Some dictionaries may accept new words sent to them. Oxford dictionaries, for example:

Personal inventions

People often send us words they have made up and ask if we will add their invented terms to one of our dictionaries. Unfortunately, the answer is probably no, because we generally only add words that have been used widely over a number of years: we assess this by looking at all the evidence we have in our files and databases. Of course, some invented words do catch on and become an established part of English, either because they fill a gap or because they are describing something new. Examples of this type of invented word include quark, spoof, and hobbit.

And their process of inclusion seems fairly simple:

Keeping track and making choices

We continually monitor the Corpus and the Reading Programme to track new words coming into the language: when we have evidence of a new term being used in a variety of different sources (not just by one writer) it becomes a candidate for inclusion in one of our dictionaries.

The general process in the US goes through the Library of Congress, here's some discussion about how to coin a new word:

Most literary or poetic copyrights go through the Library Of Congress, as they control the written and published word and copyrights for all literary aspects of writing and wording, as well as the copyrights for all material, blue prints, inventions and ideas.

So how is this process done in Portuguese and who normally registers new words?

  • Inasmuch as the Portuguese language is the official language of several countries, unless you state otherwise, your question admits of more than one answer.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 23:03
  • @Centaurus yes! As there are several English dictionaries accepting new words, it would be interesting to know how Portuguese dictionaries accept them and if there is an organization similar to the Library of Congress in each country that uses Portuguese as the official language.
    – Armfoot
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 10:59
  • 1
    @Armfoot In Brazil there is Academia Brasileira de Letras. I'm not sure whether is there register new words or not. When I have a ready answer from Brazil, I'll post.
    – tdmsoares
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 15:28
  • Copyrighting is different than coining words. In English, there is no official body that oversees the language that is analogous to, for instance, the Academie Français (French) or the Real Academia (Spanish). Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 4:11

2 Answers 2


Usually that is made by ABL in Brazil; however, after the Novo Acordo Ortográfico, I think that things have changed.

But they won’t create a word just for pleasure. It needs to be already in use by its speakers. Years ago, Aldo Rebelo proposed that ABL should create an equivalent lusophone for every foreign word, in a short term, to try to avoid Brazilian speakers adopting that foreign form. A Chimaera, I know. Things like futebol would be called ludopédio (literally, “a game with foot”), since futebol is just a corrupted form of football.

ABL edits Vocabulário Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa, or just VOLP, which is considered the broadest set of words in Portuguese. Some of them no ones uses anymore, not even them, but it is still there.

Dictionaries have their own policies to add new words, but AFAIK, they are softer than ABL... so, sometimes they add words that already exists in portuguese like they are new, or just add words that in the next edition they remove, because that was just a momentary use of that word.


According with Academia Brasileira de Letras, a new word to be accepted in a standard language needs be used in a large range way, including in media, academic texts, official institutions... After that, if approved by lexicographers become official included in Language

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