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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
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Recent Neologisms (S199: 1871)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A brief letter to the Editor printed on page 222 of the 20 July 1871 issue of Nature. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S199.htm

     In using the word Mr. Ingleby objects to as hideous, I was not aware that I was coining a new one. If so, it was quite unconsciously on my part; but a word was wanted to express the property of being prolific, and if the choice lies between "prolificness" and "prolificacity," as I think it does, I am inclined to believe that the former will survive, as being the shorter, the easier to pronounce, and perhaps the less hideous, even though it may not be constructed on the best etymological principles. "Fertility" and "fecundity," which are often used, do not quite answer the purpose, although the latter has very nearly the same meaning. Our language must and will grow; and its growth will be determined by convenience rather than by grammatical rules.

Alfred R. Wallace

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