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Book: The Five-Minute Linguist

Chapter: 9. What Makes a Word 'Real'?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38128


One could argue that slang words like ‘hangry,’ ‘defriend’ and ‘adorkable’ fill crucial meaning gaps in the English language, even if they don't appear in the dictionary. After all, who actually decides which words make it into those pages? What makes a word real?

Chapter Contributors

  • Anne Curzan ( - acurzan) 'University of Michigan'