Forgetting synonyms: on the “jokerization” of everyday language The democratization of social relations can bring about linguistic liberalization, where the effectiveness and speed of transmitting information are of utmost importance. Wherever possible, information is presented in a condensed form, as an icon or a gesture. When speaking, we increasingly rely on a limited vocabulary, using very polysemous and broad terms. Such terms undergo jokerization – they begin functioning as wild cards in a card game, being able to represent any other cards depending on the current needs. In addition to internationalisms, which appear as jokers as a matter of course (e.g. Polish super ‘great’ and ekstra ‘great’), native words may also be used as jokers. In this case, in addition to their core meaning, they develop a new joker meaning signaled by new formal features, such as loss of inflections (cf. Croatian mrak lit. ‘dark’, joker ‘great’; guba lit. ‘leprosy’, joker ‘great’). When used in this way, they may form new derivational chains, becoming, in a way, less universal and resisting analytic tendencies. By the same token, derivational morphemes may also acquire joker meanings (e.g. the Croatian naj-). Jokerization, which is based on replacing a synonym chain with a single all-encompassing word, does not prevent communication, but does impoverish it. It is an intermediate stage between verbal and non-verbal communication. This process, common in spoken language, is examined, and illustrations are drawn from computer blogs and forums.