Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker


Maybe this is the answer to all the emails I get from people claiming to have created a previously unknown word. Most of the time they’re wrong—they didn’t invent a unique word, but merely re-coined it (see this post on what “to coin” can now mean: not to invent a word, but merely to say it in a noteworthy fashion), or heard it before and it stuck in their subconscious, or even—and this is true—they know perfectly well they didn’t invent the word in question but they’re making a power grab anyway.

Much of the time, even if it does appear that the word is absolutely original (as far as can be determined in the searchable written record), the word is a sure loser. Doomed to fail, as most words are. They’re like mayflies, I always say—a single day on this earth looking for love, then oblivion. Like most of the words in Merriam-Webster’s Open Dictionary. Losers.

Yet there’s a need for recognition. That’s all most neologizing correspondents want. “Remember me. I was the one.”

Googlemark uses the Google programming interface to live search the Google index for the a string typed in the Googlemark search field. If it finds it, it says so. If it doesn’t, you get to register your word as a Googlemark. It’s like a trademark only for words that don’t exist in Google. That makes it your word. You now have some kind of proof. Of course, if you created a brand new word and Google indexed it before you can Googlemark it, then you’re screwed.

I found the site, incidentally, because someone tried to Googlemark chillax and clicked over to my web site when the word proved not to be Googlemarkable.

In any case, I Googlemarked the word butternuttership which I define as an unpaid internship in which the intern subsists on candy out of vending machines. It’s based loosely on the Nabisco Nutter Butter cookies with a slight rearrangement of the name. Not many vending machines have them, but snickership and trailmixship seemed like 12-hour losers instead of the full 24-hour loserdom of butternuttership.

And here’s my Googlemark for butternuttership (apparently the 107th Googlemarked word):


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Grant Barrett