In my twenties I was the master of making up words; so this conversation brought back fond memories. Words like - havenly, webdom, and annoyingish (or pretty much anything with an ish on the end) come to mind. I would suggest that there is nothing so empowering as creating a word which describes something perfectly.
One of my favorite bloggers, Tamara Out Loud, recently came up with the word jeex and then held a contest to see who could find the best definition. Some of them were pretty funny… but the one I loved best was, Jesus Sex: that type of intimate sex you have with a husband where you feel Gods’ presence in the lovin’.
The idea that as individuals we have the power to change one of the most fundamental aspects of culture (language) is both outrageous and powerful. It may also explain why I felt comfortable, indeed compelled, to do this in my twenties but now find the idea smacks of arrogance. Who am I to challenge words which have developed over centuries of use?
This is true not just with words though. I finally understand why it is always the young people who challenge the status quo. I hate to admit it, but I have become fatalistic in my philosophy… fatalistic and accepting. It is not only that I believe I cannot change things… but more often that I am humble enough to see that my changes may not always be for the best.
And this is where arrogance helps. Because, when you believe you are an innovator and influencer, than you are not so worried about nitty details like appropriate usage.
GrammarGirl says it best when describing Steve Jobs’ usage of the word funnest:
…(he) just thrust "funnest" into the spotlight. I predict the "funnest iPod ever" campaign will increase the general use of "funnest" and could even push it into the informal usage category. Now that's power.
Not just power, but the powerest!