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Perfectly Cromulent Word

A character quotes a seemingly made-up word that no one has ever heard of before then. This is usually a word the writer just made up, but is occasionally a real obscure, archaic, or obsolete word; for instance, 400 years before we had computers, we had email, which is a raised or embossed image pressed into metal.

A type of Neologism, of which Scrabble Babble is a subtrope. Some examples are another form of Malaproper. See also Delusions of Eloquence and Informed Obscenity. Not to be confused with Buffy Speak which is a lack of nuance and sometimes making new compound words, not entirely new words.

Named for the above-quoted exchange from an episode of The Simpsons. (Incidentally, the word embiggen was later used in a completely cromulent paper on string theory. It's on pages 28 and 31 here). It has also recently been added to webster's dictionary.

Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Koodo Mobile's newest ad campaign centers around made-up words of varying levels of cromulence, such as "Thumbactionist", "Tabrific", "Bigbillification", and other things that sound like they came out of an ad campaign in 1984.
    • A few years ago, a car ad in the UK was very similar, but exclusively picked two (often opposed) words, and mashed them together- "Sporty" and "Safe" became "Spafe", for instance. Richard Hammond deemed this to be a load of shiny and bright.
  • A Green Lantern themed cell phone commercial describes its Internet surfing as "faster-er."
    "That isn't a real word!"
    "It came out of my mouth, didn't it?"

    Comics 
  • Skank Zero Hopeless-Savage's (of the Hopeless Savages comic series) vocabulary is comprised of many of these. Luckily, there is a glossary in the back of the collected volume (as Zero says "some of my best words are friends.") Swerval.
  • Destrucity, foked, skronk, and jet-jack. Although skronk could possibly be an onomatopoeia.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • Jay from The View Askewniverse likes to use the word "Snoogans" as his "I agree" catchphrase.
  • Chass Michael Michaels from Blades of Glory offers the word "Mind-bottling", which may or may not be a limited vocabulary version of "Mind-boggling".
  • Mary Poppins gave us "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang used "phantasmagorical" in a similar way, although that word actually dates to the turn of the 19th century.
  • In Woody Allen's Husbands And Wives, Rain admits she couldn't find a word to describe a character, so she made one up ("epucious").
    • In Sleeper, Diane Keaton's character describes a friend's painting as "pure keane. No, it's greater than keane...it's cugat." (The made-up words are a Shout-Out to '60s schlock artist Walter Keane and bandleader-turned-cartoonist Xavier Cugat, respectively.)
  • From Kung Pow! Enter the Fist
    The Chosen One: Killing is bad. And wrong. There should be a stronger word for killing, like BADWRONG, or BADONG. Yes, killing is BADONG. From now on I shall stand for the opposite of killing; GNODAB.
  • A few minutes into The Bachelor and the Bobby-soxer, servant Bessie tries to wake up one of her charges:
    Susan: Just five more minutes, Bessie.
    Bessie: No, ma'am, now!
    Susan: But Bessie, I feel absolutely sklonklish.
  • Cannibal The Musical has "shpadoinkle", a word used repeatedly by different characters in wildly inconsistent contexts. The word was originally used as a placeholder in the lyrics of one of the songs until Trey Parker decided that it was funnier to leave the nonsense word in, and it became a Running Gag.
  • Team America: World Police has variations on "valmorphanize" (e.g. "valmorify") which is used by characters to describe every bit of Applied Phlebotinum in the film.

    Literature 
  • The most famous example of this is "Jabberwocky", almost completely made up of nonsense words. However, some nonsense words became real words. (See: vorpal, chortle.)
  • Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce is completely written in this way, making it almost unintelligible. Reading the book will take you no less than a decade, so explaining why is so cromulent is an overall exercise in futility.
  • Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar used this technique, including the proper choice of onomatopoeic inventions, in chapter 68 of his novel Rayuela. Trying to interpret the meaning won't get you anywhere but if you pay attention to the rhythm and the sounds, you can easily notice that the scene describes a sex encounter between the two main characters. Also used in the short story "La inmiscusión terrupta" from Historias de Cronopios y de Famas.
  • Frindle is based completely around the protagonist making up a new word and trying to make it catch on. It means "pen."
