Stephen Colbert coins another word into currency…

Stephen Colbert’s recent issue of coinage – psychopharma-parenting (also psychopharmaparenting) – introduced as “The Word” on July 25th, 2006, brought to mind a striking little metaphor with an impressive past. “Coin”, a word whose own use was also coined, holds a perpetual baby seat at the Table of Language, where it fires off peas at Onomatopoeia for being a copycat. We at the Metaphor Observatory value this word greatly, priding ourselves on the reckless coinage of words, and encouraging all others to help further bloat the English language and frustrate the cause of lexicographical permanence.

The word “coin” was originally minted in the year 1304, where it first appeared as a noun: a wedge used to stamp metal (O.F. “coigne“). Soon afterwards, the verb “to coin” was in circulation, meaning specifically “to mint a coin” (for a while, “mint” and “coin” shared meanings). Around 1590, Coin’s definition became double-struck through the metaphor “to coin a phrase[though some feel there is proof this etymology is in error, since Coin the Elder also sired a reclusive twin: "Quoin the Chased"]. Nonetheless, whether to mint or to print, to coin a phrase is to somehow stamp into being.

Dead metaphors make up an enormous part of the world’s languages. Trace any etymology halfways back and there’s a good chance it spent time as a living metaphor. In this way, metaphor is the mint where many
Metaphor is sighted being cited on The Colbert Report

words are coined. Not psychopharma-parenting though, which, as a whole or in its three parts, bears no apparent content metaphors. It does, however, contribute to the general purposes and philosophy of coiningism, which is why we’re here today.

For his unenfeeblable coininess and outstanding dedication to hyperlexicomorphing, The Metaphor Observatory would like to award Stephen Colbert the honorary title of “His Royal Wedginess“. But we can’t, because it isn’t within our authority.


“Coining a word leaves your mouth minty fresh!”
G.G. Falderal

Leave a Reply