Saturday, 27 November 2021

Everyday Phrases Coined in the Year You Were Born

Written by  Oct 06, 2021

The term bootylicious was first used in 1994, while selfie was in 2002 - what word was first used in your birth year?


The team at online language learning platform Preply have used data available from Merriam Webster to delve into the English language back to the 1950s to discover when these words and phrases were first used in print. 


The research found that loungewear was first used in 1957 and detox in 1973. Text message was in 1977 while phone sex was in 1892. More recent additions include sexting in 2005, manspreading in 2014 and cancel culture in 2016. 


With over 5,400 new words created every year, these are the ones that managed to catch on in everyday culture. 

Take a look at what word was created in your birth year below:



Credit: Preply

Daniele Saccardi of Preply says: “It’s really interesting to see the first print usage of some of these words and phrases that are used in everyday conversation today.


“Many new words or phrases are created by adding a prefix of or suffix to an existing one, which we can see through examples such as sexting, foodie and selfie.


“Language is constantly growing and evolving to fit in with modern society, and we can see that through this research, especially as technology becomes more apparent in our lives.”


New words are often created by a lexiconnoisseur (a person who creates words) however, authors and writers can also be credited. William Shakespeare, one of the most widely recognised playwrights in history invented 1,700 words in his lifetime, including lonely, uncomfortable, elbow and hostile


Here’s how new words are created:

  • Blending - merging two or more words together e.g. Paralympics

  • Clippings - shortening existing words e.g. Sci-Fi

  • Compounding - Adding two words together to create a new meaning  e.g. spray tan

  • Affixation - Adding prefixes or suffixes to an existing word e.g. sizeism

  • Conversion - turning nouns into verbs e.g. adulting 

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