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    War 
  • The Spanish "Reconquista" was called that for the first time in the 17th century. Perhaps not too coincidentally, the same century that saw the expulsion of the Moriscos during a wave of Patriotic Fervor.
    • The concept of the Reconquista, the idea that the Christian kingdoms of the north were heirs to the Visigothic kingdom and had a "mandate" to conquer the Muslims is both an example of this and the opposite trope. It arised more or less at the same time as the first crusade in the 11th century. Before that, the Christian kingdoms had enough work just surviving to dream of conquering the Iberian Peninsula.
    • Even then, the idea that Muslims had to convert to Christianity or suffer expulsion didn't appear until around 1500, after the Reconquista's end. For centuries, the Christian kings were happy to have large Muslim communities in their kingdoms. These, called Mudejars, were direct vassals of the Crown unless made otherwise, and paid their taxes to it. The same happened to the Jews.
  • The Crusaders and the Crusades were never called such at the time; the soldiers were fideles Sancti Petri (the faithful of Saint Peter) or milites Christi (knights of Christ). They saw themselves as undertaking an iter (journey) or peregrinatio (pilgrimage). The term "crusade" (Fr. croisade, Sp. cruzada) comes from the practise of sewing a woollen cross into one's shirt and was only used in later accounts and poems. In other words, crusades got that name because they were made by crusaders (a.k.a. people with crosses in their clothing) rather than crusaders being called that because they went on crusade.
  • The Anarchy (an English civil war of 1135-54) wasn't called that until the late 19th century.
  • The Wars of the Roses (an English civil war of 1455-85) get their name from an 1829 novel by Walter Scott. And although the Lancastrians had a red rose as their heraldic badge, and the Yorkists a white, the armies more commonly fought under a red dragon and a white boar respectively. The rose symbolism was popularized by the Tudors, whose heraldic badge was a rose with both red and white petals; the imagery appeared in Queen Elizabeth's coronation pageantry and is best known today because of a scene in Shakespeare's Henry VI Part 1.
  • Obviously any war called "the X Years War" could only be called that after it was over. In some cases it is debatable if such a retroactively applied names are justified. Thus some historians see the Thirty Years War as four separate wars in quick succession (the Bohemian-Palatine War, the Danish-Lower Saxon War, the Swedish War and the French-Swedish War) and some early modern historians see the name "the Hundred Years War" as an attempt at one-upmanship by 19th century medieval historians, pointing to the fact that the periods of fighting were often very short and separated by longish periods of uneasy peace.
  • Similarly, wars called "the First X War" or "First War of X" usually only were called that after the second one had begun.
    • Interestingly, the term "First World War" was coined in 1914 by the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel. Although he used the term "First" to emphasize that this War is the the first true global war, not because it is the first of multiple wars.

    Interjections 
  • The affirmative "OK" dates to the early 19th century, and is of uncertain etymology.
    • And the variant "A-OK" was popularized by a NASA public affairs officer during the Mercury program.
  • The greeting "hello" is an Americanism, dating to 1840. It did not become popular until the invention of the telephone.
    • "Hullo", on the other hand, is derived from German "hallo" and has been around in English much, much longer. Not that anyone really says it anymore. Or, if anyone was to say it, they'd be accused of "mispronouncing" the word — or, worse yet, speaking "improperly". (Harry Lime still uses it in The Third Man.)
      • Although in some colloquial British dialects, it's still pronounced as "hullo", with only the spelling changing.
    • It only really began to be used as a greeting when the phone was invented. Before that, it was more commonly an expression of mild surprise. (as "Hey!" still is)
      • "Hello" often is still used as an expression of mild surprise, e.g. "Hello, what is this?" See So I Married an Axe Murderer for profuse use of this sense of the word.
    • The term "Heula" in Norman language is still used in contemporary normandy as an expression of surprise, and is pretty much pronunced "hello".
  • The phrase "Boom goes the dynamite!" was invented in 2005 by Ball State University student Brian Collins during a sports newscast.
  • Asking "is that a thing?" or saying that "x is a thing now" is a phenomenon of The New '10s. Before then, you might have asked "Is there such a thing as...?" or said that "x is something that exists / people do", but the now-familiar, more streamlined usage first emerged around 2010.
  • Oh God, with the Verbing! falls into here. Any time you hear someone say "Enough with the..." or "Down with the..." or "Stop with the..." they're paraphrasing Jerry Lewis's comedy routines from the 1950s, in which he was originally mimicking the semantic structures of Yiddish.
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    Unsorted 
  • The Silk Road was never called that in ancient times — the term Seidenstraße was first used in the late 19th century. The man who coined the term had a nephew who served in World War I — Manfred von Richtofen, AKA The Red Baron.
  • The American Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, did not contain any references to "the United States of America" until 1923, nor did it mention God prior to 1954, when it was added to differentiate America from the atheist Commies.
