An entertaining piece today in the Guardian, “The top 10 words invented by writers,” by Paul Dickson, reminds us how writers in every age bolster and enrich the language through their inventions.  Many more words than the ten Dickson mentions have entered the language through the devices of storytellers, such as “gallumph” (Lewis Carroll), “pandemonium” (Milton), “nerd” (Dr. Seuss), “twitter” (Chaucer), and “robot” (Capek).  Shakespeare alone, of course, accounts for many, like “obscene,” “luggage,” and “swagger.”

On a personal level, as a writer, you know you’ve had a small but gratifying influence on the culture when a word or expression from your fiction is cited as an example in an independent source.  Too bad that in my case the citation (from my first novel, HARD FEELINGS, 1977) is for “dickbrain.”