A brave new word

George was a thoughtful man, and for years had devoted himself to the little known art of neologism. This activity of his did not pay — truly creative work rarely does; it was a hobby. He would spend weeks’ evenings on a single word, carefully crafting its syllables to echo the very things he was conjuring. Some words spanned impossible sets of incongruous objects all lassoed into one generous term; others designated almost nothing or just about everything. Some words were beautiful and hung in gilded frames around his house; most, however, had likely never been uttered by anyone besides the man himself.

Yet one day, probably out of sheer luck, George invented an important word. As usual, he carefully spelled it out and posted his minutely crafted definition on the internet where everyone could, but so few would, see it. This time, however, the new word took on a life of its own. Somehow, George had come up with something truly useful. Soon, his new creation was to appear here and there, quoted by curious parties, early adopters, linguists and daring students of philosophy.

Many before him had made similar attempts, and their terminologies were strewn, half-discarded across the English language, but unlike theirs, George’s creation got it just right: whatever it was George had defined, his word had come alive, irreversibly printing itself upon its users by creating in their minds the very thing to which it referred. And this thing, George thought, has now begun to think.

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