    • The writer of the original pledge was a (Christian) socialist named Francis Bellamy, and despite being a Baptist minister he wrote a version without "under God".
    • The tradition of placing one's hand over the heart while reciting the pledge came about during World War II. The original standard practice was to hold your hand over your heart only for the line "I pledge allegiance," and then to point at the flag with four fingers, arm outstretched, palm down, for the remainder of the pledge. Crop out the flag in a picture of one of your political adversaries showing his patriotism, and you've got a front page picture that looks very much like Charles Lindbergh doing a Nazi salute (this actually happened).
      • The hand gesture in question is called the Roman Salute, because it is assumed to have originated in the ancient Roman Republic (however, the earliest recorded use of it is from the 18th century, so this may qualify as Newer Than They Think in itself). Either way, it was around as a generic gesture of respect a long time before the Nazis — and at least a few decades before the founding of the United States, for that matter. Then, after the Nazi use of the gesture became famous, everyone else stopped using it. So that's why it's considered a "Nazi salute" today, in much the same way that the swastika is considered a "Nazi symbol" even though it has been around for thousands of years. And Now You Know.
      • Its associations with saluting may come from the fact it's used as a gesture of blessing in the Catholic Church (and possibly the Orthodox Church, too). And they probably did get it from Rome (by way of Byzantium, in the second case). We know the Romans used the gesture, just not how.
  • The term "Fifth Column", referring to a resistance group or spy organization that undermines something from within, only dates back to 1936, in the Spanish Civil War. As Nationalist General Emilio Mola advanced with four columns of troop on the city of Madrid, he claimed a "fifth column" would rise up from the city's population to aid him. He was wrong, but the term caught on and was in heavy use by the fall of France in 1940. Interestingly, after Mola coined it, the term is almost always used to refer to an enemy cabal, and not a group on the side of the speaker.
  • "Flying saucer" wasn't coined as a term until 1947, when a pilot named Kenneth Arnold spotted a formation of UFOs and coined the term in an interview. Interestingly, the term was used to describe the objects' movement — "[like a] saucer skipping over water" — rather than shape (he described the shape as crescent-like). That's right, the image of the circular flying saucer is really a result of Memetic Mutation.
    • Ironically, "UFO" has come to mean "flying saucer", but in its original USAF coinage means precisely what it says — an airborne phenomenon, apparently a material object and hence apparently flying, which for the moment at least cannot be identified. Thus the report of a UFO by one of the Apollo 8 astronauts wasn't nearly as exciting or significant as commonly supposed.
  • The term "Ivy League" wasn't used until the 1930s; its origin is uncertain. It initially described the division of college athletics that eight coincidentally highly exclusive colleges found themselves in. Only much later did it become a blanket term for those schools as a collective.note 
  • The illusionist's meaning of "prestige" did not exist before the 1995 novel The Prestige. Even in the novel, the first two parts were referred to as "set up" and "performance"; the more ostentatious "pledge" and "turn" were coined by Nolan for the film.
  • The NATO phonetic alphabet (the one that begins "alpha, bravo" ) was standardized in 1956. Thus any depicted use in World War II settings is a case of research failure. The Other Wiki has comparative tables of the various national systems is use before 1956.
  • Both the notion that women and children should be saved first and that The Captain must sink with his ship unless everybody else is safe stem from (quite horrible) naval incidents in the 19th century. And only the second one did ever have some actual back-up in maritime law, while the first one was more of a social convention.
  • While Russia's rulers have been sending people for exile or punishment in Siberia for centuries, the term gulag began as the acronymized name of the office that organised Stalin's labour camps (Glavnoye Upravlyeniye Ispravityel'no-Trudovih Lagyeryey i koloniy = The Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies). This was established in 1930.
    • The term itself became popular after Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago was published in the West in 1973. Russians themselves never used that term in common talk, referring to labor camp as lagyer (lit. 'camp') and katorga (lit. 'forced labor').
  • Pyrokinesis is a term basically invented by Stephen King in Firestarter. The concept itself is very old, however. Ironically, since the proper terms for various psychokinetic powers don't always appear in dictionaries, some people think they've invented the term, also making it Older Than They Think.
  • Acronyms (new words formed from the initials of a phrase, such as radar or laser) in English are probably no older than World War I — certainly there has never been any confirmed instance of an acronym older than this. This is not helped by the fact that "acronym" is often abused as a synonym of "initialism", or that some so-called "acronyms" (such as the Greek for "fish" being composed of the initials of the Greek for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour") are actually acrostics (the phrase was devised so that its initials formed an already-existing word). Indeed, "radar" is a double case — originally a WW2 acronym for "RAdio Detection And Ranging" (deliberately palindromic to reflect how radar works), it has since become an acrostic for "Royal Association for DisAbility Rights" (who, amongst other things, operate Britain's National Key Scheme for public toilets). Various folk etymologies, especially for swear words like For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Ship High In Transit, are 100% wrong but still amusing. The first recorded use of the word "acronym" itself was in 1943.
