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When does a word become a ‘word’?

Someone in work asked about the welfare of my girlfriend, to which I replied "She's fine, a little be-gruntled but fine." People knew what I meant, although on reflection perhaps I should have said disgruntled? I'm just wondering why I said it this way, was I improperly abbreviating *to be disgruntled"?

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marked as duplicate by Mitch, MετάEd, tchrist, Cerberus, waiwai933 Dec 19 '12 at 5:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Maybe, it is a word after all. be- + (dis)gruntle not be- + gruntle -- "Begruntle is a word that means to disconcert or to render something to be uneasy." uk.ask.com/what-is/what_is_the_definition_of_begruntle – Kris Dec 18 '12 at 12:53
Can you please explain what you mean by asking whether something is “a word”, or that it is not “a word”? You used it. People knew what you meant. Thus, it is a word. Therefore, you must be asking some other question here, but what is that? – tchrist Dec 18 '12 at 17:44
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you meant she was in ill humour, then the word is disgruntled. If be-gruntled meant anything at all, it would mean that she had become gruntled. (Only writers of the stature of PG Wodehouse have much of a chance of having their neologisms widely adopted, as he did by creating gruntled as a back-formation from disgruntled.)

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