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In honor of Dictionary Day, here are notable new words coined the year you were born

Ken Levy on

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Picturesque Japan // Shutterstock 1/102

In honor of Dictionary Day, here are notable new words coined the year you were born

The English language is a living, breathing, expanding phenomenon. The poet Derek Walcott once remarked, "The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: It is the property of the language itself." 

Oct. 16 is Dictionary Day, a day to reflect on the importance the institution of the dictionary plays in recording how we use the English language. To celebrate, Stacker grabbed a handful of newly minted words from the years they were coined, from 1920 to 2020. Their definitions come fromMerriam-Webster Time Traveler site, except for the years 2012-13 and 2017-18.

Year after year, new words are coined as time, technology, world events, and fashions dictate—but fads are fickle. If the public interest wanes for a particular trend, or world events are relegated to a foggy past, many associated words will be lost and forgotten. Still, others remain as mainstays to our evolving language and how we use or misuse it. Every three months, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) evaluates the vernacular, adding new words, tenses, and subentries to the language that the dictionary's lexicographers deem essential. 

Words hold a fascination for all, from what they convey to the feelings and thoughts they evoke. Some may jog memories of incidents or events long past, while others forgotten throughout the years may be wholly new to some. When used correctly, a single word can slice through emotionally fraught situations. Or, when used incorrectly or at the wrong moment, that same word can supercharge an interaction, turning a mundane conversation into a conflagration of sentiment.

Read on for the words—and the events that may have triggered them—that reached popularity the year you were born.

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Visit thestacker.com for similar lists and stories.

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1920: Chemical weapon, fascista

Other notable words: loudspeaker, oxygen mask, smoke-filled room, submachine gun, technical sergeant, undercover

Between World Wars I and II, Britain, Spain, and Italy launched attacks usingchemical weapons against Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Africa. Such weaponry was introduced during World War I. Fascista, a member of an Italian political organization following the principles of fascism under former Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini, first came into use this year. Its use faded after 1943 whenItaly surrendered to allies.

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1921: Capital gain, sales tax

Other notable words: grade point average, last-gasp, match point, over-the-counter, superiority complex, teenage

West Virginia was the first state to initiate asales tax in 1921. Today, the state's sales tax is 6%. Investment income, such ascapital gains and stock dividends, are usually subject to state incometaxes.

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1922: Caf society, gestalt

Other notable words: anesthesiologist, baloney, mad money, mountain gorilla, saber rattling, xenophobe

Rudolph Valentino financed the first nightspot in Hollywood in 1922 welcoming fashionable, high-classcafé society patrons. German-born Kurt Koffka introduced psychologists to thegestalt movement in his work “Perception: An Introduction to the Gestalt Theory,” published in 1922.

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1923: Bathtub gin, demand deposit

Other notable words: dial tone, endangered species, gross national product, photointerpretation, southern oscillation, ultrasound

Home distilling of illegal alcohol, known asbathtub gin during the Prohibition era, met only asmall part of the demand for alcohol in 1923, but became a mainstream component of alcohol lore.Demand deposits, a phrase first coined in 1923, speak to the practice of allowing bank depositors towithdraw funds without warning or with minimal notice.

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1924: Malarkey, scofflaw

Other notable words: answering machine, Bible Belt, freelancer, M-day, placement test, tossed salad

Politicians often accuse each other of speaking nonsense or‘malarkey,’ a term believedfirst used by Irish cartoonist Thomas Aloysius Dorgan several years earlier. A Boston bankersponsored a contestto coin a derogatory term for law-breaking drinkers in 1924, and two contestants who came up with‘scofflaw’ split a prize of $200 in gold.

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1925: Cosmic ray, Paul Bunyan

Other notable words: big government, desktop, gas station, honor guard, situation comedy, travel agent

Robert Millikan announced the discovery ofcosmic rays, which are particles that bombard Earth from outside its solar system, inNovember 1925. James Stevens published the story ofPaul Bunyan, a classiccharacter of American folklore, in 1925.

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1926: Nervous Nellie, Protestant ethic

Other notable words: Cotton candy, down payment, driver's license, meals-on-wheels, pig in a blanket, sugar daddy

In his1926 book, "TheProtestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," Max Weber examined the rise of modern economies and the institutions that influenced them. Frank Kellogg, secretary of state at the time, was chided for being anervous Nellie in 1926 for his non-aggression foreign policies.

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1927: Anti-Red, boondoggle

Other notable words: credit hour, Dixieland, interior design, mouthbreeder, ozone layer, zone defense

The1927 execution of Niccola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, accused of murder on doubtful evidence, marked the high tide of the irrationalanti-red hysteria in America. On a lighter note, Boy Scouts of America scoutmaster Robert Link, reportedly coined ‘boondoggle’ as the name of boy scouts’ traditional handcrafted braided leather cords.

