Dr Seuss started the word spam

Lewis Carroll and Dr Seuss have contributed many new words to the adult lexicon, such as snark, nerd, and grinch because they had an awareness of the fun-hunger surrounding readers.

In Seuss's book The Tooth Book, Pam the Clam craves "Pizza! Popcorn! Spam!" Spam owes its popularity to Monty Python's Flying Circus that features it in a skit involving Vikings who sit in a cafe singing "Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, lovely Spam, lovely Spam," making it impossible for anyone else to talk. Spam became the go-to term for online junk mail.

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From ‘Scientist’ to ‘Spam,’ the Surprisingly Playful Origins of English Words

time.com

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How the word "scientist" came into being

During an 1833 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, a spirited discussion took place to determine what to call those who worked in the different branches of their profession.

William Whewell suggested the word scientist, an obviously superficial suggestion that could not be considered seriously for a moment. Six decades later, it is still used.

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Many useful words and phrases start as a quip, wisecrack, or throwaway line. Andy Warhol once said that eventually "everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes," but it inspired a useful and lasting expression. Today, the key words "fifteen minutes" refer to a short period in the public eye.

A playful spirit can promote word creation. Hoosegow is more fun to say than jail, and flimflam feels better than swindle. OK began as an inside journalists joke, an abbreviation for the misspelling "oll korrect."

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  • "Software" began as an unserious programmers' antonym of "hardware."
  • "Bluetooth" was a funny name for a wireless system. Bluetooth was a nickname of a tenth-century Scandinavian king with a tooth so decayed it looked blue.
  • "Blog" is a contraction of "web log."
  • Many other words that started as cyber slang are included in the Oxford English Dictionary - for example, "crowdsourcing."
  • Jeff Howe introduced "wired" as a name for online consultation among larger groups.

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During the Sixteenth Congress, representative Felix Walker of Buncombe County, North Carolina, often said that he was "only talking for Buncombe." His earnestness amused his colleagues, who began to use it themselves.

"Talking for Buncombe" morphed into "talking Bunkum" and was shortened to bunk, a synonym for "nonsense." In 1923, William Woodward published a farcical takedown of American business practices as Bunk. A protagonist of Woodward's novel determined to "take the bunk out of things." He became a professional de-bunker.

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Words Without Translation

Certain languages and cultures have words that are hard, or even impossible to translate, as a whole lot of stories and mythology have gone into the particular meaning of the word.

Translating these words does away with the true meaning and intent of the original word.

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Why We Love Untranslatable Words

lithub.com

The word 'robot'
  • 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the entry' robot' into the language.
  • In 1920, Czech writer Karel Čapek wrote a play, R.U.R., or Rossum's Universal Robots. R.U.R. refers to the name of a company devoted to making artificial people where they do the work humans prefer not to do. "You will be free and supreme: you will have no other task, no other work, no other cares than to perfect your own being…"
  • In the play, the utopia doesn't last. In R.U.R.'s wake, the robots revolt, turn on their masters and slaughter everyone on the planet.

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Where does the word 'robot' come from?

sciencefocus.com

Creating words

In times past, when circumstances demanded new ways of expression, it was often female writers who invented new words.

The word 'frustrating' makes its first appearance in print in George Eliot's novel Middlemarch, when she describes "the hampering threadlike pressure of small social conditions, and their frustrating complexity."

Taking inspiration from George Eliot and Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Dorothy Wordsworth, we can find some helpful principles for sculpting a vocabulary to describe the surreal realities in these tense and trying times.

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The women who created a new language

bbc.com