    • Again, we must emphasize, that's just English. In other languages, older acronyms do exist; they are particularly common among the Semitic languages, as any combination of three consonants can be a read as a word (most Semitic languages are written with alphabets that are actually "abjads", that is, they do not expressly write out short vowels or any vowels, depending on the alphabet). The Talmud contains plenty of examples; even the Hebrew term for the Bible, Tanakh, is an acronym (Torah, Nevi'im,note  and Ketuvim,note  standing for the three sections of the Bible; when you write the word "TNK" in Hebrew, Tanakh is how you'd pronounce it).
  • The term "Home Counties" to describe the English counties around London (Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Sussex) wasn't used until the late 19th century. It probably derives from the Home Circuit of the itinerant Assize Court.
  • You definitely seen this one circulating around the webs:
    The Earth is degenerating these days.
    Bribery and corruption abound.
    Children no longer mind their parents,
    every man wants to write a book,
    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
    • Then comes the line that this saying is from an Assyrian tablet dated 2,800 BC. Guess what? Assyria hadn't even existed at that time! The earliest mention of this saying is from 1924 book by an American priest (proof link). And most probably he just made the whole thing up.
    • The complaints this saying mentions, on the other hand, go back at least to the Romans.
  • The term "Byzantine Empire" was actually popularised in the nineteenth century and was only first used in 1557, a full century after Constantinople had been conquered by the Ottomans. In its time it was known as the "Empire of the Greeks" to outsiders, and went under a number of names to its inhabitants (including "Roman Empire", "Empire of the Romans", and "Romania").
    • Likewise, the word "Aztec" was popularized by Alexander von Humboldt in the 19th century to differentiate between pre-Spanish conquest "Mexicans" and the inhabitants of the then newly independent country. Today, some people prefer the use of the native name Mexica (from where Mexican is derived) instead. In fact, the Aztec foundation myth could be summed as the god Huitzilopochtli showing up at Tenochtitlan and telling them "This is your new home! You will not be Aztecs (i.e. from Aztlan) ever again!"
  • The e-mail hoax Life in the 1500s claims many common expressions date to the sixteenth century, including "raining cats and dogs", "dirt poor", "bring home the bacon", "chew the fat", "trench mouth", "graveyard shift", and "dead ringer." These expressions actually originated more recently, with "raining cats and dogs" dating to 1708, "dirt poor" to 1937, "bring home the bacon" to 1909, "chew the fat" to 1885, "trench mouth" to sometime in World War One, "graveyard shift" to 1907, and "dead ringer" to 1891.
  • The practice of referring to the lost skyscrapers of the World Trade Center as the "North Tower" and "South Tower" only became commonplace in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. While they stood, the Twin Towers were generally known as Tower 1 and Tower 2.
  • Here's a Newer-Than-They-Think Catchphrase. A common Memetic Mutation regarding Statler and Waldorf is their trademark laugh, rendered as "dohohohohohoh". If you watch footage of Statler and Waldorf under their original performers, the laugh was a very different "heheheheheh". The laugh we're familiar with first surfaced in The Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992, when Jerry Nelson and Dave Goelz took over the roles after the deaths of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt.
  • The concept of "genocide" dates back to ancient times, but the actual word was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.
    • The word "Holocaust" was used as a stock term for a number of tragedies during the 20th century, including both world wars and the Armenian genocide of the 1920s. It wasn't until the 1960s when it began to be applied exclusively to the Nazi persecution of Jews — and some argue that it didn't actually catch on among the public until the release of the Meryl Streep Holocaust miniseries in 1978.
  • The term Steampunk was coined by K. W. Jeter in 1987. The term "cyberpunk" barely precedes it, being first attested in 1986.
  • Although the term "political correctness" dates back at least to the 1970s, it didn't gain wide currency until the late 1980s, and was completely unknown in the UK until well into the 1990s. Anybody in the UK who says they used the term, or were accused of it, in the 1980s, can safely be assumed to be just plain wrong; more likely the term actually used by, or against, them was "right on".
  • The abbreviation "USA" for The United States was virtually unheard of before the 1920s; before then, "the Union" was the usual shorthand, although "US"/"U.S." was known. Also, "U.S.A." was known...to mean (most commonly) "United States Army" or (more rarely) "United States Attorney."
  • The first monarch to be addressed as "Your Majesty" was Charles V in the early 16th century, who thought that as Holy Roman Emperor he deserved something that ranked above "Royal Highness" (Majesty comes from Latin Maiestas, which literally means "Greatness"). Francis I of France and Henry VIII of England immediately screwed with him by adopting the treatment themselves — albeit inconsistently in Henry's case, as he continued to be addressed as "Highness" and "Grace" in addition to "Majesty" throughout his reign.
