In his Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien coins the word "glitter" to be a collective noun for elves.

In his books about Wonderland, Louis Carol invents an absolute mountain of words, words like "frabjous," meaning "great, wonderful, fabulous," and "boojum," meaning an especially dangerous variety of "snark," another invented word.

In Star Wars, we have terms like "tie fighter," a kind of spacecraft, and lightsaber, a kind of weapon.

Harry Potter, Star Trek, A Song of Fire and Ice (A Game of Thrones), Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, The Chronicles of Narnia... And the list goes on. These are all similar examples of works that incorporate their own subset of English words, some entirely original and some that alter standard English definitions.

Given that there are so many authors that do this in their works, is there any word that means a special set of words whose definitions are specific to and used by a specific work or works, particularly fiction?

  • Neologism or new coinage? Or portmanteau?
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 6:34
  • 2
    Can you refresh my recollection where glitter is used as a collective nouns for elves?
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 12:29
  • 1
    Having just thumbed through my copy of Lord of the Rings, I found it on page 588. My bad though. Gandalf said the collective noun for elves is "glamour," not "glitter." I remembered wrong. Sorry. Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 6:56

4 Answers 4


- Argot or - Jargon

See this StackExchange discussion of Argot and Jargon: https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/2812/argot-vs-jargon


You may be referring to a lexicon:

A stock of terms used in a particular profession, subject, or style; a vocabulary: the lexicon of surrealist art.

(Linguistics) a list of terms relating to a particular subject

(Linguistics) the vocabulary of a language or of an individual


A neologism is a new word coined by an author or a group of people that either catches on and becomes part of everyone's vocabulary or does not.



  • Great minds think alike?
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 6:35
  • @Rathony: Sometimes, especially when the matter at hand is pretty obvious (to great minds, that is).
    – Ricky
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 6:46

Esoteric - Designed for, or appropriate to, an inner circle of advanced or privileged disciples.

Arcane - Hidden, concealed, secret.

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