Have you ever created anything that's entered the shared culture of the nation?
Shakespeare, Elgar, Lowry and George Michael totally nailed it. I can't claim anywhere near their level of success but I have sneaked a word into the lexicon, at least in the London area, and that's no mean feat.
It's exactly ten years (technically ten years ago yesterday) since I first suggested that Boris's new cablecar be called the Dangleway. It was in a post about TfL seeking a naming rights partner for their new cross-river connection, a year before it eventually opened. I suggested several ludicrous ideas including the London SkyLine, Groupon's Gondolas and the Vince Cable Car, and lurking in that list was the Wonga Dangleway.
As far as I can tell from Google the word dangleway had not been used previous to this date, because why would it? It wasn't used again for another six months until TfL proudly announced the cablecar would be branded the Emirates Air Line and shoehorned the sponsor's name onto the new tube map. In a grumpy post I renamed the project the ArabFly Dangleway, and carried on using that moniker as I reported on the cablecar's constructionandlaunch. A fewotherbloggers joined in and the ball was rolling.
'ArabFly' wasn't a great choice, and at least two commenters accused me of potential racism which therefore was racism QED. By the end of 2012 I'd dropped the first part of the name entirely and the cablecar was simply the Dangleway. I called it that every time I blogged about it, whichwasfrequently, rather than stoop to use the name a £36m contract wanted me to write instead. And slowly the name snowballed, in the manner of an underwhelming blizzard, until eventually it appeared in mainstream media.
...although their use of inverted commas suggested the word was by no means general currency.
One reason I think the term dangleway proved successful is that the name Emirates Air Line was such an unmemorable contrivance. It's too easily confused with the UAE's national airline, indeed their Twitter feed was forever having to fend off comments from punters seeking information about the cablecar. There's no joy in calling the connection the Emirates Air Line, it doesn't slip memorably off the tongue, giving dangleway a decent chance of being adopted instead.
Retrospectively what I'm most pleased with is giving one of Boris's transport projects a demeaningly negative nickname. That didn't happen with cycle hire where the term Boris Bike comes with all kinds of endearing upbeat associations. But the cablecar is typical of the Boris we've come to know since, a distracting boondoggle masquerading as a public transport link, indicative of a leader more interested in the headline than the detail. If christening his project 'dangleway' has tarnished its branded gloss, that's reward enough.
First known usage: "With so much of East London's population in serious need of extortionate loansharkery, let's rebrand this The Wonga Dangleway" (diamond geezer, 15th June 2011)
I have no idea what percentage of Londoners would recognise my word, let alone use it in conversation, but I dare say it's higher than any word you've ever coined. I don't expect to ever see it in a dictionary, but as long as the gondolas continue to carry air across the Thames it stands a good chance of surviving in semi-regular usage until the dangleway dangles no more.