    • The "Majesty" style does seem to have been used (in the alternative to the standard "Lord" or "Grace") by Richard II and Henry V of England a little earlier, but it certainly didn't become the standard until the modern period. In many countries it's never been adopted.
  • Similarly, the idea of every son and daughter of the reigning British monarch (and we do mean British, as it didn't happen until after the 1707 Act of Union) automatically holding the title of "prince" and "princess" was introduced by George I in the early eighteenth century. Prior to this, the title was created by the sovereign, and only for the eldest son (Prince of Wales) until Charles I created the title of "Princess Royal" for his eldest daughter, taking direct inspiration from the French court. Younger sons and daughters of monarchs (who tended to be rare in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at any rate) were usually styled "Lord" and "Lady" until they were either granted Dukedoms (in the case of sons) or married (in the case of daughters).
  • The name "Maria" was pronounced the same as "Mariah" in English until the mid-20th century, when the influence of Mexican and Italian immigrants to the US gradually changed it. Additionally, Don Quixote was frequently pronounced as "Don Quicksut" and Don Juan as "Don Joo-an" until the 1950s or so.
    • Similarly, "Lisa" was pronounced "Leeza" when it was first imported to America, fitting its origin as a Continental European diminutive of Elizabeth. That's how Grace Kelly's character in Rear Window pronounced her name. By The '60s the more familiar pronunciation had won out, though.
  • The word "mullet", in reference to the long men's hairstyle, was coined in the 1994 Beastie Boys song "Mullet Head", well after the style had faded out of popularity. note 
  • The word "meh", meaning "unimpressive, banal, mediocre", was unknown in writing before 2003. In its spoken form, it dates to the mid-1990s, probably deriving from The Simpsons.
    • On the other hand, its Spanish equivalent, "pse" (usually spoken as "Psee..."), is rather old.
  • The phrase "In God We Trust" first appeared on U.S. paper currency in 1957. It was mandatorily included on all US coins two years prior to this.
  • While the device was used before, the term "Molotov Cocktail" was coined by the Finns as a joke during the Winter War (1939-1940). Soviet diplomat Vyacheslav Molotov had claimed in a radio broadcast that the Soviet airforce was not dropping bombs on Finland, only "food packages" for the "starving" Finns. The Finns told Molotov that he could eat his packages, and drink that cocktail to go with the food.
  • The superlative "The mother of all...", referring to the greatest example of a particular thing, derives from Arabic; specifically, its use in English comes from Saddam Hussein's declaration in 1990 that the Gulf War would be the "mother of all battles". (In Arabic, of course, the locution is ancient.)
  • Since a good portion of the public still primarily knows George Takei for his career-defining role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, many people are surprised to learn that his famous Catchphrase, "Oh myyy...", isn't actually from Star Trek. He first said it during a broadcast of The Howard Stern Show that aired over a decade after his final appearance as Sulu.
  • The word "camouflage" was coined by the British Army in 1917, modified from the French slang word camoufler.
  • The term "Black Friday", referring to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, cannot be proven to have existed before 1961. The term remained unknown outside the Philadelphia area until the late 1980s, and Black Friday itself has only been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005 (the former busiest days being December 23 and the days preceding it).
  • The word "fundamentalism," as a byword for religious fanaticism, dates only to 1920. You wouldn't know this from how frequently it's applied to people living before this era. Before that it just literally meant someone who stuck to the fundamentals of their belief system, more along of the lines of "traditional", "orthodox", or just "not a heretic".
  • The term "high five" first appeared in print in 1980 and the gesture itself cannot be proven to exist before the 1970s, though its predecessor, the "low five", is recorded in African American communities at least as far back as WW2.
  • The first knock-knock joke recorded in print dates to 1929, and they didn't become widely known until the 1950s.
  • The word "snark", in the sense of "cynical yet delightfully witty" that this site uses (such as on Deadpan Snarker), dates to 2002.
  • The word "orange" was not used in English before the 16th century. The word itself derives from the color of the fruit, which was unknown in Europe before the early modern period. Medieval writers sometimes used "saffron" to describe things we would now call orange, and there was a word in Old English geoluhread (yellow-red), but more often just called orange things "red"—hence why the terms "red hair" and "robin redbreast" still exist in English, despite their being more orange than red. Comparisons can be made here to East Asia's traditional lack of distinction between blue and green.
    • Likewise, pink has only been considered a separate color from red since the mid-18th century; the first known use of the word "pink" to refer to the color dates to 1733, deriving from the flower of the same name.
  • The sayings "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" and "Above all else to thine own self be true" are often misattributed to Jesus. Both actually originate from Polonius in Hamlet.
