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Coined by Mikhail Epstein from Ancient Greek πρῶτος ‎(prôtos, first) +‎ Ancient Greek λόγος ‎(lógos, word), by analogy with prototype and neologism[1] [2], 2000s.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɹəʊˈtɒləˌdʒɪzm/


protologism ‎(plural protologisms)

  1. (neologism) A newly coined word or phrase defined in the hope that it will become common; a recently created term possibly in narrow use but not yet acknowledged.
    • 2007 April, William Skidelsky, “Will's words”, Prospect:
      This word is so new-fangled that it hasn't yet been accepted as part of the language—which makes it not a "neologism" but a "protologism."
    • 2009, Heinz R. Gisel, “And Then There Was Light”, in In Foodture We Trust[3], ISBN 9781607912651, page 123:
      The biophotonics hypothesis finds support from a completely different and unexpected angle: the protologism “epi-genetics” - or the “Biology of Belief” was coined by Dr. Bruce Lipton, who has also been a pioneer in applying the principles of quantum phusics to the field of cellular biology.
    • 2009 December 12, Satendra Singh; Shikha Gautam, “Animation-Based Lectures in Renal Physiology: Transcendence into Metacognition”, in Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions[4], volume 6, ISSN 1975-5937:
      The linguistic invention-animation-based lectures (ABL) as a protologism was first used by us in 2009.
    • 2010 August, Alexander Humez et al., Short Cuts, A Guide to Oaths, Ring Tones, Ransom Notes, Famous Last Words, and Other Forms of Minimalist Communication, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195389131, preface, unpaged:
      Short Cuts examines a wide range of minimalist discursive genres as varied as the bank robber note, the oath of allegiance, the sniglet, and the Facebook profile, focusing on some, mentioning others only in passing (e.g., the pickup line and the protologism), and leaving others unmentioned.
    • 2011, Hubertus Busche, Departure for Modern Europe, A Handbook of Early Modern Philosophy (1400-1700), Meiner Verlag, ISBN 3787323961, page 1221:
      So, in many contexts, he will just go back to the use of words predating his own neologization and pitilessly abandon a ‘protologism’ with which he’s not comfortable.
    • 2013 July 12, “3rd annual ‘Write On, Oceanside’ — July 20”, “Community Notes” [5], La Prensa San Diego:
      Attendees will be encouraged to try their hand at protologism (creating new words) and become the Shake-spears [sic] of Oceanside!
    • 2014 October 7, Janet Kemp, The Star-Spangled Banner, 170 Success Secrets, Emereo Publishing, unpaged:
      Among the workforce and scholars, the abbreviation for the school's designation, CSKYWLA (pronounced seeskeeWAHlah), has been minted as a protologism to that this meaning has specified – to be sanctioned by grant, nonviolence, and communal change.
    • 2015, Peter O. Müller, Word-Formation, An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe, Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 3110423618, unpaged:
      Ėpštejn's projective dictionary should be a collection of protologisms, a protologism being a new word, coined to designate a new phenomenon or to fill in blank spaces and semantic voids in the lexical-conceptual system, as he proclaimed in 2003.

Coordinate terms[edit]



  1. ^
    2016 August 8 (last accessed), Mikhail Epstein, “PreDictionary: Experiments in Verbal Creativity”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1]:
  2. ^
    2016 August 8 (last accessed), Michael Quinion, “Protologism”, in World Wide Words[2]:

External links[edit]