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1928: Astronautics, drill team

Other notable words: Councilwoman, inkblot test, indie, jalopy, Mediterranean diet, soundtrack

Space pioneer Robert Esnault-Pelterie first discussed the concept ofastronautics with the French Astronomical Society in 1928, which is also the year the concept was named by J.H. Rosny. Gussie Nell Davis is credited with fielding the world's first dance/drill team in 1928.

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1929: Antilife, in-line engine

Other notable words: blue-collar, hootenanny, hot spot, in-line engine, macadamia nut, penicillin, Sasquatch

Author and anti-Semite D.H. Lawrence spoke of his hatred for homosexuality ina letter to Else Jaffe, referring to it as ‘antilife.’ Squadron leader A.H. Orlebar of Great Britain set a world record and won theSchneider Trophy air race in 1929 in a seaplane using anin-line engine.

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1930: Bathysphere, Hooverville

Other notable words: daily double, functional shift, gangbuster, mass transit, Mickey Mouse, shouting distance

In 1930, Americans William Beebe and Otis Barton discovereda way to dive deeper than ever before, using an underwater chamber known as abathysphere. Firstcoined in a 1930 newspaper, Hooverville referred to destitute communities during the Great Depression, blamed largely on the policies of President Herbert Hoover.

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1931: Jehova's Witness, skid row

Other notable words: account executive, desegregation, linebacker, microwave, supermarket, trick or treat

Rutherfordites, a name given to Bible students of J.F. Rutherford, leader of the Watch Tower, wererenamed toJehovah's Witnesses in 1931.Skid row wasfirst documented in a 1931 book on American slang that defined it as a place where social misfits congregated.

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1932: New Deal, Purple Heart

Other notable words: brownshirt, dogface, power steering, spaceman, tape recorder, zoom lens

President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932pledged theNew Deal as a way forward for Americans devastated by the Great Depression. More than1.8 million people have received thePurple Heart award since its creation in 1932.

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1933: Angiogram, barking mad

Other notable words: fast lane, jet engine, lobster shift, natural childbirth, police action, rhythm and blues

Norman Dott of Edinburgh, Scotland produced the firstangiogram in 1933,demonstrating a cerebral aneurysm. Author Raymond T.Pierrehumbert referred to the conceptof geo-engineering as ‘barking mad’ in 1933.

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1934: Analytic philosophy, gestapo

Other notable words: chef's salad, extrasensory perception, mobile home, newscast, one-armed bandit, tweeter

In his 1934 book, "Problems of Mind and Matter," John Wisdom used the termanalytic philosophy to describe one who gainsnew insights into old truths. Adolph Hitler raised thegestapo tothe status of an autonomous organization in July 1934, effectively taking over all political police forces in the Third Reich.

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1935: Dust bowl, parking meter

Other notable words: doodle, ecosystem, flash bulb, graphic design, paper trail, rent-a-car

Severe drought and massive dust storms through the 1930s transformed the Midwest and southern Great Plains from fertile farmlands to dust, prompting the coining of the term ‘dust bowl’ in 1935. Also in this year, the world's firstparking meter was installed in Oklahoma City.

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1936: Anasazi, delta wave

Other notable words: all-points bulletin, blabbermouth, fifth column, hairstyling, panel discussion, Richter scale

Ancientcliff-dwelling Native Americans of the southwest were given the nameAnasazi by archeologists in 1936. Identified in the 1930s and coined as a new phrase this year,delta waves are associated withsleep and the release of several hormones.

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1937: Blitzkrieg, pizzazz

Other notable words: bubble gum, ice-cream headache, press conference, rat race, senior citizen, trailer park

Germanblitzkrieg attacks virtuallyobliterated the Basque town of Guernica in 1937. The editor of the Harvard "Lampoon" is credited by "Harper's Bazaar" in 1937 with coining‘pizzazz,’ then associated with clothing or drinks.

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1938: Electroshock, Rastafarianism

Other notable words: deficit spending, germ warfare, photojournalism, poster child, squad car, thermonuclear

Neuropsychologists Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Binifirst experimented withelectroshock therapy on a person in 1938. The first known use of the word‘Rastafarianism’ in 1938 referred toa religion practiced in Jamaica.

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1939: Bloody Mary, fancy-pants

Other notable words: cocktail lounge, fearmonger, housing development, off-ramp, shoulder belt, tie-dye

Not welcomed to the dictionary until 1939, theBloody Mary drink was first created in the 1920s by Fernand Petiot and it evolved from there. The first hyphenated use of fancy-pants as an adjective appeared in the “Coshocton Tribune” in November of 1939.

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1940: Hipster, paratroops

Other notable words: acrylic resin, burnout, checksum, machine pistol, private investigator, significant other

The first Americanparatroops regimentwas created in July 1940.American subculture in 1940 included the jazz-loving hipsters.

