Ms. Hoover: I don't know why. It's a 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 (and pronounced EM-eye, because it's French), and "unfriend", which meant exactly what it does today (just at the tavern, rather than on Facebook).
A type of Neologism (for the many cases where the word is new), of which Scrabble Babble is a subtrope. Some examples are another form of Malaproper. See also Delusions of Eloquence and Informed Obscenity. Characters who primarily talk in these are known as a Neologizer. Not to be confused with Buffy Speak which is a lack of nuance and sometimes making new compound words, not entirely new words. For words that are actually not new, it may be a case of either Accidentally Correct Writing or Shown Their Work.
Named for an 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 been added to Webster's dictionary.
- A Koodo Mobile 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 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?"
- Skank Zero Hopeless-Savage's (of the Hopeless Savages comic series) vocabulary is composed 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.
- Warrior has destrucity, foked, skronk, and jet-jack. Although skronk could possibly be an onomatopoeia.
- A Running Gag in Issue 3 of the Invader Zim comics is that Zim, who's posing as an artist as part of his newest Evil Plan, keeps making up words, such as "Begoodius", "Flapdoodius" and "Apeximoop". Given the setting, it's lampshaded, but everyone just assumes it's part of his "artistic talent".
- "Embiggen" itself is the Catchphrase of Ms. Marvel (2014) when she activates her Sizeshifter and Partial Transformation powers (she also uses "disembiggen" to shrink).
- 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.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series gives us "hugeoppotamousness", used to describe the vastness of the world and/or the universe. Lampshaded:
Hobbes: That's not a word.
- In Equestrylvania, the Chronomage tends to use his own words in place of plain English. Then again, he is based on Lewis Carroll characters, so...
- Forbiden Fruit: The Tempation of Edward Cullen: "'I dunno maybe' I plimpled mutely."
- Mi Tru Lov regularly uses the word "somebloke" when Kawaiilyn is unsure of who is speaking. There's also "tolfig" and "smileyly".
- Sword Art Online Abridged gives us this legendary exchange between a bible-thumping assassin and his long-suffering assistant as they try and murder a player named Schmitt:
Jeffrey: It's time to do God's work. Because as Jesus once said, 'Schmittches get stitches.'Johnny Black: THAT'S NOT EVEN A WORD, MUCH LESS- Oh forget it. Let's just kill these guys and go.
- Tales of the Undiscovered Swords gives us kobigatana 侫刀, roughly meaning "fucked-up sword". It comes from the word kobihito 侫人, meaning "messed-up person", from the Man'yōshū poem Konotegashiwa's name is taken from.
- 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."
- "Responstible" in Saving Mr. Banks, where Pamela Travers insists that The Sherman Brothers "un-make it up".
- 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 Margaret 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.
- In Scary Movie 3, the guy in the lighthouse tells Cindy that she is "inexorably seeking a sedulant probability." When she questions this, he continues, holding a dictionary with "What about contingent affirmation? That's got to mean something."
- In Molly's Game, Charlie is reading Molly's book and comments that 'verticality' is not a real word. Molly insists that it is and ends up emailing him a link to it in the American dictionary.
- In Mean Girls Gretchen is trying to get the term "fetch" accepted as an adjective (meaning, roughly, 'cool'). Regina: "Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen!"
- In The Avengers Loki uses the term "quim", an obsolete derogative meaning a certain part of a woman. Of course, he is several thousand years old.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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."
- 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.
- Dave Barry in Cyberspace has two lists of anagrams generated from the name "William Gates," one created by a computer, the other by Washington Post editor Gene Weingarten. One of Weingarten's anagrams was "A WILT-GASM LIE."
When we look at these two lists, we are forced to conclude that, although the computer is very fast, it would never have come up with the concept of a "wilt-gasm." To be honest, I had no idea what a "wilt-gasm" was until Gene explained it to me.
