54 Great Examples of Modern-Day Neologisms

Sign reads: "they haven't invented words yet for what I will do to you"
Neologisms are newly coined terms, words, or phrases, that may be commonly used in everyday life but have yet to be formally accepted as constituting mainstream language. Neologisms represent the evolving nature of the English language. Over time people create new words that express concepts or ideas that were previously expressed using other words or use words that may not have existed at all. Neologisms can be completely new words, new meanings for existing words or new semes in existing words. Here are some examples of neologisms that are finding their way into modern-day English language.


Examples of Social Networking and Technology Neologisms

  1. Google: To use an online search engine as the basis for looking up information on the World Wide Web.
  2. Tweet cred: social standing on Twitter.
  3. 404: Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error message 404 Not Found, meaning that the requested document could not be located.
  4. Crowdsourcing: The activity of getting a large group of people to contribute to a project or task, especially by using a website where people can make contributions; for example, online proofreading services.
  5. Spam: Flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.
  6. Geobragging: Repeated status updates noting your location in an attempt to get attention or make other people jealous.
  7. App: Software application for a smartphone or tablet computer.
  8. Noob: Someone who is new to an online community or game.
  9. Troll: An individual who posts inflammatory, rude, and obnoxious comments to an online community.
  10. Ego surfer:  A person who boosts his ego by searching for his own name on Google and other search engines.

Examples of Popular Culture Neologisms

  1. Tebowing: description of a prayerful victory stance derived from NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
  2. Brangelina: used to refer to supercouple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
  3. Metrosexual: A man who dedicates a great deal of time and money to his appearance.
  4. Muffin top: This refers to the (often unsightly) roll of fat that appears on top of trousers that feature a low waist.
  5. Stitch ‘n’ bitch: A gathering of individuals who chat or gossip while knitting or crocheting.
  6. BFF: Stands for best friends forever. Used to state how close you are to another individual.
  7. Vagjayjay: Slang term for the vagina that was believed to have been coined by Oprah.
  8. Chilax: To calm down or relax, it is a slang term used when someone is starting to get uptight about something that is happening.
  9. Racne: Acne located on a woman’s chest.
  10. Staycation: A vacation at home or in the immediate local area.

Trademarks That are Genericized

Brand names or Words that were created especially for advertising and PR campaigns that are now used generically. These are sometimes also referred to as generonyms (a neologism in itself):
  1. Aspirin
  2. Hoover
  3. Laundromat
  4. Band-aid
  5. Kleenex
  6. Frisbee
  7. Tipex
  8. Xerox
  9. Tupperware
  10. Escalator
  11. Granola
  12. Zipper

2012 U.S. Election Campaign Neologisms

  1. Republican’ts – The 49 percent of Republicans who, in a recent survey, were unable to explain the meaning of their party’s initials “GOP.
  2. Mitthead – An individual who constantly changes his political positions to suit his audience and objectives,”
  3. Moon-basing – The act of a candidate or surrogate offhandedly proposing a policy so outrageous that it significantly harms the candidate’s electability.
  4. Santorum – We’ll let you look that one up for yourself.
  5. Unappalin’ – Adjective used to describe a person with a combination of physical attractiveness, ruthless ambition and limited mental capacity.
  6. Rickwad – An individual who claims to be a devout Christian but supports policies that indicate otherwise.

The Washington Post Neologism Competition

Every year The Washington Post runs an annual competition in which the readers of the newspaper are asked to submit alternative meanings to existing words. The results are often extremely amusing. Here are examples of  Washington Post neologisms:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly
answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulance (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over
by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that when you die, your Soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.


Have you come across any great neologisms? Leave a comment and share them with us all!

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41 thoughts on “54 Great Examples of Modern-Day Neologisms”

  1. bellycose  = bellicose with all one’s guts in it
    shamebles = (a) shambles (disarray) involving shame.
    maganimouse, one who’s the means but is anything but
    polterheist = a robberydone by ghostly figures
    These are my neos.

  2. Proving that no one is immune from errors, even proofreading professionals, I think you mean ‘Stitch ‘n’ bitch’ (as opposed to your ‘Stich ‘n bitch’ with its two errors).  Now, if Muphry’s Law is at work, there’s undoubtedly an error in this comment.

  3. Who would be the best person on your team to talk with concerning listing brending as a neologism. Every time we try to do it wiki they came we are promoting our invention. ®©™Brending was invented on #March_9th_2012 during a phone call between “Johnny & Marko”

  4. petance OR pettance

    The word is a combination of PET and ROMANCE. ROMANCE doesn’t always mean coupling romance, but can mean love or the subject of love, beauty, pageantry and the like.

