Regarding Sony’s decision to pull “The Interview” from theaters before it’s Christmas Day release date--which decision was then reversed by Sony at the last minute--Fox News host Megyn Kelly said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (an American talk show) the following:

“I think it is deeply troubling. But the more I think about it the only message back has to be from the American consumer,” Kelly said. “Because what are we going to do, cut off diplomations with North Korea? Oh wait. Are we going to send some sort of stern message to Kim Jong-un that he is going to understand? Probably not.”

Is "diplomations" a coined word possibly used in journalism or in politics? Or did she misspeak the wrong word inadvertently (possibly for "diplomatic relations")?

And here's the link to a news article (including the video) : (The relevant portion starts at about 26 seconds into the video in case you want to watch it.)


The question is not whether "theoretically" the word could be considered to be made up of two existing words "diplomatic" + "relations". In context, you can easily figure out what she meant by that word if you watch her interview.

Before posting the question, I've checked all the dictionaries, slang dictionaries, news articles, Google and whatnot. I could not find a single instance of the word "diplomation(s)" being used. At least not in English.

So the question is really about whether the word is actually in use if only in journalism and/or politics, unbeknownst to all the search that I've done that proved nothing to that effect.

  • 7
    diplomations: ? Portmanteau, diplomatic + relations
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 15:01
  • See also, diplomation in esperanto here: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/diplomation
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 15:04
  • 6
    You need to be careful when analyzing extemporaneous discussions. People often make slips of the tongue like this.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 15:33
  • It's a coined word like ginormous.
    – kns98
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 21:06
  • 3
    FWIW, to me on the tape it just sounds like she misspoke, simply meaning "diplomatic relations". It doesn't sound like she was trying to coin a new word at all.
    – Fraser Orr
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 3:23

5 Answers 5


It's a shortened version of 'Diplomatic Relations', a word that she probably coined on the fly.

Similar to Confuzzled (confused+puzzled) or Segfault (segmentation+fault)

  • I'd go with @DaemonOfTheWest since they're the first one to post an actual answer. Direct quotes during live/unscripted shows can't be relied upon for 100% accuracy. Even edited printed media has to be taken with a grain of salt.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 2:15
  • You say "coined on the fly" and I read "misspoke" unless of course you provide some credible source.
    – JK2
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 11:48
  • coined on the fly, not misspoke. Basically, you intentionally combine two words because you think the audience will know what you mean. It's similar to slang. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 0:18
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_portmanteaus They don't create themselves. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 0:20
  • If you're the only one who is using the "slang", it's not even that. We don't know for sure whether she intended to use that word or she didn't but misspoke. And it actually doesn't matter whether it's intentional or inadvertent error on her part, is it? All that matters is nobody here can prove that that word is in real use among native speakers of English, be it slang, jargon, or informal. If it is not in real use, it's not English. Yet.
    – JK2
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 0:23

I think, even if it was a technical word–only used in small circles e.g. in journalism or in politics–you would still expect it to show up in Google Ngram Viewer, which scans publications.
It does not show up, and therefore it is not, and never has been, a 'living' word.

  • There are numerous "modern" expressions spoken by native speakers that Ngram fails to pick up on. The fact that diplomations is not recorded proves only that editors, journalists etc. have not used this term in the past. Who knows if is journalese jargon used in newsrooms etc. However, it seems "unlikely" at best.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 8:26

The word diplomations does not currently exist in the English language. So it leaves the possibility Kelly misspeaking and intending to use another word, intentionally creating a new term or inadvertently creating a term.

One of the most famous examples from the past few years is Sarah Palin's use of the word refudiate. There's a difference in a speaker explicitly stating, "I think there's a new term for this and I'm going to call it x." Someone might disagree with the term and it may not catch on, but the intent in creating new terminology is explicit.

When it comes to political neologisms, if one uses existing words, the intent is sometimes assumed such as in the case of terms like "Failed State" or "Pro-choice." These are existing words that are combined in their normal meanings to portray a certain political situation or ideology.

For lexicographers creating modern dictionaries, there is always the entire debate of prescriptive vs descriptive. Often English dictionaries are updated with words that have become popular or common. They're less about dictating what correct usage should be.

In the case of Palin, the perception of her intelligence by the English speaking population quite likely influenced the fact that "refudiate" didn't enter the common vernacular. Other presidents have introduced entirely new terms, often inadvertently. An example is the term "belittle" which was coined by Thomas Jefferson.


Diplomatic Relations is a single concept represented by multiple words. I have a feeling the newscaster smushed them together because it was just faster and she deals with it quite often. Kind of like an abbreviation.

  • I guess you wanted this undeleted. If not, just delete it again. You could simply have provided a new answer since the edit was so radical.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 8:34
  • I kind of rethought my answer on the subway :) I was actually going to put in a new answer but the website prompted me to edit the existing one.
    – kns98
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 16:35

There is no word as Diplomation.. there is diploma, diplomatic, diplomacy etc. Kelly is just trying to be inventive. I even got red underline for word Diplomation (meaning error) while typing out this answer to you.

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