• Jennifer McCrackin

TIME TRAVELER TOOL: Merriam-Webster's new words "The Year You Were Born"?

The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.


For my birth year 1975, the words "cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)" and "Reiki" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.😁

But I also completely identified with the fact that I grew to want to be in a career involving both of these! NEVER knowing how odd this was going to be, I set out to plug in the years of my closest family members to see if their year produced something similar. I was freaked out when my husband's year said "geotechnical engineering", which is exactly what he does as a career. There aren't many like him, it was SUPER weird.

It was even fun to see what words came about during my kids' short lives. My oldest is 14, and words that came into print in her birth year 2006 include "Youtuber" and "totes", both of which are a SERIOUSLY big deal to her. She has her own shows!

It really is like a time capsule that offers a snapshot of life and culture in any given year. Language is a fascinating thing, ever-changing and ever-evolving. Thanks, Merriam-Webster, for providing a simple way to see that truth play out over time.

TRY IT OUT! You can try out Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool

It's Fun!

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