If you’ve spent any time visiting here, you know that I love words. Even made-up words.
Truth be told, I wholeheartedly embrace the contrived word, the concocted declaration, the made-up phrase, chic slang or cool acronym. I believe they all have a place — indeed, a strong and important place — in life, in business, and in marketing. Frequently fashioned by advertising and marketing creatives, the invented word or words shrewdly utilized can pound home a heckuva point and often get you the props and bling you desire.
Sentence structure use (e.g., noun, verb, adverb, adjective) makes no difference, making it great fun to make up your own words. No one is going to grade you. Language is constantly evolving.
Think about it.
Going Old School
What other than a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom could have delivered the goods with more panache? What else do you call a whatchamacallit? What’s hmm, hmm good? Who didn’t want to be a Pepper? And don’t you think that copacetic is just about the coolest word ever to describe how everything is alright?
If your wife (like mine) is beautimous and you adore her morethanlifeitsownself, you’re a darned lucky man. Perhaps you’ve achieved the treasured state of hacunamatada!
If carefully utilized, “special” words — un-words? — take on meaning in the mind’s eye even if not initially defined. That’s a much sought-after phenomenon for creative marketing and PR types. What’s the Un-Cola? I don’t know exactly where the valley of the jolly (ho, ho, ho) Green Giant is, but his green beans can be found in WestByGodVirginia (amongst other places).
Tell me that you don’t know what’s finger-lickin’ good or that you weren’t expecting lots of drivelspeak as we got closer to the presidential election last winter. You know prezactly what I’m talking about! If someone told you to MacGyverize something, you’d reflexively know to improvise and figure it out, wouldn’t you? Good googamooga, I had a punch-buggy in which the thingamabob regularly required near-ingenious labors on my part to keep it rolling, rolling, rolling (Rawhide!). It was dope! More precisely, it was Fahrvergnugen, which for some reason came to describe the delight of driving a Volkswagen.
The Portmanteau Morph
Some fun un-words are simply combinations of real words — e.g., eloquacious (eloquent and loquacious) and fantabulous (fantastic and fabulous). These are called portmanteau or a portmanteau word, a blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word (see Wikipedia here for interesting origin details). Admittedly less fun portmanteau words but now a part of our lexicon include brunch (breakfast + lunch), Texarkana (the Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana border), and even Microsoft, a portmanteau of microcomputer and software. Similarly, advertorial and infomercial.
Staying old school, other descriptive un-words such as Schweppervescence and Corinthian Leather — both 100% fabricated — launched products to previously unattainable heights and virtually leveled the playing field against market-share competition.
Have fun with your words! If your son was up until o-dark-thirty doing homework, you’d be proud of his sticktuativeness. If he ducked out of the way of chin music on the ball field, you’d jump up and shout, “S’up wit dat?!?” If your boy then skootched up on the plate and cranked the next pitch out of the ballpark, it would be unsportsmanlike, indeed, if he were to do a theatric bat flip upon commencing a veeerrry slow home run trot and direct a “Whosyurdaddy?!?” at the pitcher as he rounded third.
If your company designs the latest and greatest wowzer of a widget, your profits could be gianormous next quarter, and you could well end up controlling your market … yep, the whole kit and caboodle. Sidebar Oops: Someone with a higher pay grade than I christened ginormous a real word.
The Word Stock Grows
Do those offerings not present clear visions to the mind’s eye? As referenced concerning ginormous, the ultimate un-word achievement is when a slang or fabricated word springboards from lexicon to Dictionary.com or the Oxford English Dictionary, each of which annually adds thousands of new entries. Amirite? According to Dictionary.com, amirite is an “informal variant spelling of the phrase ‘am I right’ used to elicit agreement or solidarity at the end of an observation, or used facetiously to undermine or mock the preceding observation.” Someone had to pull those three words together the first time. Our continually changing times combined with top-shelf advertising creatives are fundamental to a dictionary’s updates. Amirite?
New-Word Trivia sidebar: Did you know that the Mission Impossible series, which aired on CBS from September 1966 to March 1973, invented the word “self-destruct”?
Yes … Lordy, I’m picky — check out my preaching here and elsewhere in this blogsite. However, when I note that the right word’s use is essential, I’m not always referring to complementary versus complimentary, ensure versus insure, disburse versus disperse, effect versus affect. If your focus is ratcheting up a business or if you want to touch a sweetheart’s soul or underscore your frustration with a poorly delivered service or scold your local politician, there is a difference between the legitimate, correct word and the perfect word. The latter is the best choice for the situation or the superior pick to describe (and often sell) a product or place emphasis. If everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about or promoting, who’s to say that it’s not a word? If “it” gets to the heart of what makes consumers tick, it’s fair game, as well as great fun.
Soooooo … bottom line? Don’t hesitate to create the words you need to get your audience’s attention. Anyone who disses the use of well-placed, made-up words that effectively get the point across and make folks remember the goods probably believes that Sir Paul McCartney’s best band was Wings.
Addendum from LSomerbyCooke:
You may have some fun exploring: