Grad students often find themselves mired in a swamp of language that includes jargon particular to their area of study, neologisms created by whoever the star academics might be at the moment, and the need to, sometimes (though less often that probably occurs), coin their own words that communicate with an exactness that might be missing from more pedestrian or oft-used words. Which is why this essay about what constitutes a “word” and why dictating by fiat that “x is not a word,” holds no intellectual weight is a great read.
Neologisms, jargon, and words that shift function (e.g. verbings) attract particular condemnation. New words can seem ugly, pointless, or ridiculous at first, but over time, many have snuck into standard usage. I’m not arguing for the default acceptance of all newcomers, but by tolerating them long enough to assess them without prejudice, we can reorient(ate) ourselves to new linguistic possibilities. Peevers: criticise pet-hate words if you must, but don’t assume that you’re right and that people who use them are lesser beings. Repressive lexi-quibbling overlooks the fact that language is fiercely playful and productive. It invites our creativity. Wordnik’s Erin McKean put it succinctly: “If it seems wordish, use it.”(From ‘Not a word’ is not an argument « Sentence first)
Certainly, as writers, academics should strive for clarity of communication over obfuscation and jargon. However, as writers, communicators, and humans, we should never be afraid to coin a term, or create a word that helps us communicate our ideas regardless of what those who ordain themselves “word police” may say.