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Nonce Word


nonce word

A nonce word (also called an occasionalism) is a lexeme created for a single occasion to solve an immediate problem of communication.

Some nonce words may acquire a fixed meaning inferred from context and use, possibly even becoming an established part of the language, at which point they stop being nonce words. Some nonce words may be essentially meaningless and disposable, but they are useful for exactly that reason — the words “wug” and “blicket” for instance were invented by researchers to be used in exercises in child language testing.

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