New Words Invented By Famous Writers

Great writers had employed their imagination in coining new expressions that have subsequently gained widespread acceptance.


Credible writers are the ones that can harness their imaginations to create a totally new world for us. Is it then so difficult to understand that they can also be adept at coining new words? Here are some of them that the great writers had invented for themselves but have been adopted by the world at large.




You couldn’t be faulted with thinking that this was a recent coinage. But no. Richard Dawkins invented it way back in 1976, in his celebrated work, ‘The Selfish Gene’.

Extract: “He was constantly dealing with this meme of not being able to close the deal,” Jurkowitz says.




Roald Dahl was the first to mention these small beings which cause mechanical problems in aircraft, in his eponymous book, ‘The Gremlins’.

Extract: Whatever the gremlin was, it wasn’t exactly an auspicious start for a fifty million-mile hop.




Roundabout the time a Herb Caen, a San Francisco journalist came up with this term, both ‘sputnik’, a Russian word was popular. He punched it with, ‘Beat Generation’, a phrase invented by Jack Kerouac, the flag bearer of the beat generation, which was also doing the rounds then.

Extract: He was far, far different than the laughing, beatnik jabbering, youngster he had always seemed.




More relevant now than ever, this taken for granted word was suggested by Walter Scott in his novel, Ivanhoe, where freelancers were militants on hire.

Extract: As a freelance writer, I depend for my living on easy relations with magazines, creative-writing departments, and so on.




The world we are all knee-deep in it now was formalized by William Gibson in one of his sci-fi short stories. It went wide a few years later when he repeated it again in his own novel, ‘Neuromancer’.

Extract: This time Kate didn’t hesitate pressing send and watched her mail vanish from outbox into cyberspace.




If you sense a hint of humour in this entry, it’s probably because, it was a humourist, Lewis Carroll, who coalesced ‘chuckle’ and ‘snort’ into this expression. It’ll be found in Jabberwocky, a poem in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

Extract: They will not actually steal, but they will cheat you every time and chortle over it.




While writing the ‘Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences’, William Whewell lamented the absence of a name to call a person involved with science and promptly birthed, ‘scientist’.

Extract: Skill as a scientist and skill as a writer rarely inhabit the same person, but when they do, the results can be incredible.

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