From Geoffrey Hunter’s Metalogic, p.5:
… a thing is an English word only if it has meaning.
It got me thinking: is this really so? Is it possible for there to be an English word that is absolutely void of meaning, i.e. meaningless?
Can I not come up with a word on my own, and not give it any meaning whatsoever? Do made-up words enter the “gates of English” if and only if they have meaning?
P.S. I don’t know if this question is more suitable for Linguistics.SE (or, perhaps, Philosophy.SE under the ‘philosophy_of_language’ tag?), since I am interested in an answer for natural languages in general as well. I have focused on English probably because the book I’m reading is in English, the statement was made by a native speaker of English, and English is the language I am most familiar with.
Do made-up words enter the “gates of English” if and only if they have meaning?
Nonsense words exist, put to good effect in Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”:
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
They are words, but they mean nothing. And the sum of them make a delightful nonsense poem.
Furthermore, in linguistics, there are many words that linguists deem mean nothing.