Wordsimples: inventing jargon by mashing together simple words

Sometimes when I listen to people talk I notice some of the odd ways people use language. For example, I find it fun to sometimes imagine people literally doing the things they say they will do. When I hear “I’m going to run to the bathroom” I amuse myself imaging a full sprint.

One thing I’ve noticed more of are what I call “wordsimples.” A wordsimple is a mash up of two more common words to convey a more complex thing or meaning. Wordsimple is itself meant to be a wordsimple.

I find that wordsimples are often created as meaningful jargon used in jobs. This may strike some as an interesting example. I would say that pushback as an aviation term is a wordsimple, as it means to convey that one vehicle is pushing back an aircraft in preparation of departure.

I remember being tickled by the word wormsign in Dune (2021). I noticed it and thought that there was a certain authenticity to creating a wordsimple like this in a world with giant marauding sand worms.

The movie that started me noticing wordsimples in my life.

In my life I’ll sometimes keep my hears perked up for more examples of wordsimples.

Example Wordsimples

  • Wormsign
  • Grasshopper
  • Footman
  • Pushback
  • Speakeasy

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