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1941: Classical conditioning, existentialism

Other notable words: biological clock, homogenate, identity crisis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, take-out, top gun

Welcomed to the American dictionary in 1941,classical conditioning refers to the studies of Ivan Pavlov's drooling dogs.Existentialism became identified witha cultural movement in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s based on work by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others.

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1942: Atomic reactor, C Ration

Other notable words: butternut squash, eye contact, highlife, plutonium, sitting duck, tunnel vision

In June 1942 the U.S. Army took over the means fordeveloping atomic bombs, which led to the use ofatomic reactors. Wide-scale use ofC Rations in the early 1940s fed soldiers in the field.

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1943: DDT, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Other notable words: Bay scallop, contrail, escape artist, irritable bowel syndrome, seed money, white noise

DDT wasfirst made in the U.S. in 1943 and was used widely tocombat malaria, typhus and other insect-borne diseases. Its use was halted in 1972. The firstJoint Chiefs of Staff—a concept adapted by the U.S. in 1942 and defined a year later—worked throughout World War II without legislative sanction.

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1944: Banzai attack, rotator cuff

Other notable words: Antigravity, dishpan hands, hiatal hernia, sacrifice fly, thrift shop, trickle-down

The Japanese military performed its largestbanzai attack of World War IIagainst American troops in the Battle of Saipan in 1944.Rotator cuff was accepted into the dictionary this year—injuries to ithave often been the bane of baseball players.

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1945: A-bomb, cold war

Other notable words: bumper car, consumer price index, espresso, moisturize, Pentagon, sheeple

On August 6 of this year, anAmerican bomber dropped the world's firstA-bomb over Hiroshima. The alliance between the U.S. and then-Soviet Union becamea divide between communism and capitalism after World War II, leading to thecold war beginning in 1945.

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1946: Digital computer, freeze-dried

Other notable words: bakeware, crawl space, f-stop, onion ring, printed circuit, snowpack

The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer isintroduced this year as the first programmable electronicdigital computer. It occupied more than 1,000 square feet and weighed 30 tons. Added to the dictionary in 1946,freeze-dried food includescoffee, meat, and vegetables, among others.

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1947: Apartheid, cookout

Other notable words: bikini, citizens band, jimmies, decongestant, jet stream, prime time

Symptoms of what would become a 43-year period ofapartheid in South Africa led to this word addition to the dictionary this year, just before therise of theAfrikaner Nationalist Party. Coined in 1947,cookouts becamea popular backyard event following World War II.

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1948: Air piracy, hydraulic fracturing

Other notable words: chili dog, deep freeze, Milky Way galaxy, privatize, stocking stuffer, xenophile

In 1948, a Cathay Pacific plane became thefirst commercial airliner hijacked in an act ofair piracy. Research on the possiblecommercial use ofhydraulic fracturing or fracking, which began in 1947, continued through this year and led to the processes used now.

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1949: Chlorofluorocarbon, methamphetamine

Other notable words: coronary heart disease, L-tryptophan, neomycin, pallbearer, postnasal drip, risk factor

Highly regulated because of their destructive effects on the ozone layer,chlorofluorocarbons joined the dictionary in 1949, following Julian Kahn's patents onaerosols. Sales ofmethamphetaminesclimbed to$7.3 million in 1949 in the U.S., helping to further spur the American epidemic surrounding the drug.

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1950: McCarthyism, radiocarbon dating

Other notable words: action figure, brainwashing, money market, shopping mall, subscription TV, telecourse

Senator Joseph McCarthy presented a list of alleged Communists working in the State Department in 1950, and the "Washington Post" usedMcCarthyism in a political cartoon that year.Radiocarbon dating results were based on oxalic acid, containing about the same radiocarbon content as a wood sample grown in 1950.

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1951: Fast-food, manic-depressive illness

Other notable words: animal control, après-ski, birth control pill, cable television, lede, magnetic disk

Experiments in 1951 found that lithium was very beneficial for patients suffering withmanic-depressive illness. Although begun as early as 1921,the rise offast-food chains including KFC prompted dictionary acceptance of the term in 1951.

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1952: Defibrillator, global warming

Other notable words: droid, kvetch, photo opportunity, rabbit ears, stoned, Veterans Day

One of the firstdefibrillators put to use wasmade in then-Soviet Union in 1952. Also this year, thecatastrophic London fog that killed 12,000 became a rallying point in the fight againstglobal warming.

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1953: Random-access memory, stiletto heel

Other notable words: ballpoint pen, bench press, day trader, microprogramming, talent show, videotape

In March 1953 there were53 kilobytes of high-speedrandom-access memory on the entire planet. Roger Vivier, who worked forChristian Dior, invented thestiletto heel this year.

