SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Aug. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Merriam-Webster, America's leading dictionary publisher, announces the launch of Time Traveler—a new feature on Merriam-Webster.com that allows users to explore all the words first recorded in a particular year.*
Exploring Time Traveler is surprising and enlightening, with many words first recorded much earlier or later than one might expect. Prima donna and unsportsmanlike date back to 1754, while neurotypical wasn't recorded until 1994. The term Internet appeared in print for the first time in 1974, but evidence of hyperlink before 1988, or of URL before 1992, has yet to be found. (Chat room predated both, in 1986.)
Users have quickly gravitated to looking at which words were first recorded in the years they were born, graduated college, got married, or had other milestones. Here are some of Merriam-Webster's: Distillery, bakery, and scoot are all words first recorded in 1758, the year Noah Webster was born. The Collegiate® Dictionary was first published in 1898, the year of kimchi, neon, and slacker. Fist pump, gastropub, and pick-six all date to 1996—the year Merriam-Webster launched its first website.
"We built Time Traveler because we ourselves could spend hours exploring this data, and we thought it would be fascinating for everyone else, too," says Lisa Schneider, Chief Digital Officer and Publisher for Merriam-Webster. "It's entertaining to see what words were first used the year you were born, or the year you graduated college, and it's especially interesting to discover a word that has been around for centuries longer than (or is much newer than!) you might expect. We're thrilled to extend this new feature to our users, and invite them to explore along with us."
Dictionary entries on Merriam-Webster.com list the date of "First Known Use"—the earliest currently-recorded use in English—of the oldest sense defined in the entry. With Time Traveler, users are now able to see other words first recorded that same year.
* Note that there is some art to these facts: antedating happens regularly, and first-known-use dates are subject to frequent (but not instant) updating, as new evidence is uncovered.
About Merriam-Webster Inc.
For more than 150 years, in print and now in digital media, Merriam-Webster has been America's leading and most-trusted provider of language information. Each month, our websites and apps offer guidance to tens of millions of visitors. In print, our publications include Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary (among the best-selling books in American history) and newly published dictionaries for English-language learners. All Merriam-Webster products and services are backed by the largest team of professional dictionary editors and writers in America, and one of the largest in the world.
Meghan Lunghi, Director of Marketing
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