I want to use the word staticness but can't find it on a dictionary. I've seen it though been used in my google search.

| improve this question | | | | |
  • 5
    Words are words because people use them and other people understand them. If you use staticness and your audience understands what you mean: congratulations, you've created a word. May it have a long and healthy life. – Dan Bron Jan 17 '15 at 12:42
  • You probably mean 'statics': merriam-webster.com/dictionary/statics?show=0&t=1421498601 – user66974 Jan 17 '15 at 12:44
  • 4
    ...or just stasis, depending on the intended sense. Interestingly, onelook (not really a "dictionary") has nonstaticness, but not staticness. – FumbleFingers Jan 17 '15 at 12:53
  • 2
    Could you please give a few sentences from an article, showing 'staticness' being used. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 17 '15 at 13:18
  • 2
    Odd that no one stopped to ask what the OP means. "Staticness" could be referring to the property of being motionless, to the tendency for an article to stick to your clothing, or for noise on a radio (and probably one or two others). – Hot Licks Jan 17 '15 at 13:44

There are at least two aspects to this question: will people understand what you mean? will native speakers regard you as a competent user of the language? You might be concerned with the first and only the first, or you might be concerned with both.

You have formed a word by analogy with other abstract nouns, tacking -ness on the end of an adjective. That shows an understanding of how English works, and any speaker who knew what the word static meant should understand what staticness meant, at a very basic level.

But since there is already a word, stasis, native speakers (or other fluent speakers) might wonder why you didn't say stasis. Are you trying to distinguish your concept from stasis? Some of your readers/listeners might get side-tracked.

When writing and speaking with the goal of being understood, it's always best to consider the possible effects of departing from the tried-and-true. Understanding is in some respects like water: it leaks out through any opening you give it.

enter image description here

| improve this answer | | | | |
  • 2
    How neatly you sidestep the 'what exactly is a word?' bunfight. But I'm almost tempted to upvote. You address the underlying issues, without getting involved in the terminology disagreement. I feel it's sad though that a loose definition of 'word' confers some sort of acceptability on almost any string that a couple of people have an agreed sense for. These things used to be called codewords. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 17 '15 at 13:38
  • 1
    But how does "stasis" describe the noise I hear on the radio? – Hot Licks Jan 17 '15 at 13:45
  • 2
    That's not noise. That's the sound repentance makes when it's broadcast up to heaven. – TRomano Jan 17 '15 at 13:48
  • 2
    @WS2 - I don't see anywhere where the OP said "adjective". (But then he could have buried a Russian novel in that cat fight of comments and I likely would have missed it.) – Hot Licks Jan 17 '15 at 14:12
  • 1
    @WS2 By the strict, literal, dictionary definition of "static", "static electricity" is a physical impossibility. It's almost as if the person who named it "static electricity" didn't check with the OED first. – Dan Bron Jan 17 '15 at 14:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.