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Every Word Coined the Year You Were Born

Language is constantly evolving, and the dictionary is right on top of that. Even better, Merriam-Webster has created Time Traveler, which can tell you the exact year certain words first appeared in print. Here's a sampling of the words introduced every year between 1960 and 2010, as high as Time Traveler goes for now.

DreadlocksTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


So many words were first used in 1960 that it seems more practical if we just list the highlights (to see all the words that were new in 1960 or for any year, click on the heading for that year, and you'll be taken to Time Traveler's listing). It was a year of electricity (for both powering things in your home and on the dance floor), new hairstyles, and more types of dogs bred with a poodle.

  • AAA battery
  • AC/DC
  • Arugula
  • Catsuit
  • Cockapoo
  • Dial-up
  • Dufus (also spelled "doofus")
  • Discotheque
  • Dreadlocks
  • Junk food
  • Mod
  • Wait-list
PaparazzoTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


1961 brought us more batteries and a term for the busiest shopping day of the year.

  • AA battery
  • Affirmative Action
  • Black Friday
  • Down Syndrome
  • Object code
  • Paparazzo
speed-readingTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


This was the year that the first touch-tone phones were introduced to customers and the fancy office where the president works got a name.

  • CPU
  • Oval Office
  • Speed Reading
  • Tumble Dry
  • Touch-Tone
  • T-ball

These photos of kids playing games without technology might bring us all back to a simpler time.

DiscoTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


In 1963, the word 'disco' was coined to describe the music played in discotheques.

  • Disco
  • Hip-huggers
  • Mind-expanding
  • Space walk
  • Source code
sucker punchTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


We use a lot of these words coined in 1964 on the daily.

  • Gun control
  • High tech
  • Identity theft
  • Pantsuit (or pants suit)
  • Sucker punch
  • Worst-case
  • ZIP code
hippieTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


The first use of hippie in a 1960's counter cultural/flower child sense was in a series of articles on Haight-Ashbury that began running in the San Francisco Examiner in September 1965. The word "grunge"—referring to the type of music—also came to be this year.

  • Bogart
  • Empty-nest syndrome
  • Grunge
  • Hippie
  • Hypertext
  • Xerox
afroTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock



Big hairstyles got their name in 1966. The annoying red bumps that occasionally pop up on your face were also given a name.

  • Afro
  • Head Shop
  • Hedge Fund
  • Miranda
  • Multitasking
  • Zit
aerobicsTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


Don't worry, you're not a dork if you do aerobics. But, in 1967, people did have another way to ridicule nerds.

  • Aerobics
  • Dork
  • Firmware
  • Flower child
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
altkeyTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


A few technology terms were coined in 1968. You should also really know these social media slang terms by now.

  • Alt key
  • Band-aid
  • Cellulite
  • Home screen
  • Local Area Network
  • Radicchio
  • Word processor
  • Yippie
videoTatiana Ayazo/, shutterstock


No, a word for a chilly bird wasn't coined this year. Cold duck actually refers to a beverage consisting of a blend of sparkling burgundy and champagne

  • Cold duck
  • Delete key
  • Kazillion
  • Limousine liberal
  • Video vérité
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