In Twentieth Century Words, lexicographer John Ayto takes us on an exhilarating tour of our century, charting it decade by decade by way of the words we've coined to mark our passage through time. Ayto looks at some 5,000 words and meanings, from ...
rom "flapper" to "flower power" to "road rage." We learn the birth dates of words such as "movie" (1910s), "barbecue" (1930s), Beatlemania (1960s), and "foodie" (1980s). Ayto also treats us to many surprises as well. Did you know, for instance, that "atomic energy" was coined in the 1900s, "rocket ship" in the 1920s, "hologram" in the '40s, and "modem" in the '50s? And in addition to the main alphabetic sequence of entries, the book also offers boxed features on topics of special interest, such as words arising from World War II ("bazooka," "jeep," "bikini").
With a thoughtful essay to introduce each decade, and thousands of evocative words and phrases, Twentieth Century Words will enthrall all word lovers as it opens a unique window on the last one hundred years.