Following my post about ancient Greek words for love, I came across this article from Sexualities journal (PDF download):

‘There Aren’t Words For What We Do Or Feel So We Have To Make Them Up’: Constructing Polyamorous Languages In A Culture Of Compulsory Monogamy

Personally I think words have extraordinary power to not only convey our thoughts but also to shape them, so the coining of neologisms within polyamory makes perfect sense to me. In a way, I’m almost surprised we haven’t come up with new words for different kinds of love!


10 responses to “Neologisms

  1. I shall read the document when I have more time, but my first thought here was “why don’t we stick words together, like the Germans do?” Or like Orwellian newspeak? Everyone would know that meltybrainlove, loinfirelove, supercontentedlove, epicfriendlove and awesomebabylove are different things 🙂

  2. A definite vote for meltybrainlove.

  3. Pingback: Word of the Week Wednesday: neoterism « On Language

  4. Thanks for that; it’s a great find! I’m surprised that I haven’t heard “frubbly,” but that I have heard and seen often used “compersion.” I wonder if “compersion” just seemed like a more “presentable” word for explaining polyamorous emotions in the media.

    • Interesting! I have friends who use both, but I’m afraid I have a personal and irrational dislike of ‘frubbly’… It’s too cutesy for my taste. And that’s probably exactly why some people prefer it over ‘compersion’; it doesn’t have the dry academic connotations they might dislike in ‘compersion’.

      • And perhaps the dry, academic connotations are exactly why I see it more often: I’m a nerd who loves reading dry, academic readings. I think “compersion” over “frubbly” gives polyamory a more “serious” and “valid” appearance in writing, for those trying to explain/justify polyamory to people who have never heard about it before.

      • Yes, likewise – many people other than me have pointed out the nerd-poly crossover! (see also knitting – in conversation with a metamour once, we agreed that if a woman mentions her multiple relationships, and her left-wing politics, you can generally say ‘and what do you have on the needles at the moment?’ and get an enthusiastic response!)

        That’s an interesting idea though, about compersion conveying more legitimacy than frubbly. Instinctively that seems to make sense to me – perhaps that’s why frubbly as a word makes me squirmy-uncomfortable and I don’t think I’ve ever said it out loud, but compersion I enjoy discussing, and explaining as a concept to monogamous friends.

  5. Compersion has a Latinate prefix and suffix which gives it academic credibility, whereas frubbly sounds like a slang word or one made up by children or an ad agency. It also sounds like an adjective. Or an ice-lolly.

  6. Pingback: is monogamy best? is polyamory wrong? « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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