A word for a word that's fun to say?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 6 20:52:21 UTC 2006

>Is there a term for a neologism that had a limited, specific life in a
>very particular context, was more than a nonce term, but has probably
>never been used again? The term I am thinking of was used by my younger
>sister and me when I was a child. My parents may have heard it, but almost
>certainly did not remember it. One parent is dead now, and I am certain
>that the other has no memory of it. My sister is also dead, so I am the
>only one, so far as I know, who remembers it. I suppose it dies with me!
>I wonder how many words there are like that?
Hey, no fair.  You can't keep us on hanging on!  I am willing to
vouchsafe that my baby brother [now a 54-year-old World Bank
supervisor]'s word for 'canteloupe' was [ab@'dab at di] (antepenultimate
stress) and my son [now a 24 year old student]'s word for 'waterfall'
was ['mb at jui 'gogo], compositionally derived from mb at jui 'big' + gogo
'water' (those are syllabic [m]s rather than pre-nasalized [b]s, if
you were wondering).  Neither speaker now uses their respective
neologism at this point, but I suppose reversion is always a


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