Quotes on coining a word

What writers & others say

Quotes on coining a word

“I’m a doctor — I can add ‘ectomy’ to any word I choose.” — Doctor talking to a patient in a Paul Noth cartoon for The New Yorker. Image by Piron Guillaume

“You can taste a word.”
— Pearl Bailey, American popular singer

“The search is for the just word, the happy phrase, that will give expression to the thought, but somehow the thought itself is transfigured by the phrase when found.”
— Benjamin N. Cardozo, U.S. Supreme Court justice

“Words are free born, and not the vassals of the gruff tyrants of prose to do their bidding only. They have the same right to dance and sing, as the dew drops have to sparkle, and the stars to shine.”
— Abraham Coles, author, in The Evangel

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.”
— Hart Crane, an American poet

“Words are the legs of the mind; they bear it about, carry it from point to point, bed it down at night, and keep it off the ground and out of the marsh and mists.”
— Richard Eder, reporter and critic for The New York Times

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content, according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court justice

“Half-and-half words are almost guaranteed to stand out in the crowd — because there is no crowd.”
— Sam Horn, author, POP! Stand Out In Any Crowd

“Words are the humming-birds of the imagination.”
— Elbert Hubbard, American writer, editor and printer

“A tune is more lasting than the song of birds. And a word is more lasting than the wealth of the world.”
— Irish proverb

“In the beginning was the Word.”
— John 1:1

“I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.”
— Samuel Johnson, English writer, critic and conversationalist

“Language is the dress of thought; every time you talk your mind is on parade.”
— Samuel Johnson, English writer, critic and conversationalist

“Words, like eyeglasses, blur everything that they do not make clearer.”
— Joseph Joubert, French essayist

“The names of ancient illnesses are condensed stories in their own right. Typhus, a stormy disease, with erratic, vaporous fevers, arose from the Greek tuphon, the father of winds — a word that also gives rise to the modern typhoon. Influenza emerged from the Latin influentia because medieval doctors imagined that the cyclical epidemics of flu were influenced by stars and planets revolving toward and away from the earth. Tuberculosis coagulated out of the Latin tuber, referring to the swollen lumps of glands that looked like small vegetables. Lymphatic tuberculosis, TB of the lymph glands, was called scrofula, from the Latin word for “piglet,” evoking the rather morbid image of a chain of swollen glands arranged in a line like a group of suckling pigs.”
— Siddhartha Mukherjee, author, The Emperor of All Maladies

“Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.”
— Ezra Pound, American expatriate poet and critic

“I’m a doctor — I can add ‘ectomy’ to any word I choose.”
— Doctor talking to a patient in a Paul Noth cartoon for The New Yorker
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    Play With Your Words: Cut through the clutter of competing messages

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