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15 Words You Never Knew Came From Literature

Literary words

Did you know a lot of the words we use came from literature? That’s right, writers don’t just use words, sometimes they INVENT them too!

I’m a big fan of made-up words (though aren’t all words made up??).  I always look forward to hearing about the additions to the English dictionary. Last year ‘hellacious’ made it in, which I absolutely love … 2020 sure was that!

Of course, we don’t always know where the words come from … but sometimes authors coin a word that is so fitting, it ends up part of our culutral lexicon. Check out the infographic for 15 great words grabbed from literature, plus B2W’s take on my five favourites below it.

15 Words You Never Knew Came from Literature

From Visually.

B2W’s Take on Words Grabbed From Literature

Here’s my top 5 in no particular order …


Stephen King is a favourite on this blog … His advice in THIS POST is one of the most-hit articles on the entire site. I love how King’s easy style with words, so it’s no surprise he can coin them too. ‘Pie-hole’ feels like it’s been around forever, but the reality is it’s less than forty years old!


I would have wagered real money ‘freelance’ was a modern word … so just as well I am not a gambling woman! ‘Freelance’ is a useful word for writers, especially those who want to make money online. For a step by step guide on making money writing, CLICK HERE.

Catch 22

Writers frequently claim there’s a ‘Catch 22’ when it comes to getting an agent … ie. ‘You can’t get an agent without work, but you can’t get work without an agent.’ Part of B2W’s remit is proving this not true, as you can see in THIS POST.

What’s more, if you really want an agent, that’s fine too … but you have to ensure you do it the right way! To find out how, CLICK HERE.


‘Nerd’ was a surprise … plus modern readers would probably argue over the definition here. In addition, If I Ran The Zoo was one of the Seuss titles recently withdrawn for insensitive racial depictions of black and Chinese People. Needless to say the writing world was up in arms with cries of ‘cancel culture’ (though the evidence does not support these claims, more HERE).


Of course, Shakespeare was the king of made up words! I knew this one already, but have a particular penchant for it … It really does describe the feeling of looking upon something truly horrible.

Which is YOUR favourite? Share in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “15 Words You Never Knew Came From Literature”

  1. Sorry, but pie-hole has been used for decades in England. “Shut your pie-hole!” My grandparents used it as well as “cake-hole.”

    1. I’m also in the UK … only ever heard ‘cake-hole’, tbh. Also, **recorded use** like King’s tends to popularise a phrase, whether he actually made it up or not.

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