How New Words Are Formed

Previously I have discussed the English language and the origins of some words.

I’ve found another one.  From the Writer’s Almanac, March 23, 2015 —

“It’s the birthday of the writer Josef Capek (books by this author), born in Hronov in what is now the Czech Republic in 1887. His brother, Karel, was the famous writer, but Josef will go down in history as the man who invented the word robot. Karel Capek wrote a play called R.U.R., or Rossum’s Universal Robots (1921), a dystopian work about mass-produced human substitutes who are employed as cheap labor. But Karel Capek couldn’t think of a good word for his artificial laborers — he was going to go with labori but decided that was too obvious. Josef suggested roboti, and the name stuck. Josef was arrested and sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, from which he wrote Poems from a Concentration Camp (1946). He died there in 1945.”

I’m sure R2-D2 is very grateful.

The Writer’s Almanac is produced daily by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.  National broadcasts of The Writer’s Almanac are supported by The Poetry Foundation.  Its website is


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