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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/rd.com, shutterstock

1960

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1961

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1962

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1963

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1964

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1965

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1966

 

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1967

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1968

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/rd.com, shutterstock

1969

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

beeperTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1970

The term “beeper” was coined in 1970, but people under the age of 20, today, don’t know what a beeper even is. In fact, it’s one of the many things 2000s kids will never understand.

  • Beeper
  • Comfort food
  • Control freak
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Herstory
  • Labradoodle
  • Love handles

sexual-harassmentTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1971

Know what else happened in 1971? THIS crazy story about a girl who fell from the sky.

  • 800 number
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Bizarro
  • High-concept
  • HMO (health maintenance organization)
  • Homophobe
  • Mirandize
  • Sexual harassment

women's-studiesTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1972

These are common words that you will only find in English.

soccer-momTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1973

Turns out, 1973 was a year of being body-conscious. Bikini wax, anti-cellulite, and underwire bras all became words this year.

  • Affluenza
  • Anti-cellulite
  • Bikini wax
  • Soccer mom
  • Underwire
  • Weight room

Alternative-musicTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1974

The term “Internet” was coined this year. The dictionary defines it as “an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.”

  • Alternative music
  • Acquaintance rape
  • Clicker
  • Computerphobe
  • Heimlich maneuver
  • Internet
  • Telecommute

FluoxetineTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1975

These are the most searched words ever, according to dictionary.com.

  • Alternative rock
  • CT scanner
  • Date rape
  • Direct broadcast satellite
  • Fluoxetine

fern-barTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1976

It seems 1976 was a year of strange new terms. If you’re wondering what a Fern bar is, it’s a slang word for an upscale bar that attracts singles.

  • Digital camera
  • Fern bar
  • Legionnaires’ disease
  • Mesclun
  • Skeevy

text-messageTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1977

It’s weird to think that there was a time when people didn’t use the word text message. Here are the things you should never do over text message.

  • Bad cholesterol
  • Gazillion
  • MRI
  • Text message
  • Upload

sun-protection-factorTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1978

A year of syndromes and sunscreen.

  • Control-key
  • Information technology
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
  • Toxic Shock Syndrome

california-rollTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1979

Check out these words that don’t rhyme with anything.

  • Advance directive
  • California Roll
  • Food court
  • First-world problem
  • Split-fingered fastball

hip-hopTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1980

Most of these terms are pretty self-explanatory. Except for Yuppie, which basically means young (Y) urban (U) professional.

  • Air guitar
  • Chill out
  • Hip-hop
  • Retronym
  • Usenet
  • Yuppie 

buffalo-wingTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1981

It’s hard to imagine there was a time when the word buffalo wings didn’t exist.

  • ACL
  • Buffalo wings
  • Camcorder
  • UI (graphical user interface)
  • Infomercial
  • LAN
  • Veejay (VJ)

Here is how music can make you feel younger right this very minute.

break-dancingTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1982

From the looks of it, 1982 was a year of newly discovered diseases and dance moves.

  • AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • Bias crime
  • Break dancing
  • Domain name
  • MRI
  • Screen saver

liposuctionTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1983

The term liposuction was coined in 1983, but it’s changed a lot since then. Here’s how liposuction has evolved since it first burst onto the cosmetic surgery scene.

  • Beta test
  • Greenmail
  • Hip-hopper
  • Liposuction
  • Newsgroup
  • Sertraline

laptopTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1984

A few very important terms came to be this year. Laptop, search engine, and the forever iconic moonwalk.

  • AIDS-related complex
  • Date-rape
  • DSL (digital subscriber line)
  • Hate crime
  • Laptop
  • Moonwalk
  • Phreaking
  • Search engine

boy-bandTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1985

Can you remember your favorite boy band from the 80s? The Jackson 5, Menudo, New Edition, New Kids on the Block?

  • AZT
  • Boy band
  • IP address
  • N-word
  • Step aerobics

portobelloTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1986

In 1986, popularity was brought to the term Ozone hole. British scientists had discovered a recurring springtime hole in this ozone layer, specifically, above Antarctica.

  • Chat room
  • Glasnost
  • HIV
  • Ozone hole
  • Portobello

acid-washTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1987

The term emoticon was coined in 1987, but they didn’t look quite as advanced as they do today. At the time they were referring to symbols such as :) and :/.

  • Acid-washed
  • ADHD
  • Beer goggles
  • Emoticon
  • In-line skate
  • Thirtysomething

emoTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1988

Who knew there was a term for moms who plan to have kids and still work? Just make sure you never say these things to a working mom.

  • Brick-and-mortar
  • Defrag
  • E-book
  • Emo
  • Mommy track

latteTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1989

Fun fact about 1989: It was the year that the scientific literature on forgiveness came to the fore.

  • Caffeinate 
  • Cyberporn
  • Generation X
  • Latte
  • Viral marketing
spamTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1990

A lot of Internet terms were coined this year: Internet Service Provider, World Wide Web, and the dreaded spam emails.

