New words in the English language

English is the second most spoken language in the world – Mandarin is the most spoken – and has more words than any other language. But English speakers generally use only about 1% of the language. About one third of the more than one million English words are technical terms. Still, every decade new words are added to the English language. Here are some of them –

1940’s
ack-ack, apartheid, atom bomb, baby-sit, barf, bazooka, cheeseburger, crash-land, flying saucer, gobbledygook

1950’s
aerospace, alphanumeric, brainstorming, car wash, cha-cha, digitize, do-it-yourself, ethnohistory, in-house, meter maid

1960’s
area code, ASCII, biohazard, Brownie point, crib death, doofus, disco, glitch, microwave oven, Op-Ed, sexism

1970’s
airhead, bean counter, biofeedback, deadbeat dad, diskette, electronic mail, junk food, gentrify, surrogate mother

1980’s
AIDS, boom box, caller ID, channel surf, cyberpunk, dis, fragile X syndrome, greenmail, sandwich generation, trophy wife, voice mail, wannabe

1990’s
anatomically correct, bad hair day, brux, digerati, granny dumping, medicide, netnanny, olestra, soccer mom, step aerobics, uptalk, World Wide Web

2000’s
blog, botox, cantopop, chick lit, cybersquating, defriend, emoticon, fakie, freemiums, greening, jeggings, hoody, khanga, meetup, meme, mwah, paywall, patent troll, phising, sms, tankini, texting, trekkie, tweet, veejay, wi-fi

You can track new words at Word Spy and Oxford Dictionary

Did you know?
Before the year 1000, the word “she” did not exist in the English language. The singular female reference was the word “heo”, which also was the plural of all genders. The word “she” appeared only in the 12th century, about 400 years after English began to take form. “She” probably derived from the Old English feminine “seo”, the Viking word for feminine reference.

02/08/2010. Category: literature. Tags: , .

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