    1. an obsession with pets or animals–specif. that gets in the way of priorities and rational thinking or decision making. 2. a love for pets or animals that is more than one loves some people. 3. the very taboo subject of using pets or animals as lovers or sex objects. 4. An act or instance of these. SENTENCES FOR petance OR pettance from the 4 definitions:

    1. After their kids left home, they developed a PETANCE with strays and it became a hoard and utter filthiness.

    2. Can PETTANCE be a justifiable practice, when a given person has some people that they hate, that they are disgusted by, or that are met with indifference?

    3. Who knows if pet solidarity is actually PETANCE(as the signs are overtly there–romantic gestures and the like) or a bridge that may widely become that in subsequent years?

    4. He bypasses poor people on the street, but his pets are “showered” with PETANCES inside the home.

  5. There is a void in expression that would be filled with the word. Think there are animal hoarders; animal sodomy; people who cannot function for animals; people who gamble with their family structures; people who hate/are disgusted by others; etc., but animals are their kings/queens or princes/princesses. WORDS ARE ALL ABOUT EXPRESSION AND ITS USE IS LONG OVERDUE!

  6. Another set of neos–

    vitrical–since novercal[based on the same origin(s) in which the stepmother phobia comes from] exists, vitrical[uses the same logic as the word “novercal” but is for stepfather] should exist, too. For any questions, look up the phobias for each.

    vitrical(VIT-TRIK-KUL) ADJ – befitting or like a stepfather.
    A VITRICAL babysitter is not something that you see too often(esp. if they are not kin)–probably due to a man’s strength and imposing qualities; you often see the novercal kind–probably due to a woman being perceived to be the opposite of a man.

    laserous(LAEZ-ZUR-RUSS) ADJ – 1. somehow like a laser–hyper fast and/or smoothly cutting. 2. being substanially more advanced than something else(in much the same way that lasers were to anything before that falls in line with what lasers are used for.

    Microwaves use laserous cooking, but are not as flexible as stoves and cannot be used for everything.

    Man cannot travel at LASEROUS speeds–either physically or mechanically(as science exists now)–because our bodies are very finite and can not handle it.

    The job requires LASEROUS cuts and mechanical saws will not “cut” it.

    People have wondered when society would become as LASEROUS as the Jetsons, but that’s only fantasy world and we may never get there(although we have made some great strides).

  7. The word “tribes” has a new dimension thanks to social media. I have created a word which is similar to that usage of “tribes”. However, my word also implies, suggests or hopes for a real world connection as well as an online one. My word is derived from the following words: ‘computer’ and kampung. “Kampung” is the Malay word for ‘village’. The word I have created is “compung”, meaning a group of people who are connected online and offline.

  8. Your election examples are one-sided. Where is “killary” – to bleach evidence of your crimes, or “obamization” – the government takeover of an industry that leads to the immediate scarcity/surplus that controlled economies create, or “biden-it” – to destroy something with stupidity? Although, like someone else pointed out, these are more examples of a portmanteau.

  9. These terms were in the lexicon then, and they’re still in use now.

    Pro tip: Try not to roll your eyes every time you are exposed to a different opinion or worldview, because when your eyes are looking up like that, you cant see what’s right under your nose – JustSayin

  10. Paradigm: a nickel short of a quarter
    Misrepresent: (mis-re-PRE-zent): regifting to the wrong person
    Tumbleweed: any fall suffered as a result of smoking to much cannibis

  11. Don’t get half of these. There are millions of words and expression out there that already exist, why not use them instead of coming up with mediocre half-assed attempts ? Oh right, learning = making an effort, something that lazy self entitled millenials are literally incapable of doing. I take it all back, go ahead and butcher the language because you don’t feel like opening a book.

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  13. Other “generonyms:”
    Baggies, Bactine, Chapstick, Dustbuster, Davenport (Chesterfield in Canada?), iphone?, Jello, Levis, Magic Marker, Post-its, Q-tip, Scotch tape, Tampax, Tylenol, Victrola. Australian: Victa (rotary lawn mowers); Hills Hoist (Rotary Clothes Hoists)

  14. Rachel Maddow once used “Omentum”, trying to cleverly coin a new term for Obama’s momentum at the time. Turns out an omentum is really a body part.

  15. Some of these examples were clearly a joke. The serious neologisms are not as useless. If instead of shi***g on the completely natural process of language evolution you pay attention to the words and phrases you use, you will notice that even your vocabulary once was a neologism. Every word we use comes from the need of describing something or someone. So, at one point, everything we say was a neologism before the English dictionary accepted it as part of the English language.

  16. Nibling! Its the gender nonspecific term for nieces and nephews. Nibling is to nieces and nephews as sibling is to brothers and sisters.

  17. Idiocraty? Did you mean “idiocracy” or are you trying to introduce your own unneeded neologism?

    Way to go on an anger tirade aimed at an entire generation, Mr./Ms. Idiocraty, while violating multiple grammar and punctuation rules. You really like those commas, huh?Nothing like showing the internet how much better at English you are than everyone else by butchering it up a bit yourself.

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