“Refudiate” is not a cromulent word

I’ll give Sarah Palin this:  Shakespeare did invent words.  So did Lewis Carroll and The Simpsons.  But confusing or combining similar words isn’t the same as inventing a new one.  For something to be a new word it has to be useful and, well, new…..

The problem is that your audience is unlikely to take you seriously if you make a habit of misspeaking or don’t actually understand the words that you use.  This is exactly the kind of situation that has been mined for hundreds of years in order to create comic characters ranging from Sheridan’s Mrs. Malaprop (“she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying”) to Archie Bunker and The Sopranos, who try to distinguish themselves by using elevated language that they haven’t quite mastered.  Of course the effect they achieve is humorous, not persuasive.

If you find yourself misspeaking (or someone else catches you), correct yourself and apologize if necessary. Just don’t compare yourself to Shakespeare.

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Cromulent:  Definition at Wiktionary

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