This post lists a variety of words that were presented to the English lexicon through novelists and also other writers throughout the twentieth century.

You are watching: Which writer coined the phrase "ships that pass in the night"?

1. beep: Scientist and novelist Arthur C. Clarke came up with this onomatopoeic word for a small, high-pitched signal.

2. blurb: Humorist Gelet burgess coined this term because that a quick piece of advancement copy.

3. catch-22: Novelist Joseph Heller called his best-known novel ~ his term because that the ide of a lose-lose predicament.

4. cojones: Novelist Ernest Hemingway obtained the Spanish word definition “testicles” to refer to courage.

5. cyberspace: Novelist william Gibson an unified the extant prefix cyber through space to describe an virtual environment.

6. debunk: Novelist william E. Woodward created this indigenous to describe the principle of disproving cheat claims.

7. doublethink: Novelist George Orwell called the principle of having inconsistent simultaneous ideas.

8. dreamscape: Poet Sylvia Plath came up through this word for a dreamlike scene.

9. factoid: Novelist Norman Mailer coined this term because that an invented reality or a false claim that becomes welcomed as fact; by extension, it has additionally come to refer to a trivial fact.

10. groupthink: Writer william H. Whyte coined this word, which describes self-deceiving conformity, on the version of doublethink.

11. litterbug: Writer Alice sirloin McKeon come up through this hatchet for world who carelessly autumn litter.

12. meme: Scientist Richard Dawkins coined this term for behaviors, ideas, or formats passed in between people; the is currently widely connected with images from popular culture that express a concept.

13. microcomputer: Scientist and also novelist Isaac Asimov fastened a prefix definition “very small” to computer to produce a word for a portable computer device.

14. nerd: Writer Dr. Seuss gave no an interpretation for this rash word the coined and also did not associate it with any type of of his illustrations, yet it came to refer to a socially inept person, especially one through advanced scholastic or intellectual skills but poor social skills.

15. nymphet: Novelist Vladimir Nabokov come up with this word for a sexually precocious pubescent girl; through extension, it come to use to an attractive young woman.

16. piehole: Novelist Stephen King presented this slang for the mouth, v the connotation that someone linked with the word (as as soon as told, “Shut her piehole”) need to use one’s mouth only for eating since the think the human voices through it are not worthwhile because that anyone to hear.

17. quark: Scientist Murray Gell-Mann, motivated by writer James Joyce’s usage of words in that existing feeling of “a fermented dairy product product resembling cottage cheese,” adopted the order of that word because that a hatchet he had actually coined that referred to a type of subatomic particle.

18. robot: The brother of Czech writer Karel Čapek suggested that he use robota, Czech for “forced labor,” as a surname for machines that resemble and perform work normally carried out by humans; it was translated into English as robot, and also Isaac Asimov came up v the noun robotics to describe the scientific research behind together machines, as well as the adjective robotic.

19. scaredy-cat: Satirist Dorothy Parker come up v this slang word because that a timid person.

20. superman: Playwright George bernard Shaw analyzed philosopher Friedrich Nietzche’s hatchet Übermensch because that the title of his pat Man and also Superman; the word likewise applies generically come a person with extraordinary abilities and also to the superhero of that name.

21. tightwad: Humorist George Ade provided this hatchet in a colloquial retelling of fairy tales.

22. tween: Philologist and also novelist J. R. R. Tolkien coined this native to describe hobbit adolescence, alluding to the expectancy of life known as the twenty (hobbits came of age in their early thirties), however it later arose independently as a truncation that between to refer to the transitional years between childhood and adolescence.

23. unputdownable: mystery writer Raymond Chandler came up through this word for a compelling read.

24. whodunit: publication critic Donald Gordon explained a an enig novel through this word.

25. workaholic: Psychologist Wayne E. Oates coined this hatchet on the version of alcoholic; although that was no the first -aholic coinage, its popularity motivated many comparable constructions.

Subsequent articles will list previously linguistic inventions.

Want to enhance your English in 5 minutes a day? obtain a subscription and also start receiving our composing tips and exercises daily!

Keep learning! browse the Vocabulary category, examine our renowned posts, or choose a related article below:

you will improve your English in only 5 minutes every day, guaranteed! Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interaction exercises! You"ll also get three bonus ebooks totally free! shot It cost-free Now

10 Responses to “25 words Coined by Twentieth-Century Authors”

Dannyon December 20, 2016 11:23 am

It appears you room using the hatchet “coined by” rather loosely. Because that example, Heller did not create “catch-22.” that popularized it. I’m sure countless of your instances fit in a similar mold.

