It turns out, many, many words in English don’t have a dictionary definition. Lexicographer Erin McKean shares a few favorites.
  1. Aeroir
    The concept of terroir will be familiar to most Edible Geography readers; recently, we also explored the idea of ‘merroir,’ or tasting place in sea salt. But what about aeroir — the atmospheric taste of place? - Nicola Twilley,
  2. Agalmics
    Agalmics is an approach to (or more properly, perhaps, an alternative to) economics which acknowledges that non-scarce goods will always be copied, whether legally or illegally. - Elliot Smith,
  3. Agender
    The term “agender” means to express one’s gender outside of the male and female genders. - Chanel Adams,
  4. Anachronym
    At first glance, it seems it may be turning into what linguist Ben Zimmer calls an ‘anachronym,’ a word or phrase that remains in usage even as behaviors change. - Adrienne LaFrance,
  5. Bettabilitarianism
    This is consistent with Oliver Wendell Holmes’ ‘bettabilitarianism,’ his answer to utilitarianism; every time we act, we effectively make a bet with the universe which may or may not pay off. - Thomas Malaby,
  6. Biketender
    Tomorrow and Saturday, a bicycling bartender, or ‘biketender,’ will deliver cocktails you order up via the Uber app. - Molly Brown,
  7. Champing
    The Churches Conservation Trust in the United Kingdom has introduced a new slow-tourism escape it calls “champing”—a play on words for camping in churches. - Jade Perry,
  8. Dronie
    The latest self-portrait craze to grip the narcissists of the internet are called dronies – and involve using a remote-controlled aircraft to snap images. - Jasper Hamill,
  9. Egregore
    A Christian friend pointed me to the concept of an egregore — ‘an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people.’ - Sarah Perry,
  10. Firenado
    The swirling inferno that you see there is called a firenado, basically a tornado on the ground with smoke and flames shooting up from inside of it. - John Roberts,
  11. Hyperloop
    The hyperloop, you may recall, is a transportation concept pitched in 2013 by industrialist Elon Musk, in which passenger or cargo capsules shoot through tubes at speeds of up to 750 miles an hour. - Bruce Upbin,
  12. Letterlocking
    She has coined the word ‘letterlocking’ to describe methods of folding and gluing pages to deter snooping. - Eve M. Kahn,
  13. Overchoice
    In Future Shock, [Alvin] Toffler coined the term “overchoice”, predicting that consumers would face an increasing range of choices as sellers continually try to differentiate themselves. - Steve Coulson,
  14. Philanthropreneur
    In practice, the philanthropreneur applies practical and entrepreneurial approaches to the pursuit of philanthropy. - Rajesh Chandy,
  15. Sneckdown
    A sneckdown is a curb extension caused by snowfall that shows where a street can be narrowed to slow cars + shorten ped crossing distances. - @jen_keesmaat
  16. Sordophone
    We asked for help coming up with a word for that thing where a word is innocent in its native language, but sounds like a dirty word to foreign speakers. And not only did we come up with a word — “sordophone” — but also, a pretty impressive list of words that travelers should be careful about saying. - Charlie Jane Anders,
  17. Sprummer
    Mr. Entwisle has proposed “sprummer” – the season between spring and summer – and “sprinter” – an early spring.” - Ben Schott,
  18. Supertasker
    The term “supertasker” is given to individuals able to successfully accomplish two or more tasks at once — a quality possessed by less than 2.5 percent of people. - Josh Bennett,
  19. Typogram
    A typogram is a word that, through the manipulation of the letterform itself, illustrates the meaning of the word. - Ali Gray,
  20. Zemblanity
    Zemblanity, the opposite of serendipity, the faculty of making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries by design. - William Safire, The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time