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1954: Anti-recessionary, trickle-down theory

Other notable words: cash flow, hard copy, junk mail, New York minute, surround sound, TV dinner

The so-called Eisenhower recession of 1953–54 was reportedlyminimized by the passage of theanti-recessionary Revenue Act of 1954. The phrase ‘trickle-down theory’ wasused as a joke attributed to Will Rogers in 1954.

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1955: Factor IX, fallout shelter

Other notable words: Big bang theory, home computer, microwave oven, mind-boggling, solar cell, veggie

Numerousresearch papers published in 1955 discussedfactor IX, also known as the Christmas factor, and its connections with hemophilia. Fort Wayne realtor J.L. Haverstock begansellingfreestanding familyfallout shelters in 1955 as a sideline.

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1956: Fiber optics, gobsmacked

Other notable words: all-terrain vehicle, backlit, country rock, snooze button, worry beads, zilch

The fiberscope, an image-transmitting device, used the first all-glass fiber, dubbedfiber optics in 1956. Jack Reynolds, who published "A Woman of Bangkok" this year, wrote of being "properly gobsmacked."

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1957: Asian flu, magic mushroom

Other notable words: bone spur, clip art, leaf blower, rumble strip, static cling, transsexual

The 1957Asian flu pandemic wasfirst identified in February in East Asia and spread to countries worldwide. A 1957 photo essay, "Seeking theMagic Mushroom" by amateur mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson, describes his experiences takingpsilocybin mushrooms.

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1958: Beatnik, Commonwealth Day

Other notable words: acetaminophen, beatnik, Lou Gehrig's disease, scuba diver, shotgun start, third world, Van Allen belt

Author Jack Kerouac, who introduced the Beat Generation in 1948, explained the concept ofbeatnik at a Brandeis forum in 1958. In Great Britain, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told Parliament ‘Empire Day’ would be changed to‘Commonwealth Day,’ celebrating theCommonwealth of Nations.

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1959: Apgar score, DEFCON

Other notable words: munchies, pantyhose, queen-size, Saturday night special, skateboard, tipping point

Developed in 1952 by Virginia Apgar, newborns worldwide are now examined for their health using theApgar score, a term adopted by Merriam-Webster in 1959. Also this year, the Joint Chiefs of Staff defined theDEFCON military-readinesscommand system.

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1960: Eurodollar, new journalism

Other notable words: brain drain, cruise control, dreadlock, junk food, theme park, wide receiver

With its roots traced to an $800,000 transaction in 1957, when European banks began accepting deposits in U.S. dollars, "eurodollar" made its way to the dictionary in 1960. So did "new journalism," although the term wasn't officially credited until a 1972article by Tom Wolfe in "New York Magazine."

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1961: Affirmative action, macro lens

Other notable words: black ice, docudrama, photo-realism, soul music, theater of the absurd, travel trailer

President John F. Kennedy was the first to use the term ‘affirmative action’ inan executive order in 1961. Credited for itsinvention by a West German in 1955, themacro lens lets photographers get up close and personal.

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1962: AK-47, carpool

Other notable words: lavalier microphone, mixed-media, Oval Office, road rash, salsa, tight end

Deemed themost successful assault rifle in human history, theAK-47 was designed in 1947 and accepted to the M-W dictionary in 1962. First usedas a noun in 1942, "carpool" was accepted as a verb 20 years later as people increasingly partook in carpooling.

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1963: Space walk, ZIP-code

Other notable words: bobblehead doll, checkbook journalism, electronic publishing, leaderboard, play-action pass, scam

America's firstspace walk, a term first accepted this year,came in 1965. TheU.S. Postal Service adopts a system of five-digitZIP-codes this year to speed mail delivery.

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1964: Antiquark, garage sale

Other notable words: barf bag, rat fink, snowmobiling, strike-slip, talking head, xanthan gum

Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig put forth the idea of quarks andantiquarks this year,dealing with particle masses. Although they go by many names,garage sales became increasingly popular through this time, and well into the 1970s and beyond.

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1965: Big-block, doo-wop

Other notable words: Black Panther, credibility gap, flashcube, hippie, stagflation, wiggle worm

Chevrolet rolled out itsbig-block Mark IVengine in 1965.Vocal-harmony rhythm and blues known asdoo-wop went mainstream in the 1950s and 1960s, and was added to the dictionary in 1965.

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1966: Big hair, guerrilla theater

Other notable words: bullet train, domino effect, foosball, ranch dressing, trail bike, vanity plate

Actress Marjorie Lord'smassive bouffant in a Bob Hope comedy in 1966 is considered quintessentialbig hair. The popularity ofguerrilla theater, which sprang up in 1965, continued to grow in 1966 when theSan Francisco Mime Troupe took it on a cross-country tour.

