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When I searched for this question, I found questions regarding whether asking for people to coin words is on-topic.

I have a little bit of a different question.

Suppose if OP is making a single word request, and is not asking for a word to be coined, but there simply is no good word for what they are asking for. Can I then answer with a newly constructed word?

I have quite a strong feeling the answer is going to be "no", but I just want to confirm it.

For example, in this question, I (somewhat jokingly) constructed the word "samsaraphobia" in a comment.

It's not absolutely new (A Google search tells me some people have used the adjective "samsaraphobic" already), but it's certainly not in any dictionary or anything like that.

Would it ever be acceptable to post such a constructed word as an answer to a single word request?

  • What do you mean by "acceptable"? I have much higher personal standards for answers that propose neologisms, so I'm likely to downvote them if I don't like the sound of the word, or the way it is formed. But I don't try to get them deleted by flagging them (unless there are other reasons to flag). – sumelic Jun 9 '16 at 21:01
  • @sumelic I see. By "acceptable" I mean exactly what you say. That it won't be deleted. And might be downvoted or upvoted based on its quality and composition. – Revetahw Jun 9 '16 at 21:04
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A question asking for people to coin a word is out of scope for this site. A coinage in an answer might be in scope, depending on how well-reasoned it is.

If the answer is a coinage which follows naturally from the way the language works, such as your example "samsaraphobia" which follows from the common practice of sticking "-phobia" on new things people are afraid of, that seems well-reasoned. Such an answer would be easy to defend by including a link to the "-phobia" suffix in a good dictionary.

Here is where I am coming from. The purpose of the site is to collect useful, reliable answers to questions. Because of this, questions for which answers will necessarily be arbitrary or opinionated are not a good fit. We cover this in the FAQ section about what questions NOT to ask.

We also cover a special case of this in the FAQ section about what questions TO ask, where we say that asking for help to name something is out of scope. Though that prohibition is in there mainly to fend off frequent requests to "name the variable", coining a word is arguably asking for help to name something.

And this also means answers which are arbitrary or opinionated are out of scope as well. A good answer is well-reasoned and reliable.

  • Alright. I guess I'll make my "samsaraphobia" comment into an answer then. – Revetahw Jun 9 '16 at 21:02
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    @Fiksdal note that 'samsara' is not really a greek root, which would make your construction... informal at best. You can make up anything you want and if people use it, then that's is. I'm just saying that there might be counterarguments against yours. – Mitch Jun 9 '16 at 21:07
  • @Mitch Right, I'm mixing Sanskrit and Greek :) Hehe. Anyway, I'm not expecting any upvotes. If I get some downvotes and end up deleting my answer, I might get a peer-pressure badge! Does this site have that? There's always a silver lining :) – Revetahw Jun 9 '16 at 21:21
  • @Fiksdal Yes! There is a peer-pressure badge but you need to delete after it gets down to -3. – Mitch Jun 9 '16 at 22:06
  • @Mitch Cool. Sounds good either way then. – Revetahw Jun 9 '16 at 22:07
  • I'd also add that I've found a lot of agglutination is unfamiliar to most native English speakers, as they often rely on morphemes from languages like Latin and Greek (e.g. compare German, which is infamous for intuitive agglutination). To me, this fact would stack the odds against being able to reasonably suggest a neologism that is intuitive to the audience. – Myles Jul 28 '17 at 14:07

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