I need a new word or, even better, an old word that I don't know. This gets terribly meta (in a Hofstadter sense) and recursive, so I hope that this makes sense.
The word I need is one that describes a word that embodies a concept. So, for example, a mouse is a small furry rat, but in a lab somewhere, perhaps someone said something like:
"We have invented a pointing device that one holds in the palm of the hand, that is used to move objects around a virtual environment. We need a new [xxx]."
Some additional examples "Our product is installed on our user's machine to supply an obvious function, but generates revenue by serving ads. This is an example of [???],"
"Something that operates at the scale of between 1 to 100 billionth of a metre would be prefixed with [???]"
The above examples (mouse, adware, nano-) are technology-oriented, but I'm not limiting my question to technology. So, for example, the unibrow describes eyebrows that join in the middle.
So, what do we call a word that wraps a series of ideas into one succinct word, allowing for efficient communication? What would this process be called? What I'm looking for is to complete the following sentence:
"This new development is crying out for a [xxx], to call it"
I have come up with the following list, but they really don't quite capture the concept:
- Jargon / colloquialism / idiom - very close and cover some of what I mean. However, jargon has a technical connotation, colloquialism has an informal connotation and idiom has a cultural connotation.
- Name - This might cover a new object, but would feel clumsy for a new process, function or idea.
- Noun - this limits it to a specific grammatical element. What about windsurf (a verb).
- Meme - this felt right, but doesn't quite cover it. So, for example, a mouse isn't a meme.
- Neologism - I really thought this was it, but it only covers the early part of the adoption cycle.
- Signifier, Denotata, sign - these is from linguistics and probably comes closest but I feel that it might have a specific technical usage and I cannot see them becoming common.
- Word - what's wrong with word? I felt that this is too general. I feel that we need another level of abstraction. This really hits at the meta element. What I'm looking for is a word to describe a word that encapsulates an idea. This word would be a specific instance of itself.
Staying with a theme, take an example of meta. Before Hofstadter developed the concept of meta, there was no way of describing "an X about X". Now that we have meta, we can say metaconcept (a concept about concepts), metaphilosophy, metadata and metamathematics. What I need is a metaword.