Staid dictionary up to date with word blog

By Tom Bacon

If you have any memories of doing school research in the Oxford English Dictionary, they're probably not fond ones…it was a huge, weighty tome that required its own stand; dry, terse and turgid. But the old OED has gone hip. It now has an on-line word generator that matches up the birth of words with your birth year.

The OED entry for the year 2000 on the dictionary's blog.For example, you may be surprised to learn that "mobile phone" entered the English lexicon in 1945, a year in which most phones were still clunky old instruments tethered to the wall by heavy cords. And TV was born in 1948.

Even the word "internet" is older than you might think. It found its way into the OED long before the internet was actually viable - in 1974- when computers were the size of storage lockers. And "clone" is not as trendy as you might think. It's a graybeard which showed up in the staid old dictionary back in 1930, going on 84 years ago.

If you were born in 1956, "nitpick" was born the same year. Freebie showed up in 1925, and air-conditioned just two years later, in 1927. For the younger among you, gobsmacked was the word in 1985, and channel-surf the next year. As for me, my birth year word was face-lift. I'm not going to tell you what year that was, but it's an appropriate word for my condition.

If you'd like to see a word born the same year you were, go to OxfordWords blog.

Photo: The OED entry for the year 2000 on the dictionary's blog.
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