ATG Quirkies: Find Out Which Words Were Born the Same Year As You

Photo: Karen Bleier/Getty

According to the A.V Club website, the dictionarists at Merriam-Webster have released a fun new tool that allows users to discover a a kinds of interesting things.Time Traveler is an exhaustive listing of the origin of nearly every word you can think of, their dates assigned through the first time a given term made its way into print.

While Merriam-Webster’s press release for the project cites use cases like looking up the words introduced the year you were born, what sticks out most from perusing Time Traveler is how a quick trip through the last few decades of new terms reveals seismic shifts in global culture. 2007, for example, sees “listicle” and “hashtag” alongside “sharing economy.” In 2004, “social media” and “waterboarding” are introduced. 1992 has “website,” “URL,” “HTML,” and a handful of other now-common internet terms next to “Taliban” and “Gulf War syndrome…

Time Traveler is a great tool for education and trivia, but also a fascinating way to see how the words we create reflect the times we live in. Check it out for yourself to marvel at the the long history of our language…”

(Thanks to John Riley of Gabriel Books for providing ATG Quirkies)

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