A nonce word is one made up on the spot, for the occasion — a one-off, one-time-use word, as it were. Recently I wanted to say “silhouette”, but the word would not come to mind — so instead, shadow-outline plopped out.
I was immediately struck with how elegant and self-explanatory this nonce word is. I’ve tried slipping it into conversation, but that’s been quite hard — how often do we talk about “silhouettes”, in any case? But when I have used it, it seems to have gone down well. That is, nobody has noticed I’ve smuggled in a made-up word — and I seem to have been clearly understood(!)
So there we are. Shadow-outline. A nonce word worth keeping around, perhaps (if I do say so myself)? And it also does away with remembering how to spell that Frenchy word S-I-L-H-O-U-E-T-T-E.
© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silhouette#/media/File%3AMister_Bethany_and_Patience_Wright.jpg