These Words Were Added to the Dictionary the Year You Were Born

These Words Were Added to the Dictionary the Year You Were Born

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Melissa Massello
Jul 27, 2017

Some words become a part of our collective lexicon with such zeitgeist that it's hard to believe there was ever a time when they weren't part of the English language. And some are so definitive of an era that simply seeing them listed next to a year immediately brings you back to that time and a place — and the movies and songs that then dominated pop culture. Thanks to Merriam-Webster's new Time Traveler, now we can all travel back to a specific year with a single click and a host of dictionary entries definitive of the year they were made official.

It's hard to believe now that we never had a word for brain freeze before 1991, despite the 1950s popularity of milkshakes and soda jerks — or that we were talking about "first world problems" as far back as 1979, long before #hashtags.

Take a trip down memory lane with us —or simply look up the words that were entered the year you were born, married, graduated high school/college, etc. —with the new Merriam-Webster Time Traveler tool.

Here are two to three of our favorite words, listed by the year they were entered into the dictionary:

(Image credit: via Giphy)

1960: junk food, reality check, trendsetting
1961: toaster oven, potbellied pig
1962: carpool, fender bender
1963: diddly-squat, zip code
1964: skinny dip, gentrification
1965: CD, sleepover
1966: groupie, boob tube, zit

(Image credit: via Giphy)

1967: fanny pack, vibe
1968: noogie, trippy
1969: aggro, high tech
1970: newbie, rug rat
1971: mental health day, wiseass
1972: retro, playlist
1973: earth tone, gas-guzzler
1974: GPS, wake-up call
1975: ATM, curb appeal

(Image credit: via Giphy)

1976: meme, pooper-scooper
1977: download, shopaholic
1978: face time, improv
1979: first world problem, log off
1980: air guitar, yuppie, foodie
1981: weekend warrior, photo op
1982: couch potato, e-mail
1983: carbo-load, mosh

(Image credit: via Giphy)

1984: cardio, repurpose
1985: microbrew, boy band
1986: Bungee jump, deets
1987: GIF, steampunk
1988: bad hair day, emo

(Image credit: via Giphy)

1989: puggle, air quotes, Generation X
1990: spam, World Wide Web
1991: brain freeze, bestie
1992: man cave, arm candy, photoshop
1993: DVD, fashionista, game changer
1994: metrosexual, upcycle, spoiler alert
1995: regift, webcam

(Image credit: via Giphy)

1996: fist bump, face palm
1997: emoji, freegan
1998: DVR, social networking
1999: blog, chillax
2000: google, crunk

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