  • The standard pirate accent dates back to the 1950 movie Treasure Island, when Robert Newton used his natural Cornish accent to play Long John Silver. The association of English rural accents with seafaring arguably goes back to Lord Nelson, whose contemporaries noted his heavy Norfolk accent, and Cornwall has been known for producing large quantities of pirates since the Middle Ages, but Treasure Island brought the accent into pop culture, as well as popularising the phrase "ARRRRHHHH!". For reference, "Ar" was the southern English equivalent of the Northern "Aye" until universal education started.
  • The word "sexism" was coined by Pauline M. Leet at a conference talk in 1965 as an analogy to "racism", and first appeared in print in 1968 in Carolyn Bird's article "On Being Born Female", from which it gained wider currency.
  • The word "wank", despite sounding like it belongs with other much older four-letter words, was first attested in 1948 as a noun and 1950 as a verb — its various metaphorical meanings are more recent still.
  • The phrase "big hair", used to describe the stereotypical 1980s hairstyle, was not recorded until 1989 — after the trend had begun to wane. Prior to that, there had existed only approximate equivalents — pompadour being the most famous example, and perhaps the oddest example being a word in a native New Guinean language for thick, woolly hair: "big head."
  • The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest citation for "dicey" is A Town Like Alice, published in 1950.
  • "Corinthian leather" (usually "rich Corinthian leather"), which has the aura of luxury and old wealth, was a term invented for a car commercial by an ad agency in 1974. The term is meaningless and has nothing to do with Corinth.
  • "Bucket list" was coined for the 2007 film of that title. Within a year of the movie coming out, most people would have sworn the phrase had been around forever.
  • The term "friends with benefits" was coined by Alanis Morissette in her 1995 song "Head Over Feet".
  • The word "doodle", defined as a mindless sketch, was coined for the 1936 film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.
  • In the US, "Vinyl" was not commonly used to refer to gramophone records until their revival in the 2000s. Before then, the standard term was simply "records" or "LPs" or perhaps "45s".
    • Records weren't even made of vinyl before the 1950s; until then, they were made of shellac.
  • The term "net neutrality" was coined in 2003 by Columbia law professor Tim Wu.
  • The term "pearl clutching", meaning puritanical or prudish, does not appear in print prior to 1987; its use was popularized in a series of skits on In Living Color! in the early 1990s.
  • The earliest known metaphorical use of the term "dumpster fire" in print is from a 2003 Arizona Republic review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003).
  • The term "cheerleader effect", referring to a phenomenon by which women look more attractive in groups than individually, was coined in a 2008 episode of How I Met Your Mother.
  • The use of the word "type" to mean a "a kind of a particular thing" is first attested in 1843; before then, it referred strictly to movable type (i.e., letters used in a printing press.)
  • The term "downtown" was first recorded in the 1830s, being coined in New York City, where it referred to the original town at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan.
  • The term "penny farthing" for a bicycle with one directly-driven large wheel and one small, only came into use in the 1890s to mock the old-fashioned vehicles which had by then been largely superseded by the chain-driven bicycle we recognise today.
  • Although serial killers have existed for centuries, the term itself was coined in the 1960s.
  • In the United States the word "data" wasn't commonly pronounced with a long 'a' until Patrick Stewart did so on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987.
  • Daffy Duck invented the pronunciation of despicable with a silent "E" in 1951.
  • The term "hot take", meaning a provocative opinion or perspective, only seems to have gone into common usage in 2014, imported from sports radio and sports blogs, where deliberately contrarian opinions are popular attention-getting devices. A 1993 use of the term by political strategist James Carville in Rolling Stone was more in the sense of "popular, trendy opinion".
  • The phrase "sweet summer child" sounds like a quaint, centuries-old term for a naive person. Maybe it's a proverb from the bible or Shakespeare or something? Or could it be a Southern expression akin to "oh, bless your heart"? Nope. In reality, it was coined by George R. R. Martin for A Game of Thrones (1996).
  • The use of the word "toilet" to mean "a latrine" (i.e., a device you pee and poop into) is an Americanism, first attested in 1895. Before then, the word "toilet" referred to a lady's dressing table, then gradually evolved to refer to the whole dressing room, and then to a dressing room with a latrine-room attached, and then to the latrine-room specifically, and then, finally, to the latrine itself.
  • "Meritocracy" was coined by British sociologist Michael Young in 1958.
  • The word "environment", in the ecological sense of "the natural world" (as opposed to i.e. cities and industry), is first recorded in 1956; its variants are more recent still, with "environmentalist" dating to 1970 and "environmentalism" to 1972.
    • The word "rainforest" was unknown in English until the 1970s, before which they were called jungles. This transition is, again, thanks to the environmentalist movement.
  • The word "blah", referring to meaningless or boring speech (as in "blah blah blah"), is first recorded in 1918.