"It's a Wilt Chamberlain orgasm," he said in an irritated voice. "It's very funny. Just accept that."
"Yes!" I hastily agreed. "VERY funny! Ha ha! Get some sleep!"
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, three-year-old Manny Heffley invented two words: "bubby" (a term for brother) and "ploopy" (an insult).
- In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Dirk's Suspiciously Specific Denials, designed to convince his fellow students he has psychic powers, include denying he's "psychosassic". And then denying the word "psychosassic" means anything anyway.
- Lewis Carroll was exceptionally fond of these, famously giving them free rein in the poem Jabberwocky:
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe. note
- Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive):
Syl: All right, so what is drearifying you today?
Kaladin: Drearifying? Is that a word?
Syl: You don't know?
Kaladin: [shakes head]
Syl: Yes. Yes, it absolutely is.
- Several words in The Eye of Argon; the "scoszctic" cult intends to sacrifice a "nerelady" who speaks "bustily" in a secret chamber under a mausoleum full of "expugnisively carved" statues.
- In The BFG, the giant does not know English very well, so makes up words, including "disastrophe" (disaster), "whopsy-whiffling", "ringbeller", "winkswiffler and "phizzwizard" (terms for pleasant dreams), "trogglehumper", "bogthumper" and "grobswitcher" (terms for nightmares), "filthsome" (disgusting) and "chiddler" (child).
- In Regis Philbin: Who Wants to Be Me?, he noted that during the peak of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? fever, there were dark suits done in the style that Regis wore on the show. Some ad execs promoted it as the "Philbinization" of neckwear. Regis was baffled at that term: "What does that even MEAN?!"
- 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.
- In the final episode of Ashes to Ashes (2008), 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."
- A common occurrence in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Most notably on a scene that has allegedly been censored of its swear words, where they make up their own obscenities instead, including: "prunk", "fusk", "cloffing", "pimhole" and "pempslider" (which appears to be the foulest of the lot).
- 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.
- Johnson 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."
- The Colbert Report:
- On its inaugural show they 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- Deadliest Catch gives us ''Crabalanche'' which is what you get when you dump a freshly retrieved container filled with crab onto the sorting table.
- Doctor Who: In "The Runaway Bride", Donna Noble accuses the Doctor of making stuff up when she finds herself snatched from her wedding.
Donna: What is this place?
The Doctor: The TARDIS.
Donna: The what?
The Doctor: It's called the TARDIS.
Donna: That's not even a proper word!
Joey: If he doesn't like you, this is all a moo point.note
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.
- Another episode had Rachel refer to Chandler's job as a "Transponster" to which Monica replies "That's not even a word!"
- 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. When questioned on it Barney claims that making up words shows "vision and creativity - 'visiativity'".
- 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.
- 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. Mandy somehow manages to find a packet of them anyway. Mandy had to go down to the ethnic district to find them however.
- 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."
"You're used to being social piranhas."
- It's actually "drudgeon," which is a real word. It's unlikely Moss wouldn't know this, given his abilities on Countdown in a later series.
- Later, Jen is drunk.
- A later episode has Jen and Roy arguing over the cromulence of 'damp squid' rather than 'damp squib'.
- When Moss appears on Countdown, he insists that the randomly-selected letters already spell a word, "tnetennba." When asked to use it in a sentence, he says: "Good morning, that's a nice tnetennba."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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."
- 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. Gary Larson also used it quite a few times in The Far Side.
- Beth 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".
- During the 1980s. Rich Hall did a segment of the HBO series Not Necessarily the News called "sniglets", which means, "a word that should be in the dictionary, but isn't," where they made up new words for things or conditions that didn't have them. Some of the words included lactomangulation, the opening of a paper milk carton from the "illegal" side; carperpetulation for the practice of repeatedly vacuuming an area to remove an item before picking it up manually; and krogt, the silver coating you have to scrape off to expose the value on lottery tickets. One word they invented, flopcorn, popcorn kernels that remained uncooked, was used by at least one popcorn manufacturer in their magazine ads to describe a problem more prevalent with competitor products.
