English Novels with Author-Created Words

Goals

To identify a list of three books using made up words/phrases which were created by the author, along with examples of the made up words used in the book.

Early Findings

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

  • This classic children's book and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, both by Lewis Carrol contain a number of made-up words and phrases. While some of those words have made it into modern dictionaries - such as chortle, meaning "to laugh or chuckle especially when amused or pleased" - others remain "made-up" today.
  • Carrol was known for making up words and phrases in all of his writing, including several other books and poems.
  • Some of the made-up words created by Carrol and used in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass include "chortle", "jaberwocky", and "brillig".

HARRY POTTER SERIES

  • This well-known children's series contains a number of words and phrases made up by the author, J. K. Rowling.
  • Perhaps most well-known is the word "muggle", meaning a non-magic person. However, Rowling also included a number of made-up words and phrases used in spells and other areas of the books, such as "lumos", "alohomora", and "horcrux".
  • Several of the words used in Rowling's writing were derived from existing Latin words and phrases, though the author changed them to fit her use.

LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT

  • The popular book series Lord of the Rings, and the prequel The Hobbit contain a number of words made up by the author, J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • One such word - "tween", which now refers to pre-teenagers - was originally used by Tolkien in both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to refer to hobbits in their twenties.

DOCTOR SEUSS

  • Perhaps more than any other author, Dr. Seuss made up a number of words used in his various children's books.
  • Several such words include "fuddle" in On Beyond Zebra, "zummers", "flunnel", and "kweet".

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