  • The term "radio" began as military jargon and didn't become the standard term in the US until after World War II, before which radios were called "wirelesses".
  • The term "lede"—meaning the first sentence of a news story (as in the saying "bury the lede")—dates to the 1970s at the earliest, and didn't catch on until the 1990s, probably popularized by New York Times writer William Saffire's "On Language" column. It is a deliberate alteration of "lead" meant to differentiate it from its homograph "lead" (as in, the metal that typewriters are made of). Ironically, the widespread use of "lede" didn't emerge until typewriter-based newsrooms were just about extinct, making it an invented tradition. Merriam-Webster didn't even list the word "lede" until 2008.
  • The earliest known use of the phrase "go ham" to mean "go hard as a motherfucker" dates to 2006, apparently emerging in the hip-hop community. It was popularized in 2011 by Kanye West and Jay-Z's song "H.A.M."
  • The term "24/7" (meaning "24 hours a day, 7 days a week") is first attested in a 1983 Sports Illustrated article, in which Lousiana State University basktball player Jerry Reynolds used it to describe his jump shot.
  • The term "sexually transmitted disease" (STD) did not gain wide currency until the 1990s—the World Health Organization first adopted it in 1994. Before then, "venereal disease" (VD) was the dominant term. The reason for the change is that, historically, only two diseases were thought to be transmitted sexually: gonorrhea and syphillis. By the 1970s, other diseases as genital herpes and hepatitis were better-understood, and the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s, especially, accelerated the shift in terminology.
  • The word "menu" is first recorded in English in 1837.
    • Similarly, the word "restaurant" dates to 1821 in English, and even in French, its use dates only to 1765. In fact, the whole concept of a restaurant—i.e., a place dedicated to sitting and ordering food from a menu—is an invention of the 18th century. Before then, travellers were either fed at inns or bought street food.
  • The term "sexual harassment" was coined in 1975 by American lesbian activist Lin Farley, and didn't become prominent until Anita Hill's case against then-Supreme-Court-nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.
  • The term "unibrow" (i.e. eyebrows joined together by a bridge of hair in the middle) is first attested in 1988.
  • The earliest-known use of the term "five-second rule", referring to the folk belief that picking up a dropped piece of food within [x] number of seconds means it won't have germs on it, dates to the 1995 novel Wanted: Rowing Coach, and even there it was a twenty-second rule.
  • The word "suicide" is first attested in the 1650s, and is probably of English origin. Also, suicide was illegal everywhere in Europe until the 19th century.
  • Japan's period of isolationism wasn't called sakoku ("closed country") until 1801, more than 150 years after it began. Furthermore, the term didn't come into widespread usage until after the Meiji Restoration, at which point it was over. It was certainly never used by the Tokugawa shogunate to describe its own policy, which it instead termed kaikin ("maritime restrictions"). Many modern historians actually dislike the term sakoku, feeling that it overstates the extent to which Japan was actually isolated.
  • "Grouch" seems for all the world like it's over a thousand years old, probably an Old English term, maybe even a loan word from Old Norse. Nope, it only appears to date from around 1895. To put it another way, when Oscar the Grouch debuted on Sesame Street in 1969, the word "grouch" had only been in the English language for 74 years, i.e., the same age as then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. It seems to have evolved from a much older word, "grutch", which was a synonym for "gripe" or "complain".
  • The word "gimp", referring to a crippled limb, dates only to 1925.
  • The word "codswallop" sounds old-timey, but the first known instance of it in writing dates to 1959.
  • The phrase "over the top" in the sense of "beyond the limits" or "too far" is first attested in 1968. It ultimately derives from trench warfare in World War I, where to go "over the top" was to launch an attack (which, due to the tactics of trench warfare, often met with disaster).
  • The earliest known use of the term "go pear-shaped" meaning "to fail" dates to 1983, and is thought to have originated in the Royal Air Force as a euphemized version of "tits up".
  • The exclamation "oops" first appears in print in 1933, and "whoops" only slightly earlier, in 1925.
  • The term "Poe's law", referring to the difficulty of telling the real views of crackpots from satires of their views, was coined in 2005 by Nathan Poe during a discussion on evolution in a Christian forum, with the original formulation of the law specifically referencing the views of creationists.
  • While the Washington Post has been around since 1877, it only adopted its famous slogan "Democracy dies in darkness" in 2017, following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. For its first 140 years, the Post had no slogan.
  • The play Gaslight debuted in 1938, but the term spawned from it, "gaslighting"—meaning to abuse someone psychologically by falsely accusing them of misremembering things—was first used circa 1998 by columnist Maureen Dowd in reference to Bill Clinton's provocations of Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Even then, the term was fairly obscure until the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, when it rapidly caught on in the mainstream press.