  • In Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, the first hint that a civilization has been taken over by the Blight is that words like "armiphlage" and "clenirations" (representing concepts the translator AI can't handle) start creeping into its newsgroup postings.
  • H.P. Lovecraft occasionally used words that, while real, were so archaic and obscure that they seem to fit this trope. Chief among these is "skyey" from The Colour Out of Space.
    • An even better example is "non-euclidean". It is a perfectly normal word referring to geometry and not at all related to sanity-breaking monster from beyond the stars.
    • Except that it is being used in the geometric sense. Stories such as The Dreams in the Witch House and (to a degree) The Dunwich horror begin to explain this, which is the primary reason for most of Lovecraft's work being categorised as science-fiction.
  • In that it was a word before its popularization, albeit with a different meaning (beatnik slang for marijuana), J. K. Rowling's use of the word "Muggles" in Harry Potter fits here. Having said that, "Muggle" became one of the more important terms in the series' mythology, as opposed to being a throwaway gag.
  • Gene Wolfe, in the Book of the New Sun, uses a very large number of such words, mostly archaisms referring to things of the distant future for which our current language doesn't have proper words. "Destrier," an old word for an armored knight's horse, is used for a bio-engineered creature that runs fast enough to allow successful cavalry charges against enemies with "high-energy armament."
    • Another example used throughout the tetralogy is Fuligin; it's a color darker than black. So there is one more black. As the series closes we learn of 'argent' - the colour purer than white.
    He (Master Gurloes) mispronounced quite common words: urticate, salpinx, bordereau.
    (translation: string with nettles, the fallopian or eustachian tube, a memorandum listing documents)
  • Roald Dahl's The BFG. And how! (By the way, don't try the snozzcumbers.)
  • Pippi Longstocking once made up such a nice new word that she spent the rest of that chapter trying to find out what it could mean. She decided it's a beetle.
    • In the original Swedish, this word was "spunk", which isn't a Swedish word. In English it's "spink".
  • Douglas Adams invented some "hitchhiker slang" for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, such as "sass" (know, be aware of, have sex with), "hoopy" (really together guy) and "frood" (really amazingly together guy).
  • Spinfer, Falshed's smarmy Hyper Competent Sidekick in Welkin Weasels, was described as "smooling" into a room. The narrator gives this a Lampshade Hanging with: "This is not a real word, but describes the action perfectly."
  • Redwall's babies and toddlers are known as "Dibbuns". Brian Jacques was asked if this was an actual British regional slang term, and he said that it's actually just a nonsense word which sounded appropriately cute.
  • The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series has an entire vocabulary of this. From all of their curse words to terms for weather (including "baggywrinkles"), the books are full of this.
  • Edward Lear invented the adjective "runcible" to provide extra syllables in his poetic writings. "Runcible spoon" (from "The Owl and the Pussycat") is now defined in dictionaries. It resembles an extremely large silver spork.
  • John Milton (author of Paradise Lost) possibly surpasses Shakespeare's inventiveness (more about that under "Theatre"); careful research suggests that he introduced six hundred and thirty words into the English Language.
  • P. G. Wodehouse created a number of characters too foolish to restrict themselves to proper English, most notably Bertram Wooster. He comments once upon seeing Gussie Fink-Nottle, "I had described him then as disgruntled, and it appeared that the passage of time had done nothing to gruntle him." On another occasion, he praises Jeeves' remarkable ability to 'disimbrogle' any imbroglio.
    • Although he uses the word incorrectly, "gruntled" is a word, but "disgruntled" means "very gruntled", not "not gruntled". "Gruntle" simply means "grunt".
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land used "grok" to mean "to drink", "to consume", and a third sense peculiar to Martian philosophy about "knowing something in its entirety, and grasping the true essence thereof". Later became a common slang term in the geek community.

    Live Action TV 
  • Blackadder trying to confuse the writer of a well-known dictionary:
    Dr. Samuel Johnson: [places two manuscripts on the table, but picks up the top one] Here it is, sir. The very cornerstone of English scholarship. This book, sir, contains every word in our beloved language.
    Blackadder: Every single one, sir?
    Dr. Samuel Johnson: Every single word, sir!
    Blackadder: Oh, well, in that case, sir, I hope you will not object if I also offer the Doctor my most enthusiastic contrafribularities.
    Dr. Samuel Johnson: What?
