What is a neologism?

Definitions of neologisms vary significantly, as each of them stresses different elements. However, what they all have in common is that they are new words in the vocabulary of a language. For example, Anić (1998:1430) says: “In recent times taken as a distinct novelty in relation to an existing solution (word, expression etc.) or a new usage of an old or sometimes constructed word or meaning; a new construct. (…) a) newly construed words and new meanings; b) words that from their first record in old texts and books haven’t achieved a permanent and continuous status (were not in usage); c) some international and Russian words and formations.” The Croatian Language Advisor defines neologisms as “new words, new formations in language”.

Neologisms expand the vocabulary of a language for several reasons: the appearance of new concepts, objects or phenomena that require naming, the appearance of new names, for example expressive, stylistic, pragmatic, as well as many other reasons external to language. A neologism differs from the established vocabulary in its form or meaning. We usually divide them into two basic types: denominative, to which belong most neologisms that appeared in order to express a new experience, and stylistic, which usually stem from aesthetic principles of an author or a literary work. Stylistic neologisms are often one-time usages of new words we call hapaxes or occasionalisms.