New words in the English language

English is the most spoken language in the world – Mandarin is the most spoken mother tongue – 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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