Time Travel With Merriam-Webster

If there’s one genre that gets me every single time, it’s time travel. I absolutely cannot resist the concept.

So I was thrilled to recently read that a physicist came up with calculations that eliminate the paradox problem. You know the issue when someone goes back in time and has to worry about changing something and destroying the present? Apparently things would all work themselves out somehow. Yay?!?!

Not only is the time travel genre fun, but it’s a great way to learn some history. I find myself wondering if certain parts of the story lines are true, so with some quick research, I’m able to find out.

Recently I enjoyed a couple of time travel series on Netflix. Since I also love foreign films, the variety of time travel shows available exponentially increases with more languages included. Back to 1989 is in Mandarin and placed in Taiwan. Live Up to Your Name is in Korean and takes place in present day South Korea and goes all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty.

So why am I bringing up time travel today? Because Merriam-Webster is playing along with the idea. They have a link you can go to and travel back. Pick the year you were born or any other year. You’ll find out when certain words were first used in print. The earliest year you can go back to is 1500, then by century and generally before the 12th century.

I went back to 1964 and it surprised me to find some of these words used so early. They seem more modern! Others are interesting in that the terms have changed and are used differently. It also makes me think about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Below are a few.

AAA, black hole, carryout, colorism, condo, drink-driving, endangered, fentanyl, garage sale, gender identity, gigahertz, grandparenting, graphic novel, gun control, homophobia, hydrocodone, mack daddy, minicam, miracle fruit, mitochondrial DNA, naloxone, pants suit and pantsuit, point-and-shoot, precalculus, precooked, quinceaƱera, rat fink, red bush tea, retribalization, reverse discrimination, skinny-dip, slow-wave sleep, street hockey, table sugar, tostone, triple jump, xanthan gum, zip-code

If you have a few minutes, take a trip back and let me know what you think!

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Screenshot Image: Merriam-Webster

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