Is contentual a proper word? I saw in Wiktionary that it is considered to be a proper word:



Relating to content (as apposed to context)

However, I have not seen it cited in any major dictionaries (Websters, Oxford, Collins etc.).

If the reason it is not in these dictionaries is because the word "contentual" is not considered to be a proper word, why is this so?

  • wiktionary is an utter joke,. Just ignore it.
    – Fattie
    Mar 30 '18 at 23:10

It's in the OED, so I'd say it is a word, albeit not a very common one:

Philos. and Psychol.

Belonging to, or dealing with, content (opp. act or form).

The citations listed are from 1909 to 1962. (I'm not sure when this entry was last updated though.)

  • Does the OED give a date for its first use? I frequently find that what I see as a new word was used by somebody in, say, 1563. But if it strikes me, as a reasonably well read native speaker of English, as new, then it has not been a great success as a word.
    – JeremyC
    Mar 30 '18 at 22:48
  • 1
    Apparently, the mathematician Hilbert has also appropriated the term in a specialist usage. [McLarty; University of Oxford Mathematical Institute.] Mar 30 '18 at 23:19

What is your definition of "a proper word"? It strikes me as a new word, so new that it is unusual. If it is new it is not surprising that it has not made its way into the dictionaries that you mention.

In time it may become a word that we all use without a second thought. But it is not there yet.

So, unless you particularly feel the need for this word, or have a particular liking for it, do not use it. Wait and see. If it serves a useful purpose it may survive. If not, not.

  • Note the difference between this answer, conjecture, and Laurel's, based on a solid reference work (with quote and attribution). Answers on ELU should be more than guesswork / opinion. Mar 30 '18 at 23:00

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