Friday, 26 October 2018

semantic shifting

Via Marginal Revolution, we are directed to Merriam-Webster dictionary Time Traveller service that tracks the first occurrences of English words at least in print. Plugging in my birth year—1976—the results are a little bit jarring, think such concepts are either more veteran or truly contemporary neologisms, we find that among manner other borrowings and coinages the language has received: boat people, body piercing, cosmic background radiation, dream catcher, exit poll, killer bee, meme, restless leg syndrome, waitperson and wannabe. A century ago in 1918, we had minted: cabin fever, D-Day, deep-dish, Europocentric, extrovert, goop, humanoid, plaintext, processed cheese and wonky—just to date a few.