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Word for the Wise November 13, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Nonce words

This Election Day we’re recalling November 7th, 1944, the day Franklin Delano Roosevelt won his final—and fourth—presidential election. This unusual event (we challenge anyone to come up with another such occasion in our nation’s history) finds us thinking about other onetime happenings. (来源:英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

In language, such occurrences are known as nonce words: "words occurring, used, or made only once or for a special occasion." Usually, but not always, a person can figure out the meaning of a nonce word; after all, its creator made it up in order to convey a particular meaning for a particular instance. And, for those curious about how the word nonce came into being: it was an alteration and misdivision of such phrases as to then anes meaning "to the one purpose."

A good example of nonce words comes from those created by the Washington Post Style Invitational contest in which readers are challenged to change one letter in an existing word to create a new word. Turn hepatitis into hipatitis, for example, to get something defined as "terminal coolness." Replacing the first O in intoxication to an A yields intaxication, the euphoria at receiving a tax refund which lasts until you remember it was your money to begin with.

 
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