10 Words Added to the Dictionary the Year I was Born

Merriam-Webster recently introduced ‘Time Traveler,’ a feature that lets users check out which words were added to the dictionary the year they were born.

I’m always curious to know about the latest words added to the dictionary, but I’ve never really wondered which ones might have been listed there as long as I’ve been on the planet.

But now, I no longer have to wonder.

Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s “Time Traveler” feature, I can select the year I was born and be shown a list of words added to the dictionary that year.

Here are 10 of them that jumped out at me from 1969, the year I came along:

1. Anchorwoman

Seeing this word appear in 1969 got me wondering to whom it might have first been applied. Barbara Walters was the natural first thought, though she didn’t begin anchoring until 1976 on ABC with Harry Reasoner. As best I can tell, Marlene Sanders may have technically been the first true anchorwoman, having anchored her first show (filling in for a regular anchor) in 1964, then filling in for Sam Donaldson for three months as anchor of ABC Weekend News in 1971. Walters ABC gig five years later may well be described as the first permanent female anchor position rather than a temporary one.

2. Crystal Meth

Crystal meth, otherwise known as methamphetamine or crank (and others), had its first known use in 1969. Offhand, I would have assumed the term was a much newer creation than that.

3. Delete Key

As computers were slowly beginning to appear in offices, but still long before they started appearing in people’s homes, there had to be a key to erase mistakes. But I still would have expected the “delete key” to have hit the dictionary earlier in the 1960s.

4. Fat Farm

The term for spas specializing in weight reduction made its debut in the dictionary the year I was born. Considering the country’s continuing weight problem, they still haven’t managed to get it right.

5. Homophobia

It’s curious to me that this word has only been around for less than half a century, although I certainly have no doubt that the sentiment has lasted much longer than that.

6. Kazillion

The kazillion officially made its debut this year. A synonym for zillion, it’s just an incredibly large, though not very specific number.

7. Living Will

This is a legal document that allows someone to specify that they would prefer to be allowed to die rather than be kept alive by artificial means if they were to become disabled beyond a “reasonable” expectation of recovering. If I would have had to guess, I would have said this was probably a late-1970s idea.

8. Studly

Well, is it any wonder this synonym for attractive manliness would have hit the dictionary the same time I did? I mean, come on.

9. Telephone Tag

Now more commonly known as “phone tag,” it’s the annoying phenomenon of two people missing each other and leaving messages for each other back and forth. I’m pretty sure this was shortly after the time voicemail systems started finding their way into businesses, so it’s possible that’s why 1969 was the year for this term.

10. Videocassette

The videocassette hit the dictionary just before the end of the 1960s, though the first successful home VCRs were sold in the United States beginning in the mid-1960s.

Check it out by clicking the link above.

Which word added the year you were born was your biggest surprise?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.