Resources on coining words

Websites, books & tools

Resources on coining words

From anagrams to verbotomy, try these tools for coining words. Image by Giulia Bertelli

Acronyms: Make a mnemonic

Andy’s anagram solver

Type in your key word or phrase, and this tool will create anagrams from them. Whether you’ll like the anagrams, I can’t say. “Ann Wylie” generated “el yawn in” — not a phrase I’ll be using in my next training brochure!

Internet Anagram Server

Turn a list into a mnemonic device to help readers remember your key points. Create a meaningful acronym from the first letters of the words in your list with this online anagram server.

Play with words

The Washington Post Style Invitational

Gain inspiration from the winners — or play to win yourself.

Neologisms: Coin a word


Find inspiration for coining new words.

Word Fugitives

Barbara Wallraff’s column in The Atlantic that coins new words at readers’ request.

Word Fugitives: In Pursuit of Wanted Words

Barbara Wallraff’s brilliant book on coining words.


Find inspiration for writing your own half-and-half words from the word lover’s guide to new words.

  • Play With Your Words

    Cut through the clutter of competing messages

    There's a little piece of your brain — it's called the Broca's area — that's responsible for helping you sort through all of the many messages you get each day.

    Play With Your Words: Cut through the clutter of competing messages

    Well-worn phrases and familiar ideas don't activate the Broca's area. Plain old 'splainin' doesn't do anything for it either. But creative techniques like wordplay do.

    At Master the Art of the Storyteller — our two-day hands-on creative-writing master class on July 25-26 in Portland — you’ll learn how to tickle your readers' Broca's area — and cut through the clutter of competing messages — with wordplay. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Go beyond twist of phrase: Learn to flip phrases; compress details; sub soundalikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words.
    • Find online tools that do most of the work for you: Walk away with links to some of the best (free!) wordplay resources — as well as ideas for how to use them.
    • Polish your skills in our wordplay workout: Get “recipes” for creating 14 types of wordplay, from anagram to etymology to oxymoron.

Free writing tips
  • Get tips, tricks & trends for Catching Your Readers
  • Learn to write better, easier & faster
  • Discover proven-in-the-lab writing techniques