[ nee-ol-uh-jiz-uhm ]
See synonyms for neologism on
  1. a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.

  2. the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.

  1. a new doctrine, especially a new interpretation of sacred writings.

  2. Psychiatry. a new word, often consisting of a combination of other words, that is understood only by the speaker: occurring most often in the speech of schizophrenics.

Origin of neologism

From the French word néologisme, dating back to 1790–1800. See neology, -ism

Other words from neologism

  • ne·ol·o·gist, noun
  • ne·ol·o·gis·tic, ne·ol·o·gis·ti·cal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use neologism in a sentence

  • Their nomenclature was copious; but the revolutionary jargon often shows the danger and the necessity of neologisms.

  • A great swarm of neologisms thus arose, and, as in the previous case, they were chiefly compounds.

    The American Language | Henry L. Mencken
  • It is permissible to regard many of the neologisms imagined by the insane as examples of stereotyped speech.

British Dictionary definitions for neologism



/ (nɪˈɒləˌdʒɪzəm) /

nounplural -gisms or -gies
  1. a newly coined word, or a phrase or familiar word used in a new sense

  2. the practice of using or introducing neologisms

  1. rare a tendency towards adopting new views, esp rationalist views, in matters of religion

Origin of neologism

C18: via French from neo- + -logism, from Greek logos word, saying

Derived forms of neologism

  • neologist, noun
  • neologistic, neologistical or neological (ˌnɪəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjective
  • neologistically or neologically, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012