writing process: The Birth of a New Word

One of the things I love about language is its vitality. Languages are living, evolving organisms (and not static, dead documents like your 5th grade teacher tried to tell you). Language can change. And this is good. I won’t bore you with the linguistics of how “bad” grammar is correct. But I will tell you that the English language, being a mix of many many breeds, has the remarkable ability to accept almost any foreign word and make it feel right at home. While this elasticity is great for global communication, it is even better for writers. It means that we can make words up and they flow into our lexicon without even a stoplight. Just ask Shakespeare.

I love making up new words. To me, it’s like filling in gaps in a giant mural. Where there was only blank space, now there is meaning. It’s an act of creation, and it’s practical. Kind of like making a clay ashtray in art class, but only better.

For example, my friend Amanda & I came up with a new word last week:

Cuggle (v.) : to giggle and cuddle at the same time.
Cuggler (n.): a person who likes to cuggle
Cuggley (adj.): Somebody whose particularly adept at cuggling

Etymology: “Giggle” + Cuddle” = Cuggle; date: 2008

It’s quite a fun combination. You should try the word and action on for size. Tell me what you think. According to Merriam-Webster, the word “cuddle” entered the English language in 1520, it’s high time it gets a tune up. Only you can make this happen. Go forth and cuggle!

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