Can’t Find the Right Word? Make Up Your Own!
Although your excuses for finding the right word are limited with the vast possibilities in the English language, sometimes not even a thesaurus has the right fit for that word that’s just what you’re looking for.
So how do you go about this sort of predicament?
Perhaps you can substitute an English word with one from another language that more aptly fits your desired description. But, at the risk of all your readers not knowing it, you’d either have to choose one that’s widely known or include a brief aside to explain it. Widely known is never memorable. And asides can unnecessarily complicate the flow of reading. That leaves us to our own devices. With a little creativity and a bit more boldness, why not make up your own words?
Neologisms have to come from somewhere. Who knows, if they gain enough popularity they could earn a spot in the dictionary. By a similar principle, irregardless, despite its incorrectness (and overall atrociousness), made it into the dictionary as a result of its frequent use. Sigh. If that got by the society that decides on such matters, your undiscovered words may stand a chance too.
If you add your own twist (or a nonexistent suffix or prefix) to an already existing word, you could have something that works. As long as the borrowed elements sound real, you stand a chance of people believing you. If people are asking whether it’s a real word, you’re in the clear. Knowing for sure it’s not is where you’d know you failed. Here are some examples:
You need someone to de-nicify your living room so you don’t appear like you’re trying too hard.
That action movie was brimming with kickassery.
Right before lunchtime, everyone knows not to disturb me, as I am in hangry mode.
Obviously, don’t use such words in serious contexts like business proposals or anything professional. As much as you would break up the monotony of black on white with these vibrant words, you’d also risk not being taken seriously.