Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler tool allows the user to discover the words that were born (or at least appeared in print) the same year you were.
For the year 1957, of the 155 new words, a few of them are either words that I use somewhat frequently, or words that are in the news these days:
- chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – this has been a hot word for the past few years as the result of several NFL players suffering from this neurological disease
- cognitive dissonance – one of my favorite concepts in psychology referring to a conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously
- fund-raiser – I would have just assumed this word was 100s of years old
- mainframe – the start of the computer technology revolution; and the type of device my dad would work with most of his career
- opioid – unfortunately, we now have an opioid crisis in the U.S.
- pothead – I would have guessed this word came out of the 1960s hippie generation
- sin tax – a concept I am in favor of in many situations; I’ve even written about it
There are also many words on the list, the majority perhaps, that I have never seen before and obviously have no idea what they mean.
Here’s a sampling of such words: acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, ataxia-telangiectasia, chuffed, and cistron. It would be embarrassing to keep going on, listing all of the words I do not know.
I like these kind of web sites that show you either (1) what was going on your birthdate (in my case: “That’ll be the Day” was the number one hit on the radio and gas was 30 cents a gallon) or (2) famous people you share your birthday with (Sophia Loren, Anne Meara).
So go to Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler, type in the year of your birth and see what words were born the same year as you.
You’ll never know which words are as old as you.