- Not the Nine O'Clock News: Gerald, the Talking Gorilla uses the term 'Flange' for the collective noun of baboons. This one made it to the Ask Oxford website. note
- NYPD Blue: When Andy adopts the female dog of a suicide victim he says that the dog has a problem with her "fatagus". It was a word invented for the show, but the network censors still had a problem with it.
- Michael from The Office (US) does this often, frequently within a Malaproper
Michael: We're not disgruntled! Everyone here is perfectly gruntled.
- Humorously, the word "gruntled" is a real word, used correctly by Michael in this context.
- 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).
- "Kancamagus" is the name of a scenic highway in New Hampshire.
- 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 word is "Strategery". 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.
- On Seinfeld, when Elaine gets the New Yorker editor to admit the cartoon he printed makes no sense. note
Editor: It's a slice of life.
Elaine: No it isn't.
Editor: A pun?
Elaine: I don't think so.
Elaine: ...That's not a word.
- Stargate SG-1: In "The Fifth Race", Jack O'Neill begins using seemingly made-up words, albeit without realizing he is doing so. As it turns out, he's speaking Ancient.
O'Neill: I've lost the falatus to speak properly!
- Fans of Star Trek have created a dictionary of perfectly Romulan words.
- 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.
- Veronica's 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.
- 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.
- Victorious-"Oh my God, she's having heart confarctions!!"
- In Will & 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.
- The whole point of the short-lived 1986-87 NBC game show Wordplay (the final show hosted by Tom Kennedy). Two contestants would try to earn cash by choosing obscure words of this type and try to pick the right meaning out of three given by celebrity guests.
- In the episode "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas" of The X-Files, the ghosts use a number of psychological tactics to mess with Mulder and Scully, at one point gives a summation of why Mulder sucks with a unique insult.
Maurice: You've probably convinced yourself you've seen aliens. You know why you think you see the things you do?
Mulder: Because I have seen them?
Maurice: 'Cause you're a lonely man. A lonely man chasing paramasturbatory illusions that you believe will give your life meaning and significance and which your pathetic social maladjustment makes impossible for you to find elsewhere. You probably consider yourself passionate, serious, misunderstood. Am I right?
- 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'.
- 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'."
- Frank Zappa: Introduced the word "plooking" (sexually frisking each other) and "blobulent suit" (a space suit in a B-movie).
- "Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head" from Demon Days by Gorillaz, Dennis Hopper describes the eruption of The Mountain Called Monkey as "a castrophany". Presumably, this is a portmanteau of "Cacophony" and "Catastrophe".
- In "The Sneeze Song", the word "snoze" is used in place of "sneeze" to rhyme first with "nose", then with "knows".
- In "The Day You Told Me Your Name", the word "snugglicious" is used as a term of endearment.
- 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."
- "Shipoopi" in The Music Man.
Shipoopi, shipoopi, shipoopi
The girl who's hard to get
Shipoopi, shipoopi, shipoopi
But you can win her yet
- 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: Squadala, we're off!
- The Carpenter in Alice: Madness Returns speaks in this manner with some regularity.
- Sly Cooper: The Murray hopes you were not harmed by his meteoropic entrance, for the Thunder Flop knows neither friend nor foe, only destruction!
- 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. For those who are too lazy to look it up, it means "sentimentally or foolishly amorous."
- 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.
- Moshi Monsters has a lot of these, including "anymoshi" for anyone, "monsterlicious" and "scrum-dilly-icious" for "delicious" and a lot of words that are said to mean "totally awesome". note
- 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.
- One Sunken Scroll in Splatoon advertises the latest album from in-universe band Squid Squad, calling it "an aural buffet of squidiosyncratic psychedelicacy."