    Blackadder: "Contrafribularities", sir? It is a common word down our way.
    Dr. Samuel Johnson: Damn! [writes in the book]
    Blackadder: Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation.
    • He later goes ballistic when he realises that Baldrick knows a word that's not in the dictionary, namely "sausage".
    • Oh, and Blackadder mentions another Johnson forgot: "aardvark".
    • "I shall return...interfrastically."
  • iCarly: In "iAm Your Biggest Fan", Carly tells Mandy that they need "fladoodles" for their web show just to get her off their backs. Sam asks what it is, but Carly says that she just made it up.
  • Friends:
    Joey: If he doesn't like you, this is all a moo point.
    Rachel: Huh. A moo point?
    Joey: Yeah, it's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo.
    Rachel: Have I been living with him for too long, or did that all just make sense?
    • In an earlier episode, Chandler, bemoaning his pickiness with women, once mentioned he broke up with a girl for (mis)pronouncing a word, "supposebly" (meant to be "supposedly".) The incorrect version seems to stick with Joey, though.
  • In Will and Grace, Grace says "I'm spramped if I do, I'm spramped if I don't!" and Jack corrects her on her usage. This is a reference to Jack's Kwyjibo earlier in the episode.
    • "Spramped" has since become a "real" word, meaning splashing a liquid up against a surface, creating foam and turbulence. For instance, the tradition of tossing a bucket of water against someone's face, or waves hitting a cliff face.
  • In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, the word "splunge" is coined by frightened screenwriters to provide temporary respite from tyrannical Hollywood producer Irving C. Saltzberg. It means, "It's a great idea, but possibly not, and I'm not being indecisive!"
  • Saturday Night Live
    • In a sketch parodying Inside The Actors Studio, Will Ferrell (impersonating James Lipton) describes Charles Nelson Reilly's (Alec Baldwin) performance as so great that no word in English can do it justice, and that he must invent a new word right now to properly convey its greatness: Scrumtrulescence. The performance was scrumtrulescent. Xzibit has gone on to use this word in episodes of Pimp My Ride.
    • Spoofing Bush's supposed lack of intelligence (even if the sketch is from before his first election): the mediator of the Gore-Bush debate asks them for a one-word "best argument for the campaign". Bush's one is "Strategerie". In a joking Take That at his critics, Bush and other members of his administration continued to drop the word "strategery" into public statements, and it was used as the title of a book about the President which depicted a disconnect between his shrewd political savvy as represented in the book, and his bumbling buffoonery as represented by his enemies.
  • Just Shoot Me!: Finch and Eliot replace Nina's word-a-day calendar with one filled with Perfectly Cromulent Words right before she goes for a radio interview, in which she uses them all. Link here.
    • The word "ass-tastic" is apparently common in their magazine.
  • Look Around You: Spoofs the wealth of jargon found in the world of science by making up a host of new words, including fictitious chemicals ("bumcivilian", "segnomin"), laboratory equipment ("Besselheim plate", "gribbin"), units of measurement ("billigram", "quorums per second") and many more.
  • Not the Nine O'Clock News: Gerald, the Talking Gorilla. Uses term 'Flange' for the collective noun of baboons. This one made it to the Ask Oxford website.
  • Veronicas Closet: One of the characters makes up the word "acribitzed" (synonym for "went up" or "increased"), then drops it in an article hoping that it will take off. It does.
  • NewsRadio: Beth also invents a word to see if it will catch on ("If my boyfriend acted like that, I would go absolutely bitchcakes"). By the end of the episode, the radio station's owner, Jimmy James, is using it. Perversely, the word actually did catch on, in a small way, in the real world: it's in the Urban Dictionary and everything.
    • There's also the word "gazzizza". It's kind of like a street "aloha"
  • On its inaugural show, The Colbert Report created and defined the word "truthiness" (defining reality by what feels in your gut like it should be true, rather than what is actually true.) which went on to become a runaway hit, starting with getting chosen as the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year for 2005. Some of its popularity was almost certainly because of its usefulness in describing the policies of the then-current administration.
    • Also, wikiality: the concept that something is taken to be true if enough people think it is.
  • On The Cosby Show, Rudy invented the word zrbrt: to kiss someone on the cheek while blowing a raspberry. Rudy invented the spelling (at random). Cliff invented the definition.