  • Internet Service Provider
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • McMansion
  • Spam
  • World Wide Web

mixtapeTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1991

Even though the term 3-D printer was coined in 1991, we’re still figuring out everything that it can be used for today. Here’s how it’s being used to create human body parts.

  • 3-D Printer
  • Brainfreeze
  • Heteronormative
  • Mixtape
  • SIMcard

TalibanTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1992

Just one year after the first 3-D printers were sold, the term had already been verbed.

  • 3-D printing
  • BRCA
  • Gulf War Syndrome
  • PDA (Personal Digest Assistant)
  • Taliban

Booty-callTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1993

Some funny terms were coined this year: booty call—and some serious ones: e-commerce.

  • Booty call
  • Click-through
  • E-commerce
  • Game changer
  • Robocall

roofieTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1994

The term cisgender means relating to a person who identifies with the gender he or she had at birth, is arguably a retronym for people who are heterosexual and traditionally gendered.

  • Cisgender
  • Dot-com
  • LASIK
  • Metrosexual
  • Pole-dancing
  • Roofie

genderqueerTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1995

Another term was coined about sexual orientation, genderqueer. It’s used as an umbrella term to describe anyone who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions and identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

  • Click-through
  • Date-rape drug
  • Genderqueer
  • Instant messaging
  • Stalkerazo

cloud-computingTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1996

Even though the terms face-palm and fist bump were coined in the 90s, they’re still pretty relevant today.

  • Cloud computing
  • Face-palm
  • Fist bump
  • Senior moment
  • Smartphone
  • Spoiler alert

friends-with-benefitsTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1997

In 1997, the emoticons got an update and the new and improved ones were called emojis. Here are some of the best emoji hacks you didn’t realize you needed.

  • Emoji
  • Freegan
  • Friend with benefits
  • Phishing
  • Weblog

social-networkingTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1998

Social networking came to light in 1998, but so did cyberbullying.

  • Cyberbullying
  • DVR
  • Flexitarian
  • Social networking
  • Webinar

BlogTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

1999

Ever since the term was coined in 1999, blogs have blown up. Anyone can make one, just make sure your headlines aren’t clickbait. (See what we did there?)

  • Bling
  • Blog
  • Carbon footprint
  • Chillax
  • Clickbait
  • Snark

sudokuTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2000

It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when no one in the world used the word Google.

BromanceTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2001

Ahh…the words “bromance” and “twerking.” Remember those?

  • Bromance
  • Cankle
  • Captcha
  • Goldendoodle
  • Twerking

selfieTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2002

In 2002, a term was finally coined for when you hold you camera out to take a picture of yourself. Is this good lighting for a selfie? Check out these mind-blowing selfie facts.

manscapingTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2003

The terms baby bump and muffin top were coined in the year 2003.

  • Baby bump
  • Binge-watch
  • Flash mob
  • Manscaping
  • Muffin top
  • Unfriend

Words-Coined-the-Year-You-Were-Bornpeterfactors/Shutterstock

2004

In 2004, there were only six new words. Social media and podcast were two of them. Changing the way people get information drastically. More than a decade later, we’re still trying to figure out how to have a healthy relationship with social media.

  • E-waste
  • Paywall
  • Podcast
  • Roentgenium
  • Social media
  • Waterboarding

sextingTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2005

In 2005, only the following eight words were new. Blogging and podcast got a little more niche calling for new words such as microblogging and vodcast.

  • Didymo
  • Locavore
  • Microblogging
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • Rock-snot
  • Sexting
  • Truther
  • Vodcast

ski-crossTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2006

So many new things have been discovered since 2006 that you may want to update your bucket list. Try these iconic bucket-list adventures for each of the 50 states.

  • Bucket list
  • Crowdfunding
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Eris
  • Hypermiling
  • Mumblecore
  • Sizzle reel
  • Ski cross
  • Walk back

hashtagTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2007

The year 2007 saw only six new words. #2007rocked #newwordsarecool

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Hashtag
  • Listicle
  • Netbook
  • Sharing economy
  • Tweep

bitcoinTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2008

Only three words were first used in 2008. One of them was Bitcoin, the digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer online transactions.

  • Bitcoin
  • Exome
  • Photobomb

coperniciumTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2009

The year 2009 saw only one new word, and that was “Copernicium,” which is a short-lived artificially produced radioactive element that has 112 protons. Think the elements aren’t relevant in your day-to-day life? Check out how each element impacts your daily life.

gamificationTatiana Ayazo/rd.com, shutterstock

2010

Just two new words arrived on the scene in 2010:

  • Arab Spring
  • Gamification

Just as new words are always popping up, some seem to fall by the wayside over time. These awesome words are no longer in common use but probably should be (because who doesn’t hope for a buss from their favorite snoutfair?) And please do skedaddle on over to this list of words that have practically gone extinct in the English language.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.