How to Make Up Words That Are Funny


Why would someone want to make up words? Shakespeare did it to fit meter–and to be funny. If you are writing humor, creating your own slang or dialect or imitating certain speech patterns, it can be fun to liven up some writing with some juxtaposed words for humor.

Juxtapose two unlike words or say the exact opposite of what the reader expects, or misdirect to create a surprise. Do this by comparing two unlike things but add a twist, make a list and ensure the last one is a surprise, or use repetition of an idea or word but change it to something we didn’t see coming the last time.

Juxtaposing Words Exercise: Choose a prefix, or suffix from the list below and combine them with another word to make up your own meaning of a word.Table to make up your own words
Prefixes Suffixes
An (not) Meso (middle) Quadri/tetra (four) -ian Meso (middle)
Ante (before) Micro/mini (small) Quasi (somewhat, resembling) -ize/ise -tion
Anti/ Contra/Counter (against) Mono (one) Re (again) -fy Favorite Made up suffixes:
Bi/Di (two) Multi/Poly  (many) Self (acting by oneself) -ly
Co (together) Neo (new) Semi (partial, half) -ful -rific
Dys (badly, wrongly) Over (excess) Sub (below) -able/ible -astic
Epi (on) Pan (all) Super/supra (above) -hood -tabulous
Extra (outside) Para (beside, beyond) Trans (across, connecting) -ess -meister
Hyper (a lot) Per (through, throughout) Tri (three) -ness -smith
Hypo (a little) Post (after) Ultra (beyond, extremely) -less -licious
Ig/il/im/in/ir/non/un (not) Pre (before , already) Under (beneath) -ism What are some of your own?
Infra/sub (below) Pro (in favor of) Up (increase) -ment
Inter (between) Promo (first, primitive) Xeno (foreign) -ist
Macro/ maxi  (large) Pseudo (false) -ish