  • Deadliest Catch gives us ''Crabalanche'' which is what you get when you dump a freshly retrieved container filled with crab onto the sorting table.
  • You Have Been Watching:
    Charlie Brooker: I used up every negative word known to man to describe John Barrowman's 'Tonights the Night' so when 'Totally Saturday' came along I was forced to invent the word 'Shittifying'
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode The Fifth Race, Jack begins using seemingly made-up words, albeit without realizing he is doing so. As it turns out, he's speaking Ancient.
  • 30 Rock: Jack Donaghy coined the term "innoventually" during 24 straight hours of successful problem-solving (referred to, by him of course, as "Reaganing"). Of course, at the very last moment, his Reaganing (which would have been rewarded with a shower of lavish gifts) was rendered moot by his inability to solve Liz Lemon's intimacy problem... at least not until after the 24 hours had elapsed. It Makes Sense in Context... the Reaganing, not "innoventually".
    • Also, "Whuck...?" from Liz.
      • Another one from Liz: snart, a simultaneous sneeze and fart.
      • Snart may also mean to unsuccessfully suppress a cough, only to have it come out one's nose (typically with a cloud of smoke.)
  • In the final episode of Ashes to Ashes, Gene Hunt declares that he can transfer Alex Drake from CID because she is "causing disconsternation amongst her male colleagues." To which Alex immediately replies that "Disconsternation is not a word."
  • On Mr. Show, a character was introduced as "Edmund Premington is a hunter, an explorer, a novelist, and an adventurer; a travelliare, an explorist, and a noveller."
  • On The Sarah Silverman Program, in the episode "Kangamangus", Sarah tries to coin a new word and comes up with "ozay" (hard to define, but when you just feel...ozay). Her attempts to popularize it pale next to the organic spread of "dotnose", which Brian comes up with accidentally when Steve is so stubborn that he won't acknowledge a marker dot on his own nose despite everyone mentioning it. Others find "dotnose" offensive for no particular reason (other than that it sounds insulting), and at a dictionary induction ceremony, Brian and Steve are threatened with the "kangamangus" (a very specific physical retribution).
  • On an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall says he's been using made up words to avoid lying to Lily. "Are you going to quit and work for the NRDC?" "Absatively!"
    • "The Possimpible": Nexus between the Possible and the Impossible.
  • In the Escape Slide Parachute episode of MythBusters, the word "criminy" (uttered by Adam) gets this treatment by the narrator, who assumes that Adam just made the word up. ("Criminy" is an actual word, if rather old.)
    • The narrator would have known this if he had watched a single episode of Hey Arnold!, where Helga said this word so frequently as to really make it her own.
  • In Hustle, Mickey and Emma have a long debate over whether 'stickability' is a word. Mickey insists that if it isn't, then it should be.
  • Fans of Star Trek have created a dictionary of perfectly romulan words.
  • A common occurrence in A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
  • Victorious-"Oh my God, she's having heart confarctions!!"
  • The Vicar of Dibley: Jim and Frank come over, interrupting Geraldine's rendezvous with David's brother (long story). They have a crossword question. She makes up the word "ploddipop" to get them out of the house.
  • M*A*S*H
    • One episode has Hawkeye imitating Charles Winchester on the telephone, employing the latter's typical Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. At one point he uses the word "sidacious", then covers the receiver with his hand and admits to B.J. and Klinger that he just made it up.
    • In another episode, Charles has to deal with a wounded GI who moonlights as a securities salesman and keeps pestering the other patients in post-op. He finally shuts the guy up by telling him he's damaged his "latrickium" and is in danger of permanently losing his voice if he doesn't go 48 hours without talking.
  • One bit on The Daily Show parodied a string of recent corporate mergers by having correspondent John Hodgman "merge" with Merriam-Webster to produce a new dictionary, with words like "greeb" (greed, for the 2010s instead of the 1980s) and "engrocious" ("a lot", which it kind of sounds like, no?). Later in the conversation, we get "overlargement" and "naiviotically".
  • From the first episode of The IT Crowd:
    "We're nothing but drudgens to them!"
    "Yes. If there were such a thing as a drudgen, that is what we'd be to them."
  • The Thick of It gives us (in addition to the usual stream of creative insult combinations,) the single word "omnishambles", which has since been used repeatedly in Real Life.
