What Do Hobbits, Robots, and Yahoos Have In Common? They're Famous Authors' Made Up Words

09/03/2010 05:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Words come from everywhere. TV shows are productive -- look at "Battlestar Galactica's" "frak," Stephen Colbert's "truthiness," and "30 Rock's" "blurgh." Wacky news events like the Steven Slater JetBlue story get people talking about "hitting the slide" or "pulling a Slater." Politicians accidently coin terms like "misunderestimate" and "refudiate." Language is not discriminating -- it's a ravenous, all-encompassing beast, and its unpredictable evolution swallows and mutates words from all sources.

This indiscriminate gluttony may give pause to some who wish that language could be shined and preserved like a fine vase. Fortunately for literature lovers, some of the finest writers ever have given us some of the most successful words ever. Though science fiction has naturally been a major contributor -- after all, new worlds require new words -- virtually any kind of writer is likely to coin a new term, and some of those terms stick. Here's a look at a few of the stickiest.

Mark Peters is a language columnist for Good and Visual Thesaurus. He can be found on Twitter here.

Hobbits Agnostics and Yahoos