LawProse Lesson #219: Are “certworthy” and “enbancworthy” bona fide words?
Are “certworthy” and “enbancworthy” bona fide words? Yes. According to the 10th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, certworthy dates from 1965 and means “(of a case or issue) deserving of review by writ of certiorari.” It was first recorded in the 7th edition of Black’s in 1999. Enbancworthy is recorded from 1968 and is defined as “(of an appellate case) worthy of being considered en banc.” It appears to have been invented by Judge John R. Brown of the 5th Circuit. He was proud of his neologizing effort. Both are labeled as slang terms. Each word is made with the combining form -worthy, which means either “fit or safe for” or “deserving of.” Among the English terms made with this suffix are seaworthy (first recorded in 1807), airworthy (1829), creditworthy (1840), and praiseworthy (1538). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the suffix –worthy came into use in the 13th century. Among the obsolete terms that were current in Middle English are deathworthy and thankworthy. But comparatively few of the old compounds were noteworthy enough to come into common use. We hope you find this small discursus on neologisms lessonworthy. Source: Black’s Law Dictionary 276, 643 (10th ed. 2014).