  • Michael from The Office does this often, frequently within a Malaproper
    Michael: We're not disgruntled! Everyone here is perfectly gruntled.

    Music 
  • The Steve Miller Band speaks of the pompatus of love in "Enter Maurice" and "The Joker."
    • Interestingly, the term may have been borrowed from The Medallions' "The Letter", which mentioned "the puppetudes of love" (and also coined the term "pizmotality").
  • Lampshaded as MC Frontalot acknowledges that "possibleness is not a cromulent word" in "Nerdcore Rising."
  • Bon Iver has 'fide' and 'fane' from "Perth."
    • Fane is a genuine word, meaning "temple". Fide, not so much, unless he's speaking Latin.
  • Sussudio, courtesy of Phil Collins.
  • Digital Underground, "The Humpty Dance": "I use a word that don't mean nothin', like 'looptid'."

    New Media 
  • The flash slideshow on Flickr currently offers the option to "embiggen" pictures that are too small for the screen.
  • Done in a c-span type episode of The Onion where a senator starts to use the word "Pronk" in his vocabulary (It's supposed to be used in the positive, as in "These pancakes were pronking delicious!"). Hilarity Ensues when said senator replaces 95 percent of his vocabulary with pronk.
    • Interesting note: "Pronk" IS a real word. It's actually a very rare gait in some ungulates, where all four legs push simultaneously to bounce around. Mostly used by springboks, which are actually named for it. It's also known as "stotting". A better example would be Pinkie Pie, though.
  • Blogger/humorist James Lileks is known for popularizing "contrude". An example from The Bleat - May 1997- "Don't contrude with my train of thought, I'm on to something here"
  • Andy Zaltzman (and occasionally John Oliver) of the podcast, "The Bugle", is king of these. Highlights include "fuckeulogy" (a send-off of someone who really isn't deserving of a respectful eulogy, such as Osama bin Laden), "credibiliboost" (an improvement of one's public reputation) and "swearobics" (I'll, uh, leave you to figure that one out).
  • In 2011, blogger/author Allie Brosh came up with the definition for "alot." According to her, "The Alot is an imaginary creature that I made up to help me deal with my compulsive need to correct other people's grammar. It kind of looks like a cross between a bear, a yak and a pug[.]" The Alot has since become a fairly popular meme. People have created icons, paintings, sculptures and cakes to look like the Alot.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a brief arc in Bloom County, moral guardians were cracking down on the strip for the use of "inappropriate language", citing frequent uses of "the four-letter H-word, the four-letter D-word, and the fourteen-letter S-word". After heavy speculation as to what this latter word is, one of the characters announcing this can only think of "Snugglebunnies"? In the next strip, the two remark on how somehow saying "Snugglebunnies" is bad enough to get the strip cut. Their response: "We have one thing to say to that. Snugglebunnies! Snugglebunnies! Snu-" and the strip gets cut mid-word. Interestingly, later in the strip's run, the word started showing up here and there. It's also on Urban Dictionary.
  • A short story arc in Calvin and Hobbes revealed that animals have their own words for the way things smell, such as "snippid" for a brisk autumn day. As it turns out, this was a Batman Gambit by Hobbes to get Calvin to ask, "How do I smell?" To which the answer, of course, is "Terrible!"
  • One Get Fuzzy strip from an arc about their new manager had said manager use the words "Dinnerfy" and "Eatification" to describe eating.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • In WWE in 1996, there was a tag team called the Bodydonnas, made up of Skip (Chris Candido) and Zip (Tom Prichard.) No definition seems to exist other than that it was the name of a tag team.

    Theatre 
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee combines this with Schrödinger's Gun: a few audience members are selected to compete in the eponymous bee. Most of the words they get are real, but these tend to be thrown out when the play needs to declare a spelling correct/incorrect regardless of the spelling the audience member attempts.
  • William Shakespeare is famous for this. Google it. Of course, there is some argument as to whether he was the first to use the words, or simply the first to write them down. Due to the vast number of words he "made up," it seems likely that it's some of both. Regardless, he is credited with introducing two hundred and twenty nine words into the English language. Due to his creativity with the language, he has had perhaps more influence on English than any other individual.
