Nonwords are often used to clarify how lexical processing takes place in the absence of semantics. This study shows that nonwords are not semantically vacuous. We used Linear Discriminative Learning (Baayen et al., 2019) to estimate the meanings of nonwords in the MALD database (Tucker et al., 2018) from the speech signal. We show that measures gauging nonword semantics significantly improve model fit for both acoustic durations and RTs. Although nonwords do not evoke meanings that afford conscious reflexion, they do make contact with the semantic space, and the angles and distances of nonwords with respect to actual words co-determine articulation and lexicality decisions.