Nevermind the ball drop and resolutions, the most exciting part of the new year is Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year.
This year, the front-runner and word to beat seemed to be “twerk”, thanks to Miley Cyrus making it such a household name that even grandparents were busting out the move as if it was the Macarena. But in the end the guernsey went to “selfie”, defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
But if only one word is systemically chosen to be a representation of a whole year’s worth of wordplay, a word-fanatic might be left with some hunger pains.
With the OED’s new birthday word generator, you can look up which word garnered the top-spot for any given year since its inception.
Choose the year you were born (or any year for that matter) and the simple online tool will serve up the word that defined that year, along with an example of how it was first used.
“We’ve scoured the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to find words with a first known usage for each year from 1900 to 2004,” says the post on the OED’s blog.” Simply select the relevant decade and click on your birth year to discover a word which entered the English language that year.”
Some years and the words they gave birth to:
1917: chucklesome, adj. Meaning: Humorous, amusing; full of laughter.
1953: frenemy, n. (yes, this word is older than you may have thought). Meaning: A person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry; a person who combines the characteristics of a friend and an enemy.
1979: bagsy, v. Meaning: To assert a claim or right to (something) by using the expression ‘bagsy’; to demand as one’s due for being first to claim.
1993: geeksville, n. Meaning: A place or state characterized by geekiness.