"Looking For New Words Added in the Past Century"

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 24 03:48:10 UTC 2011

Hidden acronyms and portmanteaus, such as laser and radar, are some of the
most interesting 20th century words that are /not/ adaptations of old words
in a new meaning (e.g., elevator, computer, shuttle). "Crisco" is in the
same group, although it's still a registered trademark. A lot of other
gerecided trademarks seem to be from the 20th century (some fully
genericided, such as dumpster, some "resurrected" as valid marks, e.g.,
Xerox, popsicle). But a few of those already came from the 19th century
(celluloid, linoleum, escalator). Interestingly, MWOL(11) does not give an
etymological note on popsicle and dumpster, but lists the older ones
(celluloid, linoleum and escalator) as original trademarks.

Of course, sci-fi sources are also useful, but harder to track down. Foreign
words can also show up unexpectedly--and now ubiquitously (e.g., robot).


On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 10:59 PM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net> wrote:

> The ADS journal, "American Speech", has had an "Among the New Words"
> section for a long time, maybe a century or close to it. John Algeo's
> book "Fifty Years among the New Words" (1991) is a usable index of these
> words, with dates, 1941-1991.
> I think there are other books somewhat along this line. Any reference
> librarian might know much better.
> -- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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