Best-invented words

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Happy 100th birthday to the word “blurb.” What do you get a noun for its birthday?

Last week, the Toronto Star listed “blurb” as one of the best-invented words. Obviously we like it, but it was a nice surprise to see it get a little lingual love from the Canadian press.

As we mentioned in July 2006, “blurb” has been around for 100 years. The term stems from author Gelett Burgess’s use of a fictitious, buxom blonde, Miss Belinda Blurb, who adorned a dust jacket on one of his books a century ago. Michael Quinion of World Wide Words, describes it this way:

For the meeting in 1907, his book, selling well, was presented to members of the Association attending their annual dinner. As was usual, a special bookplate was designed; in this case it featured a young woman named Belinda Blurb shouting the praises of his work in effusive language. The booksellers and publishers clearly found the word an excellent one for the puffing encomiums on the dust jackets of books and by about 1914 it had become the standard term for them.

Can’t get enough of a particular utterance? Think it’s time to bring some long lost term back from the Middle Ages? Use your words – maybe invent a new one or two – and tell us below.

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