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1967: Cannabinoid, cryonic suspension

Other notable words: dietary supplement, firmware, networking, omega-3, spaghetti western, word processing

Research continued oncannabinoids this year, but controversy over legalizing its medical and recreational uses continues.Frozen in 1967, James Bedford was the first recipient ofcryonic suspension.

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1968: Epstein-Barr virus, liquid crystal display

Other notable words: blind carbon copy, correction fluid, green revolution, marginalize, peace symbol, sanitary landfill

RCAannounced the discovery of aliquid crystal display in a press conference in May of this year. Also,Epstein-Barr virus was found to bethe major cause of infectious mononucleosis.

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1969: In vitro fertilization, Martin Luther King Day

Other notable words: advocacy journalism, biofeedback, graphic equalizer, plate tectonics, sport-utility vehicle, windsurfing

Robert Geoffrey Edwards and other researchers fertilized a human egg usingin vitro fertilization in 1969. TheKing Memorial Center sponsored the first observance ofMartin Luther King Day in January, recognizing the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.

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1970: Agent Orange, comfort food

Other notable words: Africanized bee, erectile dysfunction, gene therapy, Kwanzaa, physician's assistant, Tourette's syndrome

From 1969 to 1971, the U.S. governmentsprayed 20 million gallons of herbicides and defoliants includingAgent Orange over vast areas of South Vietnam and neighboring regions during the Vietnam War.On U.S. soil, people looked tocomfort food at home in the 1970s, whichincluded chicken potpie, potatoes au gratin, and lasagna.

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1971: Animatronics, shield law

Other notable words: cooking spray, health maintenance organization, open marriage, sexual harassment, needle-nose pliers, reboot

Walt Disney World in Orlando opened in 1971, and many of their attractions featured lifelikeanimatronics. News reporters in most states are protected from disclosing confidential information or sources byshield laws. Rhode Island enacted its version in 1971.

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1972: Blaxploitation, garage band

Other notable words: air hockey, beer pong, floppy disk, Kirlian photography, newswire, red zone, username

Films such as“Super Fly” epitomized the phenomenon blaxploitation movies released this year.Garage bands, popular in the 1960s, were not recognized as a distinct musical genre until the release of acompilation album in 1972.

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1973: Closed captioning, performance-enhancing drugs

Other notable words: duct tape, gas-guzzler, Global Positioning System, hot tub, NSAID, trauma center

A PBSWashington television station successfully tested aclosed-captioning system for the first time in 1973. The U.S. Senate convenedhearings this year on improper use of drugs by athletes, includingperformance-enhancing drugs.

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1974: Chroma-key, touch screen

Other notable words: direct deposit, Heimlich maneuver, individual retirement account, megavitamins, string cheese, transgender

American and British television networks switched to green backdrops from blue in the early 1970s forchroma-key compositing. Sam Hurst andElographics are credited with developing the first true touch screen using a transparent surface.

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1975: Debit card, psychobabble

Other notable words: CAT scan, electronic mail, gigabyte, greenhouse gas, sleep apnea, sports bar, variable rate mortgage

Credit giantVisa introduced a brandeddebit card in 1975. Journalist R.D. Rosen coined the word ‘psychobabble’ this year to describejargon or cliché that damages psychological understanding.

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1976: Digital camera, Legionnaires disease

Other notable words: body piercing, crunch time, ethernet, meme, restless legs syndrome, skill set

Steve Sasson of Eastman Kodak gets credit fordeveloping the firstdigital camera in 1976. The first known outbreak of Legionella, orLegionnaires’ disease, wasdiscovered in Philadelphia this year.

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1977: Food insecure, magnetic resonance imaging

Other notable words: brewski, chop shop, cringeworthy, kite surfing, memory foam, warp speed

New rules from the 1977Food Stamp Act helped determine the cost of a healthy diet for those who werefood insecure. Thefirst use ofmagnetic resonance imaging on a live human patient was performed in July.

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1978: Agritourism, gene-splicing

Other notable words: attention deficit disorder, face-time, half-pipe, open mic, permaculture, satellite dish

The firstagritourism operations in Sardinia in 1977 were foundedto empower women in rural areas. A December 1977 article in "The New York Times" discussed thenational debate in Congress over gene-splicing technology.

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1979: Compact disc, Kemp's ridley

Other notable words: butterfly effect, done deal, first world problem, identity politics, Lyme disease, napa cabbage,

Sony and Philips Electronicsconceived thecompact disc in 1979. Theblowout of an oil well this year spilled 126 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, covering primary nesting habitats ofKemp's ridley sea turtles.

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1980: Hip-hop, megamerger

Other notable words: bird flu, northern harrier, post-traumatic stress disorder, profiling, support system, wind farm

Hip-hop became aworldwide musical and cultural phenomenon from this year. The 1980s ushered in atrend towardmegamergers in the U.S. banking industry.