- Sans from Undertale counts how many times you've died to him on the No Mercy path. After the 3rd time he poses the question of what comes after "thrice"note . Engage him in a rematch again and he tells you that you've died to him "quice" in a row. He just uses "x times in a row" afterward.
Sans: "quice? frice? welp, won't have to use it again anyways."
- In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, there is the Meriff of Concordia. After taking office, he created the title for himself by combining the words "mayor" and "sheriff". Also, there's the word "Pre-Sequel" in the title. Handsome Jack takes credit for that one.
- Plants vs. Zombies has the Cherry Bomb brothers who can't decide whether to explode or detonate, so they decide to 'explodonate' instead.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: Bedsmith likes to describe Prince Dreambert as being "Oh-So-Nappable". As in, he really, really wants to nap on him.
- 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!"
- Homestar Runner characters 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... jerfrahghesta. So you don't wanna jerfrahghesta. That's not good.
- This is part of Marcus' schtick in 1/0, with a dash of Delusions of Eloquence.
- The first chapter of Castlevania: House of morons , has a skeleton minion telling Alucard that the other minions were reporting a discovered "Problematicacy" to Dracula. Even Alucard had to ask if the made-up word was neccesary.
- This Penny Arcade has two examples, one of which is from Real Life.
- In This 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage runs out of words to describe how much he hates Fighter... so he has Red Mage come up with a new one. Red Mage offers up "hateriffic", "meganger", "anathemalice", "ragenomic", "omniloathe", and "abhorrination". Black Mage chooses "omniloathe".
- Fighter returns the favor with Friendlicious, paloramic, and ultrabuddy
- Fighter has a flashback to his teacher, Vargas, reciting the Jabberwocky poem. Young Fighter calls him out on making up words.
- Yeager in Nodwick managed to invent an Eighth Deadly Sin - which he duly termed Blasphotrociterra-o-rama.
- Malamanteau is a perfectly cromulent word, though XKCD disagrees.
- The Order of the Stick gives us this biollorky example.
- Lampshaded in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja with Dukeicide.
Ben Franklin: Yes. There is a law that means I may have just committed dukeicide.Alt Text: Dukeicide is not a real word.
- MS Paint Adventures makes a Running Gag of applying this to sci-fi gadgets, starting with the Pumpkin Appearifier from Jailbreak. Meanwhile, in Homestuck, the otherwise linguistically stringent Jane is quite defensive about the cromulence of the word "shalln't."
- Sluggy Freelance has Millard Dynam Stoop trying to create a Significant Anagram:
William Wotcherclaws: If the master says it is, then IT IS!
- The next comic...
Lord Moldypants: Where the hell is Torg? Was anyone watching him? Anyone?William Wotcherclaws: Forgive us! We were all too slorddly, master!
- The next comic...
- Times Like This: Cassie invents "Voljack" — and goes back a century to put it in the dictionary — all just to win a "Words With Friends" game.
- Irregular Webcomic! gives us the "splanch", a fictional organ which many alien characters apparently possess, as evidenced by the many declarations of "Ow! My splanch!".
- In the commentary, the author admits that although he didn't know it at the time of writing "splanch" is actually a real word, but means something entirely different (it's a style of house architecture).
- While "splanch" isn't anatomical, "splanchnic" means "related to the intestines".
- The Perry Bible Fellow Ship gave us the words "Weeaboo" and "Skub". "Weeaboo" was a nonsense word in the comic where it appeared, but became a synonym for "wapanese" meaning "wannabe Japanese" after it was used as a word filter for "wapanese" on /b/, eventually becoming a more popular insult than "wapanese". "Skub" in the comic it originally appeared in was the name of a product of unknown purpose that two people wearing shirts that say "Pro Skub" and "Anti Skub" get into a violent fight over, and so the word gained use as a term for something that causes arguments and rage.
- 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 prank. 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.
