As a keen fan of Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde, I'm fascinated with words that logically should exist, but don't. A subset of these are referred to as "lost positives", such as "ebriated" referring to someone who is sober. However, there are other types of theoretical words, such as ones where you apply a prefix which isn't normally used, such as "postcarious", which logically means the unfortunate consequence of something being left in a precarious state.

Is there a word/phrase which is used for these words which only exist in theoretical word-space (preferably in British English)?


1 Answer 1


Not sure if it's precisely what you're looking for, but in the 1980's a comedian named Rich Hall coined the word sniglet

an often humorous word made up to describe something for which no dictionary word exists.

Many of the words he made up are portmanteaus not too far from your "theoretical" words that apply (or remove) affixes to existing words.

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