  • The notion that prostitution is the "world's oldest profession" is first recorded in Rudyard Kipling's 1889 short story "On the City Wall". Before then, the phrase was associated with various other professions, such as farming and tailoring.
  • The term "ebonics" was coined by American professor R.L. Williams for his 1975 book of the same name.
  • The earliest known use of the word "tails" to mean the reverse side of a coin (as in the phrase "heads or tails") appears in the 1684 play "The Atheist" by Thomas Otway. Before then, the English terms for the two sides of a coin were "cross" and "pile".
  • Bushido — the supposed "way of the warrior", or code of the samurai — was an uncommon term until the 1899 publication of Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe, who codified almost everything associated with it, including presenting it as the Japanese counterpart to European chivalry. Nitobe, who lived in the United States and greatly admired the empires of the West, wrote the book in English for a Western audience, with whom it was an immediate hit. Only later was it translated into Japanese, and neither the book nor the word bushido caught on in Japan until the 1930s, when they suited ultranationalist government propaganda.
  • The first usage of the word "buff" to mean "muscular" dates to the 1980s. The derivative uses of buff used on this wiki, such as Status Buff etc., are even newer.
  • The term "ASMR" (autonomous sensory meridian response) has no basis in scientific literature; it was coined in a 2010 forum discussion at steadyhealth.com by user Jennifer Allen. The word "meridian" in this context was intended as a polite euphemism for "orgasm" (as in "peak" or "climax"), given that the sensation is often described as a "brain orgasm".
  • The earliest known use of the term "outsourcing" in print dates to 1981.
    • Similarly, "downsize" dates only to 1986.
  • The expression "No way!" is first attested in 1968.
  • The word "massage" is first recorded in English in 1874.
  • "Scalawag" is archaic, but not as much as it sounds: It first appears to have been used as an insult toward humans after the American Civil War, by white Southerners who opposed Reconstruction policies toward those who supported it. That didn't stop it showing up, for example, in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
  • The term "perfect storm", referring to a set of circumstances converging to cause disaster, was coined by writer Sebastian Junger in 1993 in reference to the 1991 Halloween Nor'easter season. He then wrote a book called The Perfect Storm, published in 1997, and adapted into the 2000 film of the same name, from which the term entered popular use.
  • The word "skank", referring to an unattractive or promiscuous woman, is first attested in 1965.
  • The term "poster child", referring to a representative of an idea or cause, is first attested c. 1990.
  • The word "cougar", in reference to a woman who dates younger men, first appeared in 1999, on a now-defunct Canadian dating website called cougarsdate.com.
  • "Props" in the sense of "respect" or "congratulations" dates to the 1990s.
  • The phrase "tall, dark and handsome" arose in the 1920s in reference to silent film heart-throb Rudolph Valentino.
  • The term "intellectual", as a noun referring to educated people, was first used during the Dreyfus affair in France in the 1890s.
  • The earliest known use of the word "plague" to refer to The Black Death dates to c. 1600, about 250 years after it happened (1347-1353). Contemporaneous writers referred to it as "pestis" or "pestilentia" (pestilence). The term "Black Death" itself has only been used in English since about 1750, though Danish and Swedish writers had used that name since the late 15th century.
  • The word "bore" meaning "a dull or uninteresting thing" dates to 1778, with its derivative form "boredom" dating to 1840 and "boring" to 1853.
  • The term "global warming" was coined in the 1980s, and both the term and the issue of global warming itself only entered mainstream awareness in 1988 following climate scientist James Hansen's testimony to the US Senate.
  • The term Speculative Fiction, as an umbrella term encompassing science fiction and fantasy, did not emerge until the 2000s. While Robert A. Heinlein did coin the term in 1947, he used it as a synonym for sci-fi, explicitly excluding fantasy; writers in the 1960s and 1970s likewise adopted it specifically to mean hard science fiction, i.e., sci-fi that could actually happen.
  • The word "screenshot" is first attested in 1991. In fact, the use of the word "shot" to refer to a photograph, or camera angle, dates only to 1958.
  • The word "teleport" dates to 1940, and was originally used in religious contexts only; its science fiction meaning, i.e., instant transportation, dates only to 1951.
  • To "have issues", in the sense of having personal problems (e.g. "that guy has issues"), is first attested in 1990.
  • Currently, the monarch of Ancient Egypt is only known to have been called "pharaoh" (which literally means "great house," i.e. court or palace) from the middle of the New Kingdom onward. This period excludes everything from the country's unification to the building of the great pyramids, the Hyksos' invasion, and even some of the famous earlier New Kingdom monarchs like Hatshepsut and Tutankhamun (which also makes it Briefer Than They Think—by more than half of the so-called Pharaonic period). Granted, the usage is still older than most countries that still exist today—but looking at it another way, Egypt was already an ancient country when it started.
  • The word "pheromone" was coined in 1959.
