bombogenesis for a while, and they even have specific criteria for it, including “when a storm’s area of lowest surface pressure experiences a rapid drop of more than 24 millibars in 24 hours.” Her article also clarifies what makes a blizzard, and it’s not just a lot of snow. To qualify as a blizzard, in addition to a lot of snow, there must be wind-driven snow that reduces visibility to zero for more than three hours, with wind greater than 35 MPH (56 KPH.)

*I differentiated “new word” from “neologism” because to get into my New Word of the Day series, the word must be in a dictionary as a new word, while a neologism isn’t necessarily in a dictionary yet. It might have just been invented by a witty punster or a schizophrenic.

Has any of my readers ever lived through a snow bomb?

rjb