- Members of That Guy with the Glasses often combine insults into new words because normal insults just aren't strong enough to deal with the crap they are dealing with. Highlights include Linkara's "Idiostuperiffic" for insanely dumb people or plots, and The Nostalgia Critic's "Supercrapafuckerifficexpialibullshit" - a film so bad the censors really oughta go and pull it.
- In one article for Cracked, Michael Swaim coins the term "presturbating" - the act of masturbating to the porn that gets you horny enough to watch the porn that really gets you off, because you're dead inside. (It can also mean "masturbating a priest".)
- Skippy's List has examples:
- In the Slenderfandom, people will often affix "Slender" to the beginning of Slenderman-related words. Also, it's common to refer to that thing he does when he's not really doing anything but he's really scary for some reason as "slendering around".
- The SCP Foundation has SCP-566, a "word a day calendar" which lists definitions for these. Which would be fine, except that people who read it become absolutely convinced that they're normal words, and become violently angry at anyone who tells them that they aren't real words.
- It has since been changed and it doesn't have that effect anymore. Instead, some of the words describe highly anomalous subjects, actions, or events.
- On Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, J's new boss Jesus (not Jesus Christ) comes up with the word "teffort" which is a combination of the words "team" and "effort".
- Caddicarus frequently uses the made-up word "cyoar", the definition of which I will not be typing here.
- Lowtax has coined the use of "ploishing"* to refer to falling out of the game map and into the skybox, whether done intentionally or accidentally.
- Giant Bomb's video player has an "Embiggen" option to enlarge the player and centre it on the page. This then turns into the "Debiggen" option, which puts it back to normal.
- Bad Lip Reading: During the video "Democratic National Convention", Barack Obama lists several words that sound like real words but aren't, including; hondish, coddlesip, eubillicant, respeciment, complectogram and toelingus.
- 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 "On a Clear Day, I Can't See My Sister", 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" Though like Michael Scott above, Homer is using gruntled in the correct context.
- In "Bart the Fink", 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".' This is also a real word, though he's not using it right (he uses it as a synonym for "evasion", but it refers to legally ambiguous ways of getting out of paying taxes).
- Inverted in the episode "Barting Over" 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!
Mr. Krabs: Bamboozled!
SpongeBob: We've been smeckledorfed!
Mr. Krabs: That's not even a word and I agree with ya!
- 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.
- South Park:
- Subverted in "Worldwide Recorder Concert". 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".
- In the future, they reinvent a bunch of current words more or less by 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. Of course, there are some American dialects where it's already pronounced that way. And "ax" (pronounced aks) is an archaic English word for "ask", dating back at least to Beowulf.
- 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:
Roy: I don't know what a gazortnik is, but 20 million of anything makes ya filthy rich!
- 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".
- 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."
Applebloom: Cool! ... If you were actually victory-ful at something.Sweetie Belle: That's not a word!Scootaloo: What are you, a dictionary?
- 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):
- 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 (Dick Grayson) is fond of taking the affixes 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?). There's also the PG equivalent of "Oh my God" wherein they instead use the phrase "Oh my Glob".
- 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.
- Steven Universe has an episode where Lapis and Peridot have been making sculptures, but they describe what they did in really abstract terms, leading to this response. Then they call the sculptures morps for the entire episode.
Steven: Guys, that's art!
Peridot: Art? That sounds ridiculous!
Lapis: I've been calling it "meepmorp."
- Duckman episode "Vuuck, as in Duck" has several characters use the word "Brobdingnagian" in casual conversation throughout the episode. After the third use of the word, Cornfed just gives up and gives the definition to the audience.
Simonia: Doesn't Duckman care if we improve our baseball skills? You're not supposed to win games just because you're attractive or sexy or curvaceous or Brobdingnagian. You're supposed to win because you're good!
Duckman: We're supposed to win! We're supposed to spend the next three months in a hotel suite signing 500 baseballs a day! We're supposed to be spitting up limited edition Dixie Cups used chaw! We're supposed to be making Brobdingnagian sums of money!
