Host Dr. Erica Brozovsky, Ph.D. of the University of Texas at Austin explained on a episode of the PBS series Otherwords, how some very common words that we currently still use in our modern English were invented by some famous authors throughout history.
These words known as nonce words, were created by the authors for a one time usage
The famous authors includes no other than Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dr. Seuss, and of course one of worlds famous authors William Shakespeare.
“Sometimes these single-usage words can pick up steam, becoming neologisms, terms that are still new and limited to certain fields. And perhaps some of those will eventually make their way into our shared vocabulary as full-fledged words, becoming so common that we totally forget their literary origins.”
Some of these words have even been used in corporate settings such as Chaucer’s famous onomatopoeia “twitter”, which describes the manner in which birds communicate. He might be surprised to see that his word has become the most famous for the way humans communicate throughout the world.
“The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, famous for his Canterbury Tales, wanted to describe the light, tremulous call an encaged bird makes as it yearns for freedom, and came up with the onomatopoeia “twitter.” 700 years later, we’re the encaged birds, tweeting our takes into the void.”
William Shakespeare was credited for creating 2000 words that is used in our modern language today. William Shakespeare creativity was more about finding new ways to use words that already existed. With that he formed new words by combining two different words for example bedroom. Another author Sir Walter Scott was indeed the person to create the word scientists while he was busy preparing his 1840 volume ‘The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences’.
Check out the video below to find out what words some of the greatest authors in history came up with and what led them to it.