Mark Nicholon December 20, 2016 4:03 pm

Danny:Yes, ns should have adhered to my own admonition posted in other places on this site (see the last component of this post) and also alluded to that distinction. Many thanks for pointing that out.

venqaxon December 21, 2016 12:19 pm

I assumption: v I need clarification the Danny and also Mark’s remarks. I identify the difference in between coining and distributing or popularizing a word. In the over cases, e.g., Hemingway certainly did not coin the Spanish indigenous cojones or also it’s meaning. He presented it into English as casual or slang term. However as far as I’m aware, Heller go coin the ax Catch-22. That did not create the concept, the course, but the term for it, and also the terms/words space the topic of “25 indigenous Coined By…” In reality it took rather a many back-and-forth in between him and also his publisher– record 17, 14, 11, etc.,– before settling top top 22. So ns don’t understand the point there. ??

Dale A. Woodon December 24, 2016 8:28 pm

“Isaac Asimov come up with the noun robotics to describe the scientific research behind together machines, and the adjective robotic.”From analysis Asimov’s biographies, I recognize that he believed that the word “robotics” currently existed. That didn’t know that he was making miscellaneous new.To Asimov, “robotics” dropped right in the same classification as aeronautics, dynamics, economics, graphics, hydraulics, kinetics, mechanics, optics, physics, and also statistics.Then there come “plate tectonics”, too, indigenous the field of geology, and also I will certainly let you look up who wrote that one under for the first time. I just know the the idea of “continental drift” was very controversial for decades, but then it came to be respectable and also the phrase “plate tectonics” replaced that enlarge term.Either Asimov or another writer the S.F. Developed the indigenous nucleonic and nucleonics for theoretical future means of dealing with nuclear power without every the troubles of deadly radiation, heavy shielding versus neutrons & gamma rays, radioactive waste, and fallout.The mathematician and engineer Norbert Wiener of MIT created the native “cybernetics” because that his writings. He could have created “cyborg”, too. Also, the influenced word “bionics” was created by the writer who composed the novel that motivated “The $6 Million Man” and also “The Bionic Woman” ~ above television.There was a doctor with the royal Canadian wait Force, who designed the principle of and the indigenous “aerobics”, and he published his best-selling nonfiction book AEROBICS.The civilization in the field of cryogenics wanted to frown strongly on the ide of freezing civilization for hypothetical future revival, for this reason they coined the word “cryonics” for that, and they use it in a derogatory sense.Then over there are books that are practically flimflams like “Dianetics”,It is to negative that the ax “rocketics” would be together a tongue-twister, therefore we need to use phrases choose “rocket science” and also “aerospace engineering” and also “astronautical engineering” because that that.D.A.W.

Dale A. Woodon December 24, 2016 8:30 pm

Didn’t George Orwell also invent the word “Newthink”, and also perhaps a couple of more?Who developed the indigenous “brainwash” ?

venqaxon December 26, 2016 3:04 pm

According come etymological resources online, “brainwash” is a literal translation of the Chinese xi nao– wash and brain. It gone into English during the korean War, for popular reasons.

Dale A. Woodon December 26, 2016 4:28 pm

Thank you really much Venqax. So we have actually the Red Chinese to give thanks to for “brainwash”, and the Soviets to say thanks to for SMERSH, KGB, GRU, and also “tokomak” (in plasma physics).The actual SMERSH the Josef Stalin caused the fictitious SPECTRE of James bond – 007.

Dale A. Woodon December 28, 2016 3:25 am

Here is an instance of “brainwashing” in action. Simply put this word in between “>” and also “.

Dale A. Woodon December 28, 2016 3:46 am

Some other exciting words ending in “ics” :ethics, phonics, forensics, Ebonics, kinesics, kinetics, statics (a term indigenous physics and engineering that is no “statistics”), supersonics, and a big set of indigenous from medication & dentistry consisting of pediatrics, orthopedics, orthodontics, periodontics, orthotics .With just “ic” top top the end, we get a usual term from computer system science and also telecommunications: “alphanumeric”, a mix of “alphabetic” and “numeric”. The word “alphanumerical” additionally exists.There are additionally infrasonic, hypersonic, and also ultrasonic, saying that perhaps an “s” might be areas at the finish of these.

See more: Cavs Vs Warriors Game 4 Live Stream, Warriors Vs

Dale A. Woodon January 13, 2017 9:13 pm

Piehole“The novelist Stephen King presented this slang for the mouth…”Stephen King has been with us because that a lengthy time, and hence my question is exactly how long back did he do this?I have seen “piehole” in functions of scientific research fiction here and also there for a long time. It could have remained in STARSHIP TROOPERS, pub. 1959, through Robert A. Heinlein. Heinlein to be a Navy man – Annapolis 1927 – and “piehole” certainly sound favor naval and also military slang. Heinlein served on the old USS “Saratoga” earlier when the marine only had actually three aircraft carriers, and also he offered as an design officer, mostly in air-ground and also air-to-air radio communications.Heinlein was unable to serve throughout WW II due to the fact that he had captured tuberculosis, and he had actually to it is in discharged medically. The didn’t kill him, but he might have spread it to several other sailors.