  • Wicked has a number of these being used by corrupt headmistress/press secretary Madame Morrible, including "definish" (as in "definite"...ish), "braverism" and "surreptitially". This suits her character well. Also, G(a)linda gives us confusifying. Yep. Confusifying.
    • G(a)linda has several more, including the word "rejoicify" in her character intro at the start of the play.
    • Such words show up throughout the play, usually out of the blue or in the middle of not-so-important song lyrics. For example, in "Loathing" the student body describes Elphaba as "disgustingified."

    Video Games 
  • Jade Empire features a character, Qui the Promoter, who talks almost entirely like this, including a Shout-Out to the Simpsons quote at the top of the page.
    Qui the Promoter: This is turning out to be an excellent day. Most austipacatious indeed!
    Spirit Monk: "Austi..." Don't you mean "auspicious?"
    Qui the Promoter: I apologize if I'm using words beyond your grasp. Very few people can match either the supply or the command of my language.
    Spirit Monk: Seriously, you're using the wrong words. It makes you sound like a fool.
    Qui the Promoter: Don't get flusterated. Everything I say is perfectly cromulent, and it might do you well to embiggen your vocabulary before you fling accretions my discretion.
  • This is the source of a running gag in Fable II. You see, it turns out that there's a new thesaurus being published in Albion...
  • Oghren in the Awakening expansion for Dragon Age: Origins does this in the course of drunkenly thanking the Warden Commander for saving him in combat: "There was that guy, and he was all 'Rrrrr!' and I was 'Hrrr!' and then I got hit by an arrow. Then I fell over, and it was 'meep!' But you were there and you were all 'Roaarr!' Ha! Spectaculous!" To which the PC may choose to respond "That's not even a word!"
  • Gwonam in Faces of Evil: Squadallah, we are off!
  • The Carpenter in Alice: Madness Returns speaks in this manner with some regularity.
  • The Murray hopes you were not harmed by his meteoropic entrance, for the Thunder Flop knows neither friend nor foe, only destruction!
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
    • Trials and Tribulations features a case where the accused may or may not have dancingly descended onto the crime scene.
    • In the first game, noted business man and murderer Redd White tends to use cromulent words in his everyday speech.
      Redd White: You wish to know the title of my personage?
    • You think Lotta Hart also qualifies? Reckgiven! Short for "You reckon? That's a given!"
  • The dialog of Mr. Pages from Fallen London is full of this. Also see its Twitter feed for many examples.
  • The famous "spoony bard" line of Final Fantasy was often assumed to be this trope in action, or simply a humorous mistranslation. Many are surprised to find that "spoony" is in fact a real English word with a definition that fits perfectly for the situation.
  • Sometimes words in dialogue in the Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal bootleg slur together into one monster word. For example, "NOT" + "HARMONIOUS" = "NOTHARMONIOUS".
  • Viewtiful Joe. Joe mishears the word "Beautiful" when someone describes his fighting style, and Viewtiful worms its way into the game's lexicon. Your score is rated in Viewtifuls, you get a Viewtiful score bonus, and the highest ranking is Rainbow V for Viewtiful!
  • The word Revengeance from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. First joke everyone makes about the game and is often met with the explanation of it being an archaic word.
  • The sequel to Persona 4 Arena is Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, a combo of "Ultra" and "Max". Interestingly, this comes from the Japanese title, Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold.

    Web Animation 
  • Characters in the Homestar Runner seem to make up a good portion their language on the fly. The bizarre thing is it's usually perfectly clear what they mean even when the words are completely random (e.g. "This electricity bill is pretendous!).
    • Strong Bad even contemplated making an entire dictionary "fo' his own words".
  • Ultra Fast Pony: From the episode "The Pet Games":
    Rainbow Dash: So, like, winning is good. And losing... is kind of like the opposite of good. I should come up with a word for that. I'll call it... jfragrstl. So you don't wanna jfragrstl. That's not good.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons is of course the trope namer.
    • "Bart the Genius" also gave us Kwyjibo: A fat, balding, North American ape with no chin (and a short temper)." (In context, it's a word intended to cheat in Scrabble, which was the former trope namer for Scrabble Babble).
    • In another episode, Homer comments, "Sir, I am disgruntled! And up until this point I was relatively gruntled!"
