Artwork: Fernando Ferero
To the list of literary terms we begin with: ghostword
ghostword – It is a literary term invented by a 19th century editor of medieval texts named, W. W. Skeat. That name’s an interest in itself! The term “ghostword” is used to describe words which have no real existence. Strange to say these words often come from copyists, editors, or printers who accidentally spell the word wrong, thus creating a “ghostword” with this error.
Ah, the inadvertent creation of ghosts…word-ghosts…now that’s a story idea…
Another term for this is phantom word, defined as a word created through an error of a scribe or lexicographer, or perhaps through some corruptive influence.
illustration by: Alexey Kurbatov