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There are at least three books with the word findability in their title; all of them to be found on Amazon. According to ODE I own, findability does not exist.

Is it a new word? If so, then is it allowed to transform any randomly chosen adjective ending in -able into the noun ending in -ability?

  • To my mind, any adjective ending in -able, -ible can be made into a noun ending in -ability, -ibility. – Anonym Apr 11 '16 at 22:57
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    I think in this age of internet usage, information architecture allows for findibility. – anongoodnurse Apr 11 '16 at 23:02
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    Findability is perfectly acceptable among user interface designers, and was coined because searchability is a different concept in web communications. If your definition of exists is whether or not you can find a corresponding definition in the OED, you'll find a great many words in everyday use by millions of people don't "exist." – choster Apr 11 '16 at 23:41
  • I'm curious: where you've seen this word used, how does the usage differ from "discoverability"? – Chris Bergin Apr 12 '16 at 3:24
  • @ChrisBergin- I'd suggest that findability can refer to the ability to locate something previously known to the finder while discoverability seems only to refer to the ability to become aware of the existence of something. – Jim Apr 12 '16 at 3:49
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Anything is a word if people use it. English does not have an authority on what is or isn't a "real" word. Since "findability" does have attestation, it is a word.

This is totally separate from whether it's a good word, of course. But that usually depends on the context in which you plan to use it.

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In 2013, I attended a meeting with my work group. One announcement my boss made was, more or less: OK guys, findability. If you're gonna be away from your desk for more than a half-hour, put a sticky note on your door.

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  • I'll take this as a definitive demonstration of things that one can say, but probably shouldn't. Cheers! – Rob_Ster Apr 12 '16 at 1:21

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