According to Google, the 2nd Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains entries for 171,476 different words in current use. Add to that number 41,156 words categorized as “obsolete”, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,500 derivative sub-entries.
My first point is this: That’s a lot of words.
And my second point is this: It’s still not enough.
The fact is, my love of words is such that the Dictionary simply cannot contain it. Sometimes, there are no existing words that mean just what you wish to say. In such cases, what can one do but make them up?
Roald Dahl, a great friend to me in childhood, was a master at this. In fact, some of his invented words and phrases have even been added to the Oxford English Dictionary (including my personal favorite, scrumdiddlyumptious). I would also advocate for the additions of kiddles, vermicious, dreadly, frumpet, gollup, lickswishy, sickable, and squishous.
My own imagination is not nearly as prodigious as Mr. Dahl’s, of course. But I have come up with 5 words that aren’t in the Dictionary, but should be.
#1. Coughter (noun)
The action of coughing. Laughter is a recognized word. Coughter should be, as well.
#2. Groany (adjective)
When you’re in a grouchy state, and feel like moaning and groaning? Then you’re groany. When you neglect to fill your stomach and it lets you know its displeasure? It’s groany. When a great big old tree creaks in the wind, or a rusty-hinged door is forced open? Groany!
#3. Sensical (adjective)
The opposite of nonsensical. Similar to sensible, but not as stuffy. When one has sense, but also whimsy, one is sensical. I know I’m not alone on this one.
#4. Flutterby (noun)
Superior name for a butterfly. Think about it. What does butterfly even mean? What does butter have to do with colorful winged insects? Flutterby is by far more appropriate, given that fluttering by is 98% of what butterflies actually do.
#5. Papercut (verb)
I know what you’re thinking. Papercut IS a word. Oddly enough, according to Dictionary.com, it is not. I mean, not even as a noun. Something is amiss! And yet what I’m actually suggesting here is the use of papercut as a verb. As in, “Oh, rats. I just papercut myself.” It’s more succinct than, “Oh, rats. I just sliced my finger open on this paper product.” When one has been papercut, one rarely feels verbose.
The tragedy of this omission is almost as painful as a papercut itself…
Miracle Max knows what I’m talking about.
So that’s my list. If you have any of your own, I’d love to hear ’em!
P.S. Yes, I realize there is an apostrophe missing in the graphic above. I am usually better than this. But it’s too much trouble to fix it now.