Well before I turned pro linguist, words were my life. In my career I have been not just a word consumer (or word processor) but a periodic donor, a supplier of lexical utensils for the semanticist's arsenal. My proposed coinages have experienced varying degrees of success and ignominy within several overlapping areas of the field—the “Border Wars” between semantics and pragmatics, the nature of negation and polarity, and the exploration of lexical pragmatics, where context and speakers’ intentions and beliefs inform the lexicon in domains from word formation to the etymological urban legend. The coinages on display here are intended to trace my half-century journey through the vibrant (if motley) landscape of meaning and to show how the pursuit of linguistic byways can not only inform but delight. The article concludes with a chronology of landmark events and people that have shaped my thoughts about words and meanings.


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