      • He makes a similar statement in one episode where he wonders to himself if anyone ever gets "tracted"
    • Kent Brockman does a report about "tax avoision". When corrected by a member of the crew, he sticks to his guns: 'I don't say "evasion", I say "avoision".'
    • Inverted in an episode with Tony Hawk. Tony says a long string of skateboarding terms, which Homer assumes he's making up.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants.
    • When Spongebob accidentally shrinks Squidward with Mermaidman's belt, Patrick suggests turning the belt buckle from M for mini to W for wumbo. When Spongebob disputes the word, Patrick goes into a mini-rant about it.
      Spongebob: Patrick, I don't think Wumbo is a real word…
      Patrick: Come on... you know! I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have the wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology: the study of Wumbo. It's first grade, Spongebob!
      Squidward (glances down as Patrick gets to 'we'll have the wumbo'): I wonder if a fall from this height would be enough to kill me.
      Spongebob: Patrick, I'm sorry I doubted you.
    • Later, a shrunken Mermaidman says "Did you set it to wumbo?"
    • Also showed up in "The Nasty Patty", The One With a health inspector visiting the Krusty Krab, whom Spongebob and Mr. Krabs become convinced is an impostor.
      Mr. Krabs: We've been duped!
      Spongebob: Duped!
      Mr. Krabs: Bamboozled!
      Spongebob: We've been smeckledorfed!
      Mr. Krabs: That's not even a word, and I agree with ya!
  • Subverted in an episode of South Park. The boys are mad because all the boys from New York are mocking them for not knowing what "queef" means. They invent the word "mung" to trick the New Yorkers into using a word that doesn't exist, only to find out that it already is a word.
    • Played straight in "Hooked on Monkey Phonics." When he becomes a finalist at the spelling bee, Kyle has to spell "Krocsyldiphithic" (which is not a real word in the English language). When he asks for its definition and to hear it used in a sentence, all he gets is: "Something that has a Krocsyldiph-like quality" and "Krocsyldiphithic is a hard word to spell."
  • A number of cartoons have used the nonsense word "tralfazz". Looney Tunes, The Jetsons, Phineas and Ferb...
  • The Critic: Duke Phillips pays Webster's Dictionary to include the word "quzybuk" (meaning "a big problem") in order to win a game of Scrabble. He also paid them to add the word "dukelicious." When he learns that nobody's using it, he mutters "What a duketastrophe." In a late scene, a scientist refers to a situation as "a real quzybuk".
  • An example from Futurama:
    Joey Mousepad: What if management remains intragnisant?
    Donbot: From the context, it is clear what you mean.
    • This is because it sounds similar to "Intransigent", a real word meaning "inflexible" or "uncompromising".
    • In the future they reinvent a bunch of current words more or less on accident, like "automocar" and "cellphone telephone".
    • In one episode they state that the word "ask" has been replaced by "aks", as in, "I want to aks you a question." The writers were consistent with this from then on.
    • When Fry makes a "Uranus" joke and no one gets it, Professor Farnsworth tells him the planet was renamed years ago to stop those same childish jokes. The new name? "Urectum".
  • Happens a lot with the Duke of Zill in the Felix the Cat movie. He called. His servant. A numcrut.
  • Parodied in Family Guy.
    Peter Griffin: A degenerate, am I? Well you're fastezio! See, I can make up words too!.
  • An entire episode of Recess revolves around T.J. making up a new word ("whomp", as in, "Man, this whomps!"). He is punished, because most of the adults assume it must be a 'bad' (dirty) word. In truth, he made up the word as a minced oath so he wouldn't get in trouble anymore. After a good deal of irony and courtroom antics, it's decided that the word is up to anyone's interpretation since it was made up, and "Those who think it has a dirty meaning probably have dirty minds to begin with."
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New School:
    "Yzmopolis, There's no Stopolis!" "Hey that's not a word" "It is to me!"
  • Garfield and Friends
    • The Buddy Bears tried to make the show more educational by interrupting an otherwise "normal" episode to provide trivia on anything that came up in conversation. Irritated, Garfield asked them what they knew about "gazorninplats", and after they're unable to find any information on it, they give up and leave. It backfired at the end of the episode, when G&F was "cancelled" for The Gazorninplat Hour.
