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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Pupil makes a case for 'knunder'
A student who was set a challenge by his English tutor is determined to have a word he "invented" added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Stephen Frizzle, 18, from Lincs, came up with the word "knunder" meaning "the space underneath a table" after his tutor mused about new words in class.

OED senior editor Juliet Field said the teenager will have to wait at least five years for the word to be verified.

A word has to be used in newspapers, books, webpages or databases, she said.

I think the word is great - I hope he comes back to us in five years' time with evidence that it is being used
Juliet Field, senior editor, OED

The teenager, from Ruskington near Sleaford, said the word knunder came to him when he thought of the difficulty of putting your knees under the table - and then combined "knees" and "under" to create the new world.

"I am trying to get a local band to write a song with the word 'knunder' in it."

Stephen's tutor Ian Mitchell, from Grantham College, said he asked his pupils to come up with a new word and Stephen had "run with it".

Ms Field said there has to be a strong case for a new word before it is added to the OED.

"He will have a lot of hard work because he has to make people want to use it," Ms Field explained.

bookcrossing - leaving a book in a public place to be picked up by others
designer baby - a baby whose genetic make-up has been selected
gangmaster - a person who organizes the work of casual manual labourers
"Once a word goes into the dictionary it is there for the life of it - maybe hundreds of years."

New words often become popular through films or television programmes, she added.

"I think the word is great - I hope he comes back to us in five years' time with evidence that it is being used.

"It shows the inventiveness of the English language that we can still come up with so many new words," she said.

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