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1981: High-definition, lemon law

Other notable words: app, boom box, canola oil, spreadsheet, uninstall, weekend warrior

The first demonstration ofhigh-definition television in the U.S. this year generated considerableinterest. Buyer beware: the first used-carlemon law wasendorsed by the Federal Trade Commission in August.

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1982: Snail mail, text messaging

Other notable words: acquired immune deficiency syndrome, break dancing, couch potato, domain name, e-mail, preferred provider organization

To contrast the speed of electronic mail with that of the U.S. Post Office, Jim Rutt is said to have first used the phrase ‘snail mail’ in 1981, and the term spread from there. Created in the 1980s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, theZephyr Notification System was used for earlytext messaging.

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1983: Gastric banding, proton pump inhibitor

Other notable words: CD-ROM, information superhighway, kettle chip, liposuction, screenshot, toolbar

Clinical applications of adjustablegastric banding for obese patients were begun in the early 1980s.Studies released in April looked at the effects of omeprazole, aproton pump inhibitor, on gastric acid.

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1984: Desktop publishing, DNA fingerprinting

Other notable words: clot buster, laptop, moonwalk, phen-fen, spendy, sriracha

Americaninventor Bob Doyle and family members introduced MacPublisher, the firstdesktop publishing program, this year. Geneticist Alec Jeffreysdiscovered and named the concept ofDNA fingerprinting in September.

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1985: Biodiversity, statin

Other notable words: anime, boy band, caller ID, go-to, multi-tool, sexual predator

Walter Rosen of theNational Research Council presented a seminar in 1985 to discussbiodiversity. Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries on regulatingcholesterol metabolism, which led to the release of the first commercialstatin two years later.

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1986: Glasnost, ozone hole

Other notable words: arena football, bungee jump, junk e-mail, sippy cup, sound-bite, SUV

American scientists in October 1986 reportedstrong evidence that chemical processes were causing theozone hole over Antarctica. Although a Russian word for centuries,the term ‘glasnost’ was propelled this year after Mikhail Gorbachev used the word to describe openness in activities in the Soviet Union.

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1987: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, virtual reality

Other notable words: bovine spongiform encephalopathy, community-supported agriculture, in-line skate, paintball, physician-assisted suicide, single-payer

The American Psychiatric Associationupdated the distinctions ofattention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” in 1987. Jaron Lanier, founder of the visual programming lab, coined the term ‘virtual reality’ this year.

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1988: Boomerang child, stair-stepper

Other notable words: brick-and-mortar, crop circle, hyperlink, JPEG, mosh pit, road rage

Coined in 1988,boomerang child refers to young adults who have moved out of the family home only tomove back in. The Gauntlet, an improvedrotating staircase version of astair-stepper, was introduced this year.

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1989: Eco-friendly, hypertext markup language

Other notable words: beatdown, cybersecurity, gangsta rap, Generation X, right-click, viral marketing,

Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the web in 1989, usedhypertext markup language, commonly referred to as HTML, to link documents. Also this year, Walmartlaunched one of the first major retaileco-friendly campaigns.

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1990: Lithium-ion battery, McMansion

Other notable words: chyron, geek out, hoodie, malware, shout-out, tighty-whities

Coined in the 1980s and added to the dictionary in 1990,McMansion caught on in the late 1990s to describe the phenomenon ofhome-size growth to an average of more than 2,000 square feet in 1990. Large-scalemanufacturing oflithium-ion batteries began in the early 1990s for phones, laptops and other devices.

Wikimedia Commons 73/102

1991: Chemo brain, SIM card

Other notable words: bestie, carjacking, crowd-surf, gift card, pescatarian, residential college

Research onchemo brain, orcognitive changes with chemotherapy, didn't appear until the 1990s. AGerman company made the firstSIM cards, which stands for subscriber identity module, and sold the first batch in 1991.

Linux Screenshots // Flickr 74/102

1992: Buzzkill, pdf

Other notable words: hypertext transfer protocol, infinity pool, man cave, photoshop, smack talk, zip tie

Beingnegative in a positive situation became known asbuzzkill in 1992. First announced at acomputer expo trade show, the first version ofapdf, formerly known as Camelot, appeared in 1992.

PxHere 75/102

1993: Booty call, fashionista

Other notable words: digital video disc, e-commerce, microdermabrasion, robocall, web page, universal resource locator

Attributed to analbum released by Dazzey Duks in 1993, booty call first referenced an unflattering sexual relationship. Stephen Fried coined the word ‘fashionista’ in his 1993 book, "Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia."

FreeStockPhoto 76/102

1994: Botox, Universal Serial Bus

Other notable words: cybercafé, dot-com, phytoplasma, pole dancing, spoiler alert, spyware

By 1994,17 million patients had been treated withBotox. The first Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology begandevelopment this year.