    • Another episode featured a Show Within a Show hosted by a character named Fred Gazorninplat. Garfield claims that the host changed his name to get the job and that he used to be called Sam Gazorninplat.
    • In part 2 of "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves", Roy is refusing to kiss Snow Wade so she wakes up, but then reads the story and is happy to do it because he learned he gets "20 million gazortniks".
    Roy: I don't know what a gazortnik is, but 20 million of anything makes ya filthy rich!
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Look Before You Sleep", Applejack claims to be "the get-alongingest pony you're ever gonna meet!", and Rarity retorts "That's not even a word."
    • Gets a bit of a Call Back in season 2 premiere "The Return of Harmony, Part 1", when the Cutie Mark Crusaders have this exchange (for added fun, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle are Applejack and Rarity's respective little sisters):
    Applebloom: Cool! ... If you were actually victory-ful at something.
    Sweetie Belle: That's not a word!
    • And comes full circle in the movie My Little Pony Equestria Girls when Pinkie Pie coins the word "nervouscited" (nervous + excited), and Applejack says, "You do realize that's not a real word, right?"
  • From Young Justice Robin 1/Nightwing is fond of taking the prefixes off of words to make new ones. His favourite is "whelmed": what you get when you're neither overwhelmed or underwhelmed. The fandom has embraced it whole-heartedly; some are actually used for Idiosyncratic Ship Naming. Ironically, "whelmed" is a word. It means the same thing as "overwhelmed."
  • Zak from The Secret Saturdays claims 'beautifulous' is a word in British.
  • The ones in Adventure Time usually derive from the dialogue's wordplay-filled style. Examples include "wrongteous" (opposite of "righteous"), and "manlorette party" (what else do you call the male equivalent of a bachelorette party?).
  • In the The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "The Incredible Shrinking Town", Jimmy, Carl and Sheen coax the Space Bandits Zix, Travoltron and Tee to fight each other pretending to be their consciences. As they argue, Travoltron call Zix a "chazazeech" which Zix says isn't even a word.

    Real Life 
  • An old joke: "Be alert! Your country needs lerts!"
    • Response: "No, be aloof - we've got enough lerts."
    • Another Joke: "Boy to girl: Do you like Kipling? Girl to boy: I don't know, I've never kippled." Guinness reports that the most popular picture postcard ever printed had essentially this joke on it. See Donald McGill on The Other Wiki.
  • The word "quiz". A man made a bet that he could invent a word and get it into the local lexicon very quickly. He then went on to scrawl the nonsense word "quiz" on various walls and alleyways around the town (possibly Dublin). Supposedly, the people who had seen it assumed they were being tested for something or another. The Other Wiki claims this is largely apocryphal.
  • An accidental example was the word "dord" (supposedly meaning "density"), which appeared in Webster's Third New International Dictionary from 1934 to 1939. It was a based on a card reading "D or d/ density", but was not spaced properly.
    • This has also appeared in an anecdote about a girl who said to her boyfriend, "How does it feel to be adored?" To which he replied, "What's a dord?"
  • Dr. Seuss invented the word "nerd." (It was a creature in If I Ran The Zoo.)
  • Look up back formations on The Other Wiki. Prepare to have your conception of correct usage self-destructinate.
  • The word "ablexxive" started this way, with a middle-school student making it up and putting it on a vocab quiz.
  • Isaac Asimov used the word "robotics" in his early Robot stories, assuming it to be a logical extension of the word "robot". Modern etymologists believe him to have been the first person to have used the term. "Robot" itself was made up for Karel Capek's play R.U.R.. It's derived from robota, the Czech word for "forced labor".
  • Former President George W. Bush was absolutely renowned for this, leading political columnist Molly Ivins to invent her own cromulent word to describe them: "Bushisms."
  • Many Internet captchas use these kinds of words, especially those from Google and ReCaptcha (which, in the latter case, are always accompanied by a perfectly normal word).
  • Language Log uses the words "Click to embiggen" next to relevant pictures on their site. If anyone is entitled to rule on the cromulence of a word, it's the expert linguists who post on that site.
    • A massive number of websites have adopted this phraseology. Google results for the phrase in quotes currently number in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Omnishambles (see The Thick of It under Live-Action TV above,) has been added to the online OED. See this article on The Other Wiki for details.


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alternative title(s): Made Up Word; Making Words Up
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