Questions tagged [nonce-words]

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Pronouncing “collacon”

What might be the correct pronunciation of the word collacon: KOL.a.kon or KOL.a.son? A collacon being a compilation of brief details related to a subject. Seemingly coined (collection + laconia = ...
10
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2answers
331 views

What is the history of the term “metasyntactic variable”?

Background A metasyntactic variable is a word or term that stands in for something else, typically used when you're describing an overall pattern, and the subject under discussion could have any name ...
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1answer
249 views

What does the word “doofosity” mean?

I have already tried to look up doofosity in many dictionaries but met with no success, so I’m asking here: what is the meaning of doofosity?
8
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5answers
6k views

How common is the term “boondoggle”? And what is its origin?

Even for a country well accustomed to foreign policy boondoggles, it was an impressive body count. Eighty Americans, eight Brits, eight Germans — no French because they'd been boycotting Western ...
0
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1answer
156 views

Can “womenomics” be considered a neologism?

It is not the first time I come cross the term womenomics used to refer to a wider presence of women in the economic activities of a country. In this case it refers to Japan, a country where women ...
-1
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1answer
127 views

Is the word, ‘nerdocracy’ just a nonce word, or becoming current?

I was drawn to the word, ‘nerdocracy’ appearing in an article in New York Times’ TV Watch section under the title, “Start-Ups and Upstarts.” It reads; “There is a relatively new social order ...
4
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1answer
587 views

What is “gilhooley”?

Reading Ellery Queen's The Murderer is a Fox, I came across this passage:- When Fox asked me on the phone to deliver a bottle of 100 aspirins, I said: "Say, Mr Fox, what do you do with that stuff ...
7
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2answers
556 views

What does the enterprise to “feed the duck on Epsom Downs” mean?

There is the following sentence in the ending part of Jeffery Archer’s “The Forth Estate,” which I waded to after months. In the showdown of the media owner Dick Armstrong and Sir Paul Maitland, ...
5
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2answers
3k views

What does “envacuuming” mean?

Here's a passage from the novel, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: They picked their way among the mummied figures. The black skin stretched upon the bones and their faces split and shrunken on their ...
29
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7answers
12k views

Is there a term for words that have a single meaning or are only used in a single context?

Certain words you hear in English are only ever heard in a single context. For example, skirl is used to describe the sound a bagpipe makes. Etymonline generously says the word is "rarely" heard ...