Newspeak about the Tacos of the Tex-Mex, Sexist, Maoist, R&B, Hot-Rodding, NATO, Zydeco Jet Set

Here’s an interesting thought: what words entered the English language the same year you entered the world? The Oxford English Dictionary (aka OED) has a ‘Birthday Word Generator’ that provides you with at least one answer. A more complete selection is available only to subscribers, but thanks to Dave at wordorigins.org I found a long list from my birth year, no charge. Insert your year into that second URL to discover your own results.

OED’s site adds, “Please note that the dates given for these words refer to the current first known usage of the word… [It’s] possible that we will find an earlier sense of the words during our research.”

The 451 new words the OED records as coming into use around the same time I arrived include all those capitalized in the headline above. (Tex-Mex, back then, referred to a dialect of Spanish, not a category of food or music.)

Some other newcomers from 1949: aromatherapy, cortisone (discovered that year), lidocaine (marketed that year), Wild Turkey bourbon (trademarked that year), hologram, home schooling, genetic engineering, and the Emmy and telethon. No, its host wasn’t Jerry Lewis – his first marathon for the MDA was three years in the future.

America’s first telethon, hosted by the nation’s top TV star at the time, Mendel Berlinger (aka Milton Berle), raised $1.1 million for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.

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