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Archive for the ‘invented words’ Category

Hello,

This week I’m taking a look at a word that isn’t in the dictionary, but should be. If you’re lucky enough to be an aunt or uncle you’ll know how much fun it is to have younger family members without the burden of parental responsibility. I mean, who doesn’t like being the “cool aunty”?

Niblings at play

I’m delighted to have two nephews and four nieces who I’ve watched from babyhood to young adulthood but they do present one problem – a lack of a collective noun like siblings, parents, or children. However there is a good candidate – nibling. This word, first used in the 1951 by Samuel Martin, is the niece & nephew version of sibling and it makes perfect sense. So much so I was sure I’d find it in Webster or the OED, but I was wrong.

In 2004 a group of ten year old school children in Somerset, England began a campaign to raise nibling’s profile but it looks like they haven’t met with success, yet. It has been suggested to Webster in 2014 and maybe if we all start using it, and spreading it around, nibling can still make it.

If you’d like to help you can use these links to suggest nibling to Oxford English Dictionary, Collins Dictionary, Merriam Webster, and Urban Dictionary. In fact, now I know this is possible I am tempted to suggest a plethora of words. Are there any words you would add if you could?

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfoolery,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

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Hello,

Yesterday, the 1st of February, was the first day of spring in Ireland. Unlike most of our near neighbours who declare this on the 1st of March, we like to march to our own drum and celebrate the feast day of St. Brigid (in itself based on earlier fertility and fire goddess stories) and celebrate spring on the same day.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

While the muddy ground today is solid with frost and the puddles are iced, I can see signs of the spring around my garden easily – my daughter’s first ever snowdrop is blooming, the bluebells have their leaves up, and the garlic I planted last November has sprung up almost overnight. It will be some time before temperatures rise further and I’ve yet to spot a lamb in the nearby fields, but certainly something fresh is stirring in the air and even if more winter storms lie ahead, I like the idea that if we believe it is spring, then it is spring.

This week’s word is vernalagnia and it means a romantic mood brought on by spring. I came across it on various online sites including this one.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it in any mainstream dictionaries and I suspect it’s an invented word. Vernal means related to the spring, as in the vernal equinox. Having said that, I rather like it and anybody who takes a springtime walk in the countryside will be well aware of the romantic moods of the wildlife around them. There’s a certain wild urgency to the birdsong for a start.

So until next week, I wish you a romantic spring,

Grace

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Hello,

This week’s word is an invented word. I believe inventing words is the height of wordfoolery. I’ve been reading Terry Pratchett’s “Equal Rites” to my kids (I can see my nine year old daughter turning into a feminist as I read about a girl who isn’t allowed to become a wizard – hurrah!). I read the book many times during my teens but hadn’t touched it in recent years. So it was a surprise to me to discover an invented word – p’ch’zarni’chiwkov – within its pages.

Death, Rincewind and Equal Rites

Death, Rincewind and Equal Rites

No, I don’t have a pronunciation audio link for this one. According to Terry, only stunt linguists (oh I wish I had that on my resume/CV) and the K’turni tribespeople can pronounce this word. I’ll give his own definition for this one as, of course, it doesn’t appear in dictionaries;

“the nasty little sound of a sword being unsheathed right behind one at just the point when one thought one had disposed of one’s enemies.”

I think the world needs this word. Even in a life lived, mostly, without swordplay, I’ve had moments like that – mainly in meetings. I suspect we need to work on standardising the spelling though, and perhaps simplifying the pronunciation.

In other news – I’m delighted to congratulate the winning blog in the Arts & Culture category of the 2014 Blog Awards Ireland – Head Stuff – a group blog which covers literature, history, science, visual arts, humour, music, and film with a variety of contributors. They’re open for submissions, by the way, but I don’t think they are a paying market. You can find the complete list of winners for this year here. I was honoured to be a finalist.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, and LinkedIn or sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

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