Coining a New Metal Detecting Word

5th February 2017 — 19 Comments

Throughout the year, the Oxford English Dictionary adds newly popular words to its lineup, and in 2016 it introduced over 1000, including phrases, many of which originated and were made popular online. In 2013 The ‘word of the year was ‘selfie’.

Words chosen this time around are ‘moobs’, which is defined as, ‘unusually prominent breasts on a man, and ‘Gender-fluid’ which means: ‘a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender’. The acronym YOLO You Only Live Once, also made it on the list. Skip the ad in the video … and off you go!



For many years the late Jim Patterson (aka Old Yellowbelly) wrote a column in The Searcher magazine. He called it Old Yellowbelly’s Roundabout. Just as new coins are made in a mint, people can invent new words. Many have entered the English language because people have ‘coined’ them. Jim started using the word Partefact many years before, but it wasn’t until 1997 he explained how it had come about. He said:

“I felt the description ‘fragment’ was unsatisfactory and rather down-putting. On mature reflection I have to concede I did not make a good choice, and one or two people have told me that they ‘hate’ the word. I invite readers to send me a handy word that will describe a broken artefact, and if I like it I’d be happy to use it in future with full credit. OK?”

I can only assume that the challenge went unheeded. The word Jim coined has entered the detectorist lexicon and is universally used … I can’t think of any better! Pity it has been spurned by the OED and hasn’t been recognised. What a fitting tribute this would have made for Jim who died recently. Perhaps I should do something about that omission …

Steve Pulley will help me. He published a book entitled ‘Partefact Restoration For Beginners’ in 1998. I’m sure that Jim was very pleased that a word he had been using for years was now common parlance. I never knew that Steve had produced a book until it was pointed out to me by a friend. The last time I mentioned Steve was when he was the catalyst for one of my blog posts, which you can see HERE.



Another new word I should include is that coined by Allyson Cohen, a successful American detectorist with a wicked sense of humour – or ‘humor’ if you are from the Bill Gates School of Spelling and Grammar. Or should that be Donald Trump? He’s bound to produce his own version of English as spoken in the newly created NSUS (Not So United States). Awesome!

The word DETECTORISTA refers to a cheerful girl detectorist with dirty nails and mud on their shoes! Take a look at Allyson’s blog or FaceAche page if you get the chance …



Some of the regular visitors to this blog will know that I have an aversion to the the term awesome, commonly used by our American friends to describe the most mundane finds. But language is forever changing. I must learn not to be so pedantic. 🙂

I helped a young friend to identify a few coins recently. When she replied thanking me, the email started with the word wowsers. I hadn’t come across this term before and had to ask my friend Mr. Google. He told me that this was usually spelled as ‘wowzer’ and simply meant an ‘Exaggerated Wow’. I liked that. Perhaps it will eventually become a word used by detectorists instead of  … won’t say it!

Reminds me of those portmanteau words blending the sounds and combining the meaning of two others, for example motel or brunch. A recent portmanteau is podcast, coined from a combination of iPod and broadcast.


Just a few commonly used words and phrases used in metal detecting that I can think of – no doubt you can name others. If you do, let me know and I may add them to the list.


The End … Apart from the Trailer 🙂


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19 responses to Coining a New Metal Detecting Word

  1. Bruce D Campbhell 5th February 2017 at 12:15 AM

    Just a word to the wise John.
    DETECTORISTA is singular.
    DETECTORISTAS is plural.
    DETECTORISTA’S is possessive.
    And you can change the dictionary description of “penny pincher” to include my picture as I find so many of them.

  2. Well John that was really a awesome blog LOL,

  3. Wowser, I love the word detectorista…..

  4. “Wowsers” is a favourite of Inspector Gadget.

  5. I still have trouble with my iPad adding z into words or highlighting until and untill. Words i have been writing for 50 years are suddenly red lined and i have to stop and think have i spelt it correctly. I like Detectorist even though my tablet just marked and deleted it for me.

  6. the way I spell long words ….every word is new lol

  7. “Wazza the First” for a coin that too far gone to be identified.

  8. In Germany most of the words are a combination of two or more. My favourite is handshoe – glove.

  9. Malcolm Hastings 5th February 2017 at 4:44 PM

    I have just used the word ‘Wowzer’ to comment on a photo my niece has posted on FB. She ‘liked’ my response straight away so clearly it is the word to use! Thanks for the English lesson John – it takes me back!

  10. well they were right about could be of offence to some people the new words in the OED
    oompah loompah has only ever been known as a derogatory form, aimed at those not just of small/plump stature but who decide to over tan themselves! whereas the latter does tend to look rather silly the former is aimed at bullying. (having heard school kids shout this out).
    kids (and some adults) have trouble with spelling to start with (not always their own fault) but to come up with such stupid words and actually put them in a dictionary the mind boggles!!
    i feel the need for “getting with the times” (so to speak) has gone do Lally tap (i wonder if that will be in the next edition!).

  11. Now there’s a competition possibility… good stuff again John! Cheers!

  12. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 19th February 2017 at 2:32 AM

    W O W Z E R S, I’ve been using overdramaticise for years what’s this guy on about?…… in, “gee, didn’t John just overdramaticise the word WOW”? LOL…….

    Fun article, thanks John

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