Words in English public website
Ling/Engl 215 course information
Rice University
Prof S. Kemmer

My Neologisms

I created this page to log some of the new words I have come across in recent years. It will be my own draft word journal. I am still constructing the format so this is not in final form.
--Suzanne Kemmer

snipe, n.
A graphic displayed in the periphery of a TV screen during a program. It displays a promotional clip for a program other than the one currently broadcasting.


The promotional ads for "The Closer" run in the bottom right of the screen during other TNT programs--a graphic called a snipe. But for Ms. Corbin, who sometimes watches movies that have subtitles, the tiny images block the dialogue.
Source: NYT 9/25/07 "As the Fall season arrives, TV screens get more cluttered"

Word Formation Process: (hypothesized) Zero derivation of the verb snipe 'shoot from a hidden position'. (V to N zero derivation). There is a noun snipe 'a shot from a hidden position', zero-derived from the verb 'snipe', But the noun is much rarer than the verb so it is likelier that the verb is the most direct source for this new meaning. The verb meaning 'shoot' was semantically extended from its original meaning 'to hunt snipe', and this verb was itself a zero-derivation from the noun snipe 'a type of long-billed marsh bird shot as game'.

Etymology: (hypothesized) Possibly from the verb to snipe 'to take a shot from a hidden or distant place', via metaphorical extension. ME snype (n.) < ON [myri]snipa '(moor)snipe'. Germanic cognates: N. snipa, G. Schnepfe.

bug, n.
A network logo that appears in the corner of a TV screen during a program for station identification without a commercial break.


The snipes--not to be confused with bugs, those network logos that pop up in screen corners during shows--are important enough to the beleaguered television industry that the networks plan to tolerate the backlash.

Source: NYT 9/25/07 "As the Fall season arrives, TV screens get more cluttered"

Word formation process: None. Existing word form and function was used.

Etymology: Semantic extension of bug in the meaning 'small annoying insect'. Metaphorical extension probably based on size and annoyance.

Source abbreviations
NYT: New York Times Language abbreviations
OE: Old English, 650-1100
ME: Middle English, 1100-1650
ENE: Early Modern English (N stands for New to disambiguate from Middle English) 1650-present
ON: Old Norse 800-1300
Du: Dutch
G: German
N: Norwegian
Sw: Swedish
Da: Danish
L: Latin
OF: Old French
F: French
Sp: Spanish
I: Italian

Part of speech (syntactic function) abbreviations
n.: noun
v.: verb
a.: adjective
adv.: adverb
p.: preposition
conj.: conjunction

© 2007 Suzanne Kemmer
Last modified 25 Aug 13