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Wikimedia Commons 77/102

1995: Anglosphere, webcast

Other notable words: cap-and-trade, instant messaging, refinance, shovel-ready, subprime, regift

Science fiction writerNeal Stephenson coined the term "anglosphere" in his 1995 book, "The Diamond Age." The 1995Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was one of the first events to bewebcast live.

Oldmobil // Wikimedia Commons 78/102

1996: Gastropub, smartphone

Other notable words: cloud computing, cyberattack, face-palm, fist bump, phishing, pick-six,

The first reference togastropubs came in Great Britain in a 1996“Evening Standard” headline. Nokia and Hewlett-Packarddeveloped some of the firstsmartphones in 1996.

Bob Boster // Wikimedia Commons 79/102

1997: Amber Alert, budtender

Other notable words: emoji, friend with benefits, judgy, m-commerce, smackdown, weblog

Named forAmber Hagerman, a 9-year-old murdered in Texas in 1996,Amber Alerts are now distributed via most versions of electronic communication. First used in 1997, abudtender oversees the sale oflegal cannabis.

sridgway // Flickr 80/102

1998: Arctic oscillation, webinar

Other notable words: cyberbullying, dark energy, DVR, open source, pikeminnow, social networking

Discussed in a 1998 paper byDavid W.J. Thompson and John M. Wallace,arctic oscillation dealt with wintertime high-pressure systems. Eric Korbregistered the termwebinar in 1998 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

PxHere 81/102

1999: Blog, clickbait

Other notable words: carbon footprint, chillax, dashcam, metabolomics, snark, vape

Coined in 1998, weblog was shortened toblog, renamed byprogrammer Peter Merholz in 1999.Clickbait, first used in 1999, became part of the newdigital vocabulary.

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Michalowic // Wikimedia Commons 82/102

2000: Bokeh, geocaching

Other notable words: google, speed dating, Sudoku, tanga, TiVo, walk back

First popularized in 1997,bokeh has become increasingly popular in renderingout-of-focus backgrounds in digital photography. Created in 2000 by David Ulmer and named by Matt Stum,geocaching is aworldwide phenomenon today.

Theanxy // Flickr 83/102

2001: Bromance, captcha

Other notable words: cankle, click fraud, goliath grouper, Internet of Things, tadalafil, twerking

Although its origins aren't confirmed, the concept of bromanceentered popular usage in 2001. Created as atool and coined as a word this year,captcha foils automatic computerized registrations without human confirmation.

Christo // Wikimedia Commons 84/102

2002: Dubstep, selfie

Other notable words: exoneree, goji berry, humblebrag, norovirus, thumb drive, vlog

Earlier versions ofdubstep in 1998 were moreexperimental than the genre of music that became mainstream in 2002. Adrunk Australian man is said to have taken the firstselfie this year.

Pixabay 85/102

2003: Baby bump, severe acute respiratory syndrome

Other notable words: binge-watch, electronic cigarette, manscaping, muffin top, net neutrality, unfriend

Hollywood programs and celebrity magazines enjoy pointing out female stars'baby bumps, beginning the term withDebra Messing in 2003.Animals in China could have spread the epidemic ofsevere acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.

Web Archives // Wikimedia Commons 86/102

2004: E-waste, social media

Other notable words: life back, paywall, podcast, roentgenium, Silver Alert, waterboarding

Signed into law in 2003 and amended in 2004, theElectronic Waste Recycling Act is designed to help consumers safely recycle theire-waste. Althoughsocial media began on sites including Friendster and Myspace, itspopularity permeated the internet with the advent of Facebook in 2004.

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Alex Graves // Flickr 87/102

2005: Glamping, locavore

Other notable words: didymo, microblogging, ransomware, sexting, truther, vodcast

Although glamorous camping has been around for centuries, luxurious tent camping earned the name ‘glamping’ in the U.K. in 2005. Challenging San Francisco residents toeat only local foods sourced within 100 miles, Jessica Prentice coined the termlocavore in 2005 with Dede Sampson and Sage Van Wing.

cesar harada // Flickr 88/102

2006: Crowdfunding, sizzle reel

Other notable words: agender, bucket list, crowdsourcing, Eris, hypermiling, mumblecore, ski cross

Michael Sullivan is credited with creating the term ‘crowdfunding’ in 2006 after launching fundavlog, a failed attempt tocreate funding for video-blog projects. Also known as a showreel or demo reel, a sizzle reel, showcases actors' or presenters' previous works.

USDAgov // Flickr 89/102

2007: Additive manufacturing, colony collapse disorder

Other notable words: hashtag, listicle, netbook, sharing economy, tweep

3-D printing, one ofseven recognized categories ofadditive manufacturing, helped vault the term into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2007. During winter 2006–2007, beekeepers reported losses of up to 90% of their hives due tocolony collapse disorder.

