Authorisms: Words wrought by writers
Bloomsbury, $19.99 hb, 228 pp
American Paul Dickson has written many books on aspects of language, including Words from the White House (2013). He also claims to have invented some fifty words, although he admits that only two of these have any real chance of becoming ‘household words’: word word ‘a word that is repeated to distinguish it from a seemingly identical word or name’, as in ‘a book book to distinguish the prior work in question from an e-book’; and demonym ‘a name commonly given to the residents of a place or a people’ (as Briton or Liverpudlian). In his new book, Dickson includes these two words, along with a solid collection of English neologisms from mainly English authors from Chaucer to the present. Such is the prerogative of the author of a book on authorisms.