“Crushing terror” wasn’t cutting it, nor was “deep depression” or anything else so, when philosopher Glenn Albrecht was looking for a word to describe the kind of emotional pain and yearning people felt for how climate change was impacting their environment he invented one: Solastalgia.

I haven’t known a writer worth her or his salt that didn’t occasionally play fast and loose not just with grammar but with language, terminology and verbiage themselves. You make up a word or a term here and there because you’re feeling like the right word or phrase won’t come to mind, or it’s just not working in what you’re writing.

Whatever you make up or use, though, isn’t exactly official. There’s rarely any Quartz or Vice or Buzzfeed story about your creation. Quite frankly, that’s because those words usually don’t come as the result of any serious rigor or research, they’re just something amusing or pithy that comes to mind.

When that happens you kind of just hope the audience understands what you’re going for via the context and what’s happening around that new little actor you just inserted.

In my experience those new words don’t often come back up later on. They stay there as if they’re encased in amber having served their purpose and aren’t called upon again.

If there’s one regret I have it’s that I haven’t kept a running list of the linguistic curveballs I’ve thrown over the years. It would interesting to go back occasionally and see what’s been offered and how well it’s worked and in what setting.

In the meantime, keep creating new words with the old ones just won’t do. Come up with that odd little gremlin and set it loose on your readers just to see what happens. It’s more than a little fun.

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