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2008: Bitcoin, mansplain

Other notable words: burner phone, dumpster fire, exome, frenemy, hate-watch, photobomb

Originated as anelectronic cash system in 2008,bitcoin's growth continued into 2017, when the price of one peaked at $17,900. Rebecca Solnit publishedcritiques discussingmansplaining, a term she coined this year.

Wikimedia Commons 91/102

2009: Alt-right, subtweet

Other notable words: anti-vaxxer, censorware, copernicium, glocal, lipectomy, taxflation

Making it to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year, "alt-right" refers towhite supremacists, neo-Nazis and other groups on the far right of the political spectrum. Asubtweet, added this year, is addressed to a recipient without using their name or Twitter handle.

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Gigi Ibrahim // Wikimedia Commons 92/102

2010: Arab Spring, gamification

Other notable words: biomechanic, cytostatic, dog soldier, head shot, hog piece, worlding

From December 2010 to December 2012, the world saw waves of demonstrations, protests, and otheranti-government actions during theArab Spring. Discussed in “Fortune Magazine” this year, gamification is supposed to use the mechanics of how to get gamers addicted toward generating more business.

Guilhelm Vellut // Wikimedia Commons 93/102

2011: Bibimbap, blockchain

Other notable words: cruise, earworm, over-accessorized, zero emission

The Korean dish,bibimbap, was accepted as a word by the Oxford English Dictionary this year. Launched in 2011, blockchain provides information on bitcoin transactions.

Wikimedia Commons 94/102

2012: Astrogeology, geotagging

Other notable words: boat person, databasing, design-build, femcee, surface mount, totes

The United States Geological SurveyAstrogeology Science Center published severalnews pieces in 2012, including those on planetary feature naming. The U.S. Armywarned of the security risks of geotagging photographs shared on social media.

Johnxangabear // Wikimedia Commons 95/102

2013: Flash mob, microbiome

Other notable words: fracking, geekery, headbang, imbongi, parasomnia, salat

Many videos offlash mobs suddenly appearing in public places have been shared online, including one fromNational Dance Day in Boise, Idaho. Scientific research intomicrobiomes skyrocketed in both 2011 and 2013, leading scientists to name it one of itsbreakthroughs of both years.

FriedC // Wikimedia Commons 96/102

2014: Initial coin offering, manspreading

Other notable words: backwash, bestie, flexitarian, group hug, ICO, pescatarian

Ethereum launched aninitial coin offering of its cryptocurrency in atoken sale in 2014. The New Yorksubway system launched a campaign againstmanspreading this year.

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European Space Agency // Flickr 97/102

2015: Aquafaba, haptics

Other notable words: bigender, esports, hyperlocal, lifehack, microaggression, slacktivisim

American software engineer Goose Wohlt's work withchickpea brine led to his coining the term ‘aquafaba’ in 2015. The WorldHaptics Conference in2015, sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' Robotics and Automation Society, was held in Chicago.

Brent Schumacher // Flickr 98/102

2016: Humblebrag, photobomb

Other notable words: First world problem, listicle, microaggression, side-eye, utility token, wayback

Added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016, those who humblebrag are using anineffective self-presentation strategy. Also inducted this year, photobomb has earned significant coverage since 2009.

Pixabay 99/102

2017: Clicktivism, dad bod

Other notable words: Burkini, cold brew, face-palm, K-pop, man bun, superfood,

So-calledarmchair revolutionaries chooseclicktivism to state their cases on social media. Astudy by Richard Bribiescas at Yale University suggests women are more attracted todad bods.

Cory Doctorow // Flickr 100/102

2018: Antifa, embiggen

Other notable words: chiweenie, hate-watch, microcredit, neoadjuvant, self-care, schnoodle

Although in use in various forms and as amovement for decades, antifa came into prominence as a term in the United States in 2017 as resistance to fascism spread. As a verb, embiggen was welcomed into dictionaries in 2018.

Brocreative // Shutterstock 101/102

2019: Gig economy, screen time

Other notable words: pickleball, stan, deep state

The "gig economy" came about with the rise of companies like Uber and TaskRabbit that use technology to connect people who need a service with providers looking for short-term work, or "gigs." Monitoring the amount of screen time, especially for children, or the time one spends in front of a computer, smartphone, and television, has become a hot-button issue as studies show screen time changes the human brain.

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NurPhoto // Getty Images 102/102

2020: COVID-19, social distancing, contact tracing

Around two dozen new words added to the dictionary in 2020 have to do with the novel coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world. Definitions for COVID-19 (the abbreviated form of the novel coronavirus 2019), terms we’ve all grown familiar with like social distancing, and contact tracing—the method being used for tracking the spread of the virus—were among the words added.

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