Simon Desmond: My profit could have been Brobdingnagian!
Cornfed: Oh for heaven's sake. Brobdingnagian, adjective, of immense or enormous size or quantity.
- It's a real word, derived from Jonathan Swift's Gullivers Travels. The land of the giants is called Brobdingnag.
- Kaeloo: Stumpy frequently invents his own words, like "tentacools", and insists that they are real words.
Kaeloo: Don't you mean "tentacles"?
Stumpy: No, I mean "tentacools".
- There's actually a Pokémon called Tentacool (a jellyfish-like creature). It evolves into Tentacruel.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: In "Father Crime", Shifu's Con Artist father peppers his speech with these to bamboozle his marks.
- This Word Does Not Exist: A machine learning algorithm that generates perfectly cromulent words.
- 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 Second New International Dictionary from 1934 to 1939. It was a based on a card reading "D or d/ density", but was not spaced properly.
- 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."
- Shakespeare was also known for making up words, although a lot of them are adding prefixes, suffixes or compounding two words together. Still, he invented no less than 1700 words a lot of which are in very common use today.
- Some examples: Eyeball, addiction, bet, hint, lackluster, amazement, disheartened, ladybird, luggage, rant, obscene. All were either invented by Shakespeare or if not, his usages of them are the oldest surviving written examples.
- 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.
- Sometimes people will seek the opposite of a word such as "innocent" or "invincible" by removing the negating prefix "in" (resulting in "nocent" and "vincible". A quick check of a good dictionary will reveal that these are real—albeit archaic—words that mean exactly what the person is trying to convey (e.g. "nocent" means "guilty", and "vincible" means "capable of being overcome").
- "In/flammable," however, was an example of this trope: people thought "inflammable," the older word, meant "can't catch on fire" and that "flammable" was its opposite. In fact, they both mean the same. "Inflammable" means can be inflamed. "Flammable" was a made-up word with a clear, unambiguous meaning.
- Dream speech. One may even start to wonder (while dreaming) why a word "we use every day" sounds so strange, only to wake up and realize it's nonsense.
- In 1920, mathematician Milton Kasner wrote a number on a blackboard: 1 followed by 100 zeroes (also depicted as "1e100"). He asked his nine-year-old nephew Milton Sirotta what to call it. The boy said "A googol." The name stuck.
- Milton then made up the word "googolplex", which would be "one, followed by writing zeroes until you get tired". Instead, Kasner defined "googolplex" as 1 followed by a googol zeroes.
- "Google", the name of the online company, is an accidental misspelling of "googol". The name of their headquarters comes from Google + complex = Googleplex
- While making the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, director George Lucas thought up the term "greeblies" for minor details or touches to costumes, e.g. the code cylinders on Imperial uniforms.
- "Covfefe", a word based on a typo made in a tweet by President Donald Trump, briefly became a memetic example of this trope.
- The gaffe-prone Joe Biden kicked off his 2020 campaign by talking about "hudge fund managers" and coining the word "extredible" to refer to the cuts taken by union workers.
- Bulgarian communist dictator Todor Zhivkov once commented a semiconductor factory with a jolly "This year semiconductors, next year whole conductors!"
- This entry would not be complete without mentioning the word "hobbit". J. R. R. Tolkien based this (most probably) on two other words, making a mondegreen: "Hobgoblin" and "rabbit" - creating a small humanoid living in a hole in the ground. The rest is history.
- While Tolkien believed he'd invented the word, possibly influenced by the title of Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt, "hobbits" are listed alongside hobgoblins and other sprites from a 19th-century folklore compendium. Whether Tolkien saw this once, forgot it, and then unconsciously retrieved the word thinking he'd made it up is unknown and perhaps unknowable.
- In a note written shortly before his death, airplane hijacker David Burke used the word "ironical", presumably to mean "ironic".