Neologism Examples


A neologism is the creation or use of a new word or expression. Sometimes, neologisms are completely new, and sometimes the writer creates a new expression from previously used words that are used in a new way.

Perhaps the writer most well-known for creating new expressions or words is William Shakespeare. These are some neologisms attributed to Shakespeare.

  • Elbow-used as a verb, as in "to elbow someone"; appeared in King Lear
  • Green-eyed-an adjective referring to jealousy; appeared in The Merchant of Venice
  • Swagger-an adjective or verb describing or referring to a specific way of walking; appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream
Examples of Neologism:

These are some additional examples of neologism from literature.

Lewis Carroll uses many neologisms in his poem "The Jabberwocky."

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Dr. Seuss is also known for creating neologisms. Here is an excerpt from "There's a Wocket in my Pocket"

"Did you ever have the feeling there's a WASKET in your BASKET? Or a NUREAU in your BUREAU?
Or a WOSET in your CLOSET?
Sometimes I feel quite CERTAIN there's a JERTAIN in the CURTAIN.
Sometimes I have the feeling there's a ZLOCK behind the CLOCK.
And that ZELF up on that SHELF! I have talked to him myself.

Neologisms are not always nonsense words, however. Here are some examples of neologisms that have come into existence in an increasingly technological society.

Mouse-referring to a computer device rather than a rodent.

Yahoo!-referring to a search engine rather than an exclamatory expression

Twitter-referring to a social media platform and not chatter or tweeting of birds

Related Links:
Literary Terms Examples