Making it up - Karen Bush
|Are you sure it's only a figment of the imagination?|
A gorgeous botanical drawing of a Triffid by Bryan Poole for the Science Fiction Classics (1998)
Dr Seuss allegedly invented the word ‘nerd’.
Lewis Carroll gave us Jabberwocks, slithy toves and vorpal blades.
And no dinner service is complete without a runcible spoon, courtesy of Edward Lear.
Everyone has heard of robots - a word popularized by Karel Capek in 1920, although he credited his brother Josef with actually inventing it.
Following the discovery of a newly discovered particle called a positron, Isaac Asimov provided his robots with ‘positronic’ brains to help give the stories a more scientific feel, even though he admitted himself that it was a bit of spoofery. It was catchy, sounded right, and stuck, and has been used ever since by other writers - not to mention being incorporated into the names of any number of companies: even non-nerds will have come across the word.
Personally, my favourite invented word is ‘triffid’ from Wyndham’s classic novel.
There are people who have never read this masterpiece yet who routinely refer to plants which are invasive or prickly or otherwise badly behaved, as triffids.
And then there are vampires: the first appearance of the word in English is credited to atravelogue which appeared in 1734, and is probably derived from French or German. But thanks to writers such as Bram Stoker, Anne Rice and most recently Stephenie Meyer, everyone knows what a vampire is.
The Devil may have the best tunes, but whether invented or borrowed, writers definitely have all the best words.
The Great Rosette Robbery
and other stories
With no complicated words at all.