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From French néologisme, from Ancient Greek νέος (néos, new) + λόγος (lógos, word).


  • IPA(key): /niːˈɒlədʒɪzəm/


neologism (countable and uncountable, plural neologisms)

  1. (linguistics, lexicography, countable) A word or phrase which has recently been coined; a new word or phrase.
    Synonym: coinage
  2. (linguistics, uncountable) The act or instance of coining, or uttering a new word.
  3. (psychiatry) The newly coined, meaningless words or phrases of someone with a psychosis, usually schizophrenia.
  4. The introduction of new doctrine, for example in theology.

Usage notesEdit

  • There is no precise moment when a word stops being "new", but 15–20 years is a common cutoff (corresponding to one generation growing up potentially familiar with the word, depending on how common it is). Acceptance of a word as valid by dictionaries or by a significant portion of the population are sometimes mentioned as additional conditions. Some neologisms become widespread and standard (such as new chemical element names), others remain rare or slangy. (Distinguish from protologisms, coinages which have not become common.)


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See alsoEdit


  • The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style. Bryan A. Garner. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. 21 June 2006
  • The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.