[Home]WordOfTheDay/Cromulent

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Cromulent can be used to mean valid and to mean invalid.

[WikiPedia] [UrbanDictionary]

I'm not entirely sure "was used on a TV show once to mean something, no-one knows quite what" really makes a collection of syllables a word. --MoonShadow
What does make something a word?  Shakespeare or Lewis Carroll using it once?  Or is it only a word once other people copy their usage?  Because I have seen other people use "cromulent".--DR
Well, presumably the people compiling dictionaries have thrashed out [a reasonable set of notability criteria] over the last century or two. Myself, I'd be tempted to suggest some kind of coupling of critical mass and a degrees-of-separation thing - "there exists a time when a large segment of the population used it, and most users knew it from a source other than the person/group who coined it and their circle of listeners/readers/watchers." You'd be hard-pressed to argue "brillig" and "toves" are words, for instance, even though a fair number of Carroll readers probably do randomly drop those into speech at times. Though I do like "a level of general currency where it is unselfconsciously used with the expectation of being understood". I've read all the definitions and I'm still not sure how I'd use this word or what my interlocutor would understand me to mean if I did, and I don't see that any other users are either. Note the way your own definition here, your Wikipedia link, and UrbanDictionary? all yield completely different results. --MoonShadow
FWIW, I've heard people use it in casual conversation to mean "valid" with undertones of "I know this is a neologism or otherwise dubious, but *I* consider it valid". I didn't know it was from The Simpsons until this wiki page cropped up. --AlexChurchill
It gets used quite a lot on Language Log. --Rachael
I bow to the plural of anecdote ;) --MoonShadow

Heh, I wonder how many of the other WOTD entries would meet the criteria of "unselfconsciously used with the expectation of being understood"? --DR


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