Recently, while writing, I came across a situation that I wanted to share. I felt compelled to create my own word to convey a specific meaning - there didn't seem to be an existing word that came close to what I needed to convey in the length I needed to present it. Now, I know within fiction-writing the writer has a lot of freedom to break traditional rules. However, in my situation, this was an argumentative essay. Obviously, doing something like this in an essay would be untraditional, at best, and would cause a destruction of credibility, at worst. This is within an essay discussing the legitimacy of government. Here is the immediate context, followed by the word and definition I wished to use: I wanted a word that meant the actual opposite of apathy. Perhaps anti-apathy would have sufficed, but it didn't cut it for me; it was to ill-defined and clunky, and I'm unconvinced readers would fully appreciate what I meant were I to say anti-apathy. I don't even think it's the correct usage of the word; I'm not telling readers they should be against apathy, but rather that they should feel the opposite of apathy. I could have phrased it as the definition below (best choice, in my opinion), or phrased it as "...dissidence and the death of apathy." However, I wanted a single word, as I felt that would be much more powerful and compelling - this is a "extremist" argumentative essay, after all. It turns out there is no word (that I'm aware of or could discover) that really fits the definition of the opposite of apathy. All so-called antonyms of apathy were poor choices. Emotion, concern, interest, passion, sympathy: all poor and unacceptable options. So, compelled, - in the rough draft - I came up with my own word, with the definition in the footnote. *Antapathy (not to be confused with antipathy): a compelling feeling of invested concern which causes one to desire and compels one to take action for actual change. Now, of course, as this was a formal essay, I did not do this - but I really wanted to. There is also the major issue that the effect I wanted wouldn't be accurately conveyed to the reader because they'd never seen the word before - having to read a definition in a footnote would make it lose the compelling feeling I desired. Do you ever find yourself unable to find a word to convey precisely what you need to? Sometimes synonyms just don't cut it. Sometimes it seems the English language lacks certain words, words that should exist (even in more common word needs than this, I come across this somewhat often in everyday life). If this was done in an essay wouldn't it cause a loss of credibility? Is creating your own word and definition ever acceptable?