wikiHow to Create a Made Up Word

Three Methods:Borrowing a WordCreating Your Own WordWord Help

For fans of the game Balderdash, a board game that combines fibbing and the formation of new words, creating a new word of your own may seem like a breeze. For others, making your mark on the English language, probably feels a bit daunting or downright challicult (challenging + difficult). However, you will be surprised to learn that with a bit of inspiration and a lot of fun, you will be on your way to creating a brifect (brilliant + perfect) word in no time!

Method 1
Borrowing a Word

  1. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 1
    Start with a portmanteau. If you’ve tried your hand at creating a word from scratch but haven’t had much luck, you may want to consider a portmanteau. A portmanteau is a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog) [1].
    • Write down some of your favorite words on a piece of paper. Spend some time mixing and matching the words together. You’ll be surprised by all of the fabonderful (fabulous + wonderful) words you come up with.
  2. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 2
    Borrow from other languages. There are a plethora of words to choose from when you expand your search to those found in other languages. Loanwords, or borrowings, are words which are adopted into a native language from a different source language. Such borrowings have shaped the English language almost from its beginnings [2]
    • Buy or borrow a Spanish, French, German or Italian dictionary. Highlight some of your favorite words and then write them down on a sheet of paper. You’ll want to modify the words slightly, as the intention isn’t to use the same word, but to create your own.
    • Rent a movie in a different language. Don’t use the captions and listen as the actors speak. Have a pen and paper on hand and write down what you think the words are that are being spoken.
  3. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 3
    Turn an object into a verb. "Google (it)" has quite literally been transformed from a company name, into a verb. There are no shortage of objects or nouns that can also be repurposed with a bit of imagination.
    • To start, try spotting objects around your house and use them in a sentence as a verb. Don't expect everything to catch on, but over time, you may find one that will be a hit.
  4. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 4
    Take suggestions from a small child. Inspiration for new words can be found in surprising places. One such place is in your own family. Young children, who are learning how to speak, often don’t get it right on the first try. They create their own language as they navigate the English language.
    • Ask your young child what their favorite word is. If they are able to write, have them write it down. Otherwise, do your best to spell out what they are saying.
    • Listen to the babbling of your baby. You’ll be surprised how many words you come up with in a short amount of time.

Method 2
Creating Your Own Word

  1. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 5
    Understand how words are created. This will give you a basis for making up your own word. English words are formed in several ways. Although one way is to create them from scratch, other words have been formed by imitating sounds. Similarly, there are many more words, often in quite common use, that have arisen over time because someone has not heard the word correctly. [3]
    • Next time you don't understand someone correctly, turn a potentially embarrassing situation, into a learning opportunity by creating a new word.
    • Find inspiration at home. Listen to sounds naturally found around your home. You may be surprised by how many words you can come up with just by turning off the TV and listening to the environment around you.
    • Open up your window and let in the sounds from outside. This is another great source of inspiration.
  2. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 6
    Hyphenate two word phrases (think of "see you," which became, "cya!"). You may need to do a bit of tweaking to the spelling, as was done with "cya," but try to think of phrases you can combine in to one word.
    • Write down some of your favorite two or even three word phrases. See if you can create one word, which still makes a bit of sense.
  3. Image titled Create a Made Up Word Step 7
    Have fun brainstorming! More than anything, creating a made up word is supposed to be fun. Don’t worry about taking yourself too seriously. If you discover a great new word, share it with your friends and family and have fun using the word together.
    • To spread the word (pun intended), try using the word in a sentence, but be consistent.
    • Your new word will also need a definition, so have one on hand in case others ask you about it. This will help them understand how to use the word as it was intended.

Word Help

Sample Ideas for Making Up Words

Sample Made Up Words

Jabberwocky Poem


  • Once your word has been created, don't use it too much. Use it when it makes sense, and explain it if someone asks what it means. The more you use it in the right scenario, the more you will notice your friends using it!
  • Use your imagination.
  • If you are going to create many monikers, then make up your own dictionary of made-up words. You never know, one of your words may appear in a real one one day!
  • Try posting it on online dictionary websites, like []. It just might catch on!
  • Read [Jabberwocky] for inspiration. It has lots of made-up words that somehow manage to sound just like what they mean.
  • Another technique you can use is mixing and matching basic syllabic sounds. For example: sh+na+thee could then be spelled "Sh'nathe" and--voilà!--you now have the name of an Elven town.
  • If you like, put your made-up words on the discussion page for everyone to see.
  • Make sure your word sounds English (ex. Ring+Toe can be Rine or Tong).


  • Don't worry about skipping steps; the point is just to have fun.
  • Most scholarly dictionaries consider words to be neologisms or protologisms unless they are in widespread use over some period of time. Don't submit made-up words where they're not wanted.

Article Info

Categories: Language Games