In the year of my birth…


The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a feature that allows you to look up by year the time words were first published. One curious thing I noticed is that there are huge numbers of words introduced in the 40s on, most of them technical and scientific words, but in more recent years the number of novel words is drying up. Why? I don’t know.

I did look up what words were introduced in the year I was born, and there were lots of them. But this series caught my attention.

I think it means that emotionally I am far more childish than my advanced years would imply.

Comments

  1. says

    Hmmm, that’s my year too. I quite like Fantabulous Femme Flick-Knife. I was surprised by bit­­­­chin’, I had thought that was late ’60s – early ’70s slang. Certainly got used a lot then.

  2. numerobis says

    I presume it’s in part the same reason there were few classic songs made this decade — it takes a while to decide whether something is a classic song (or a word).

  3. robert79 says

    I got “creation science” and “major depression” in my YOB, I wonder if they’re linked…

  4. robro says

    1948 — “missionary position”, “quantum field theory”, and “transistor”…Now I understand.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    ’54 was a good ‘un! Some highlights: black power, double helix, hallucinogen, mondegreen, rock’n’roll, sci-fi, solar battery, time warp.

  6. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Among others, mine says “bum-rush”. *snigger*
    Also, “sexual predator”. Hm.

  7. says

    Rob:

    ’54 was a good ‘un! Some highlights: black power, double helix, hallucinogen, mondegreen, rock’n’roll, sci-fi, solar battery, time warp.

    You got all the good things.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    From 1950 antimatter, Californium, LSD, shopping mall, et alia.

  9. says

    Let’s just take a look at 1990… oh. okay.
    “intelligent design”
    But hey, I got World Wide Web velociraptor props. And yet the middle continues to be marked as not a word.
    aaaand… “transmissible spongiform encephalopathy”.

  10. Onamission5 says

    A sampling of 1971…

    anti-elitist
    beatbox
    camerawoman
    crapshoot
    dominatrix
    gonzo
    lacto-vegetarian
    megacorporation
    newsie
    open marriage
    stoner
    tight-ass
    username

  11. vucodlak says

    THERE WERE MANY TERRIBLE THINGS NAMED IN THE YEAR I WAS BORN (1984). GLUTE. HIPSTER HOT SAUCE (sriracha). HANTAVIRUS. SPIN DOCTOR. EVEN THE WORD “SUCKY.”

    Oh, and also: CAPS LOCK.

  12. DonDueed says

    1953 has some interesting ones, such as…
    stiletto heel
    HeLa cell
    ballpoint pen
    ecosphere
    … and amazingly,
    frenemy

  13. Ice Swimmer says

    In 1974 came:

    agony aunt
    Internet
    GPS
    fly–on–the–wall
    string bikini
    string cheese
    supermom
    biofuel
    Heimlich maneuver

  14. chigau (違う) says

    I entered 1946, The Year of the Donald. A sampling:
    over-the-hill
    functional illiterate
    spiny-headed worm

  15. says

    1979 features a lot of things that I would qualify as “unfortunate”… perhaps my birth year is when it was all starting to go to pot? Or perhaps just the year when everyone became aware of it going to pot?

    A sampling… outsourcing, female genital mutilation, homeschooler, smoke and mirrors, neocon, and one of my personal favorites “first world problems” (and by favorite, I mean ‘word that forces me resist punching whoever used it right in the face’). Also, apparently that was the year for creation science AND identity politics.

    Curiously, it also includes freebase, food court, and balloon angioplasty. Also, canola. So there is that.

  16. lucifersbike says

    1954
    rock ‘n’roll, dysphoria, moped, hexadecimal, wonk, self-exploration … hmmm.

  17. jrkrideau says

    # 19 chigau
    Clearly the arrival of the Donald was being heralded . It seems a bit like the magi showing up.

  18. Scott Simmons says

    I was born in 1969, which explains why that was the year ‘studly’ was added to the English lexicon.

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