Will the team of Dictionary-Makers put the word I have invented into one of their dictionaries?

All of Oxford's English dictionaries aim to include primarily those words that have genuinely entered the English language. The use of a newly invented word by a single person is not sufficient to merit a dictionary entry (unless the person happens to be, for example, William Shakespeare or Jane Austen).

In previous centuries there were dictionaries in which writers listed words which they thought might be useful, even if they did not have any evidence that anyone had ever actually used them. Often these were derived from Latin or Greek words, like the inkhorn terms which became fashionable in the 16th century. Only a few of the more noteworthy of these words are listed in the OED.

There is nothing to stop you using an invented word - so long as you don't mind the fact that it will not be understood and will have to be explained every time. If it genuinely fills a gap in the language, then it may well catch on among a significant section of the population. It will then have become part of the language and if it is used in print (or can be traced, for example, in scripts or transcripts of broadcasts), it will fall within the sphere of the OED's Reading Programme.

See our section on new words

There are a number of genuinely invented words in the Oxford English Dictionary. As well as various terms for commercial and industrial products, they include:

• blatant (Edmund Spenser, 1596)

• blik (R.M. Hare, 1950)

• camelious (Rudyard Kipling, 1902)

• finnimbrun (Izaak Walton, 1653)

• gigman (Thomas Carlyle, 1830)

• Gondal (Emily and Anne Brontë, 1834)

• googol (Dr Kasner's 9-year-old nephew, 1940)

• grok (Robert Heinlein, 1961)

• hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937)

• od (Baron von Reichenbach, c.1850)

• panorama (R. Barker, 1789)

• pushmi-pullyu (Hugh Lofting, 1922)

• quark (M. Gell-Mann, 1964)

• runcible (Edward Lear, 1871)

• shazam (Whiz Comics, 1940)

• shmoo (Al Capp, 1948)

• slan (A.E. Van Vogt, 1940)

• spoof (Arthur Roberts, 1884)

• sukebind (Stella Gibbons, 1932)

• tracklement (Dorothy Hartley, 1954)

• vril (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1871)

And a good number of words from the works of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) are there in OED. Dictionary-Makers will decide the matters with evidences.

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