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Cryptid is a word that was coined in the 1980s. We can trace the origin of this word directly to its first use, which is highly unusual in etymology. We will examine the definition of the word cryptid, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A cryptid is a creature or animal that has not been proven to exist. A cryptid may be presumed to be an animal that was declared extinct but has not really become extinct, such as a dinosaur or saber toothed tiger. A cryptid may be an animal that is spoken of by local people but has not been proven to exist by way of a captured animal or deceased specimen, such as the Missouri Momo or Jersey Devil, or it may be an entirely fictitious animal from legend and fable such as the unicorn or the thunderbird. There are many examples of animals that were considered a myth or a cryptid that turned out to actually exist. For instance, local people in east Africa spoke of ape-men, but this animal was considered a myth until Captain Robert von Beringe shot a mountain gorilla in 1902 and brought the specimen back to Europe. The saola is a Vietnamese wild horse known to the local indigenous population, but was officially discovered in 1992. Considering these examples, it may be wrong to dismiss the personal accounts of encounters with cryptids. Some popular cryptids are the human-like creatures that are reported all over the world, such as the  sasquatch, bigfoot, yowie, skunk ape and yeti. Serpents are also a popular category of cryptid, such as the Loch Ness Monster or Champ in Lake Champlain. A wide variety of cryptids have been reported the world over, including the chupacabra, the bunyip, Mothman, and the British big cats. The word cryptid was coined by John E. Wall. He wrote a letter to the editor that was published in  in the International Society of Cryptozoology Newsletter in 1983 suggesting the word cryptid to mean “…a living thing having the quality of being hidden or unknown.”


Some have entered folklore such as the Beast of Exmoor and the Beast of Bodmin, which became infamous in the late 1970s when sightings and claims of slaughtered livestock drew cryptid hunters in their droves. (Forbes Magazine)

According to online travel booking platform HolidayPirates, an appetite for cryptid-tourism is on the rise, fuelled mainly by a desire to get one up on other Instagrammers by posting a picture guaranteed to boost followers in a flash. (The Irish Examiner)

Indiana is without an oceanic coastline, making it quite a stretch that Hoosiers would see a mermaid, the beautiful (or hideous, depending on the teller of the tale) half-human, half-fish cryptids of the sea. (The Washington Times Herald)

Local authors Richard Bramall and Joe Collins, who run the forum, believe the spooky hound could be a ‘cryptid’ – a creature whose existence is unverified.  (The Yorkshire Evening Post)