Word Play – Part Two

March 9, 2014 at 11:38 pm

By Terry Watada

Last month, I looked at words coined during the Nisei and the beginning of the Sansei era.  This month, let’s look at the Sansei era proper and the Yonsei era with the help of the OED Birthday Generator.

1960            bouffy (as in bouffant hairdo, now that’s a word for its time)
1961            chocoholic
1962            blag (a tall story or bluff)
1963            cyberculture
1964            Beatlesque (still with us today)
1965            bada-bing (the Sopranos live)
1966            computernik
1967            mockney (this is Beatlesque)
1968            gasp
1969            megastar (must be related to Superstar)

Other words of the 1960s: in-joke, foodaholic, expat, people-watch

1970            laugh-out-loud
1971            reboot
1972            guilt trip
1973            recyclist (the recycling movement begins)
1974            internet
1975            brainiac
1976            punkster or punk rock (Sid Vicious becomes prominent)
1977            nip & tuck (cosmetic surgery becomes a fad)
1978            gazillion
1979            bagsy (to claim something for yourself)

Other words of the 1970s: Bollywood, Monty Pythonesque, number crunch

1980            foodie (rise of the Food Channel)
1981            chill pill
1982            downloadable
1983            air guitar (also an odd Japanese TV show)
1984            shopaholic
1985            gobsmacked
1986            channel surf
1987            bazillionaire
1988            beatbox
1989            crowd-surfing

Other words of the 1980s: smartphone, spell-check, road rage, ecotourism

1990            emoticon
1991            nu skool (styles of popular music)
1992            popstastic
1993            geeksville
1994            Dad rock (better term than what my son calls “my music” – dino or prehistoric-rock)
1995            scratchiti (form of graffiti)
1996            gastropub
1997            muggle (really, Harry Potter made it into the lexicon?)
1998            hactivism
1999            bling (this one is really tired)

Other words of the 1990s: auto-complete, cybercafé, bridezilla, dotcom, fashionista, wiki

As I said last month, these are not the only words coined that year or decade, but they seem the most popular.  Many of the words listed have not survived or will in time, but then that’s the nature of language.  They are an indicator of the culture at that moment.  Whatever happened to the “beat or boom box” for example?  Who would’ve predicted the geek would last until today, especially with a positive connotation given its initial meaning?

For words of the 2000s (the Yonsei era proper and the Gosei era), you can look them up at the OED Birthday Generator website.  Just google it.