The Oxford English Dictionary "Birth Word" Engine Helps You Discover The Word That Was Born When You Were
If, like me, you're the kind of person who just can't get enough of nifty little tidbits about your birthday to entertain (read: bore) people with at parties, prepare to have your mind blown. The Oxford English Dictionary created a "birthday word" engine, which tells you what words were "born," aka used for the first known time, in the same year as you. Because who doesn't want to celebrate their birthday alongside a word like "gobsmacked?" No one. That's who.
For all you lonely single children out there who always wanted a sibling, congratulations! You can now claim words like "bromance" and "gastropub" as your long-lost twin. I just hope you weren't born in 1995, though, because "scratchiti" totally sounds like the kind of sibling who would mess up all your stuff accidentally-on-purpose while you weren't looking. Then again, who am I to judge?
Actually, who am I kidding? I love judging. You love judging. Honestly, we all love judging, even if we could all stand to do it a little less. So instead of judging people, let's some birthday words today instead! Don't pretend you aren't procrastinating to the max right now anyway.
Because this is my article and I run the show (neener neener), let's start with my birth year, which was 1992. (I'll save you the mental math: I'm 23. Use that knowledge wisely.) According to the OED blog, the word that was born at the same time as me was...
Considering I was jamming out to Circus-era Britney this morning, I'd say this is pretty appropriate. Does this also mean I'm destined to be a pop star despite my squeaky singing voice and lack of coordination? Of course it does. Sorry, Mom, but this is my future now.
Despite what Tumblr would have you think, though, not everyone on the Internet is a '90s kid, or even an '80s kid. To cover all our bases, let's take a look at the birth words of some notable people over the years, starting all the way back in 1900.
1. Marlene Dietrich, 1901
Birth word: ballyhoo, n.
Meaning: Originally (at a carnival, etc.): a showman's touting speech, or a performance advertising a show. Hence (as mass noun): bombastic nonsense; extravagant or brash publicity; noisy fuss.
2. Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Ingrid Bergman, 1915
Birth word: Back-to-nature, adj.
Meaning: Chiefly attrib. Designating a movement or enthusiast for reversion to a simpler way of life.
(Two things: First, it's hilarious that Sinatra's birth word is anything to do with simple living, considering his notoriously dazzling style. Second, was there something in the water that made the babies born in 1915 so amazing? I mean, seriously. You can't tell me Sinatra, Holiday, and Bergman being born in the same year is a coincidence.)
3. Marilyn Monroe
Birth word: Can-do, adj.
Meaning: Characterized by a willingness, confidence, and determination to take action, show initiative, and achieve objectives; positive, eager, enterprising. Freq. in can-do attitude.
4. James Dean, 1931
Birth word: Photomontage, n.
Meaning: Montage (montage n. 1b) that makes use of photographic images and techniques; (also) a picture made by this method; a montage constructed from photographic images.
5. Michael Jackson, 1958
Birth word: Photocall, n.
Meaning: Originally: a summoning of theatrical or other performers to be photographed, esp. during a rehearsal or before or after a performance.(Side note: this is also the decade in which "decaf," aka my worst nightmare, made its debut.)
6. Jennifer Lopez, 1969
Birth word: Megastar, n.
Meaning: An exceptionally famous, well-publicized, or successful celebrity, esp. in the entertainment business
7. Taylor Swift, 1989
Birth word: Crowd-surfing, n.
Meaning: The action of lying flat while being passed over the heads of members of the audience at a rock concert, typically after jumping into the audience from the stage.
8. Harry Styles, 1994
Birth word: Dadrock, n.Meaning: Rock music that appeals to an older generation, or is heavily influenced by that of an earlier era, esp. the 1960s. Also: rock music performed or recorded by male musicians who have had a relatively long career.To check out your own birth word, head over to the Oxford English Dictionary blog. Images: Derek Key/Flickr, Giphy (8)