  • The Fan Nickname "Bright Knight" to refer to the idiosyncratic portrayal of Batman on his 1960s live action series only dates to The New '10s. It was not widely used as a nickname for Adam West, the star of that series, until it was featured on obituaries and other reminisces upon his death in 2017.
  • Much like Las Vegas itself (which didn't become the tourist mecca we know it was today until after World War II), the expression "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is surprisingly recent, with no attestations before 2003. However, it's a Snow Clone of an older expression, "What happens on tour, stays on tour".
  • These days, it is common to refer to a screen resolution in any context by taking the vertical amount of pixels and tacking the letter "p" onto the end, with the idea that it means "pixels". However, prior to the 2010s this was only used to refer to TV standards, where "p" stood for progressive as opposed to "i" meaning "interlaced" - with only one number being used, as TV broadcast resolution was dependent on the vertical amount of lines. In computer contexts, a resolution was always referred to fully, e.g. "1024x768" ("x" standing for "by"), "1920x1200", and so on, and nobody would call them "768p" or "1200p".
  • The first attestation of the word "hoser" dates to 1981, having been coined for the Bob & Doug McKenzie skits on SCTV. The folk etymologies connecting it to the old days of hockey are almost certainly false.
  • The word karate famously means "empty hand", but this has only been the case since 1924, when the Keio University karate club changed the spelling of karate from 唐手 (Chinese hand) to 空手 (empty hand) for nationalistic reasons.
  • The appellation "The City That Never Sleeps" was coined in 1977 for the theme song of New York, New York, performed by Frank Sinatra. It was applied to other cities even later still.
  • The word "sibling" to mean "brother or sister" was coined in 1903. It was a revival of a long-disused Old English word that referred to any relative or family member.
  • Although hooded sweatshirts have existed since the 1930s, the first attestation of the word "hoodie" dates to 1990.
  • "If it ain't broke, don't (try to) fix it" sounds nineteenth century or even older, but there's no record of it before 1976.
  • The word "medieval" first appeared in 1825, a neologism derived from the Latin phrase medium aevum. The older word for medieval things was "Gothic".
  • Diana, Princess of Wales, was never referred to in her lifetime as "the People's Princess"; this sobriquet was coined for her by Prime Minister Tony Blair in his remarks on her passing.
  • The word "scumbag" emerged c. 1939 and originally meant "condom"; the metaphorical use, referring to an unpleasant person, dates only to 1971.
  • The term "hot button" has only been around since the 1970s, and it was originally marketing-speak, referring to the need or desire of a consumer that would be satiated by a product. The earliest application of the term to political issues dates to 1981.
  • The word "career" in the sense of "the course of one's professional life" is first attested in 1803.
  • The saying "You break it, you buy it" was first used in a Miami Beach gift shop in 1952, and even then it was in slightly longer form as "If you break it, you've bought it".
  • The use of the word "franchise" to mean "authorization to sell a company's goods/services" dates to 1959, and its application to media licensing/merchandise/etc., as used on TVTropes, dates only to the 1980s.
  • The term "gender role" was coined in 1955 by psychologist John Money, who used it to describe the way intersex people would choose behaviors conventionally associated with men or women. The term "gender identity" was coined by researcher Robert Stoller in 1968. "Transgender" is first attested in 1974. "Trans woman" was coined in 1996 by Leslie Feinberg for her book Transgender Warriors.
  • The earliest known use of the term "chain-mail" dates to Francis Grose's A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons (1786). The term was popularized in 1822 by Walter Scott's novel The Fountains of Nigel. Before then, chain-mail was known as simply "mail", deriving from the French maille, meaning "chain".
  • The use of the word "mess" to mean "a jumble" or "a confused state" dates only to 1828, before which "mess" meant a communal eating area.
  • The earliest citation for the saying "shut your pie-hole" dates to Stephen King's 1983 novel Christine.
  • The word "infrastructure" dates to 1875 in French and 1887 in English, and originally referred specifically to the substrate that had to be laid down before railroad tracks could be laid along a particular route. The word was not used in its urban-planning sense until the 1970s.
  • The word "prat" as British slang for a contemptible person is first attested in 1968.
  • "Glitzy" is a relatively recent loanword from Yiddish, dating only to 1966. "Glitz" is even more recent, being first attested in 1977.
  • The earliest known use of the word "kerfuffle" dates to 1970.
  • The word "shack" is first attested in 1878, an Americanism originally referring to a wooden hut. The word was first applied to houses in 1910.
  • The word "myth" first appears in 1818, from the Greek mythos (story), being invented by 19th-century writers to differentiate Greek religion, which they viewed as obviously untrue, from Christianity and modern science, which they viewed as true. The first known use of "myth" to refer to any false story or claim dates to 1840.
  • The earliest known use of the acronym "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) dates to 1980.
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