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The “Craptacular””Trucklet” and other Marketing (Ab)uses of Language

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Marsha Lindsay

Would hula hoop if put in an agency talent show.

DictionaryExpressing oneself has just gotten a lot more fun thanks to folks who are tired with the 1,008,000 words in the English language.

What’s better: Economics of a Married Couple or “Spousonomics”?

A reading of the Wall Street Journal is far more enjoyable when a review of the book that combines economic principles with marriage guidelines bears a title we instantly grasp and appreciate for all its efficiency and meaning: “Spousonomics”.

 

A reviewer of a cross between a small sports car and minivan, “a Trucklet,” creates a term that compels one to read several thousand more words to discover how these fresh creations that add insight and enjoyment. “Insightment”

Standing Out in a Sea of Sameness

Companies like mine frequently have to name new to the world categories, brands and products. It’s high stakes word creation. Once, we were challenged to name a new capital management firm but had to overcome 28,000 names already registered with the SEC.  (Our knowledge of  French sure came in handy.) This spring, as we launch a new kind of fashion eyewear; we’ve created something new out of disparate syllables that fit well and sound exotic and rebellious at the same time.

For both wordsmith professionals and barstool blatherers, new terms are often crafted from combing two existing words. And therein lays the insightment and the fun.

Take:

“Craptacular.” (Something spectacular in its awfulness.)

“Jobfuscate.” (Jobs the instructions of which are so complex and confusing one doesn’t know exactly how to proceed.)

“Trilemma.” (Not just the challenge of two interwoven challenges, but three!) “Eloquascious.”  (You know what I mean.)

Perfecting an Old Practice

The technical term for a newly coined word is “˜neologism’. Evidently around 1772 someone made it up and the French philosophers of the 20th century made careers out if its practice.

Someone else came up with the phrase “˜stunt word’ to describe a neologism designed for special effect. But what neologism isn’t crafted for some version of insightment?

“Truthiness” was so true an insight it’s now a necessary part of our vernacular.  “Titterosity” perfectly describes the economic model of websites like TMZ.

And “Wikipedia” has appropriately spawned Wikileaks, Wikinvest and wherever you see the syllables wiki—instant insightment.

Today’s fast paced world, where we increasingly lack time to think, yet hunger all the more for meaning (“Contemplaciated?”) seems to tap into some innate need for new expressions in an effort to be understood.

What insight do you have that craves a new word to express it? (Post it and perhaps our readers can help.)

 

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