Words First Used the Year You Were Born (1971-2021)

Look back at the year you were born!
Britt Britt (157)

Words are powerful and intriguing things. They shape communication between people by spurring on the creation of new ideas, spreading information, or building interpersonal connections. Different words or phrases hold a different meaning for each person.

In fact, because languages are always expanding and changing, there can be no true or official count of how many words there are. This is especially true for words that come from other tongues but are established through use, context, and frequency in English.

Every year, Merriam-Webster, the leading American publisher of reference books, adds hundreds of new words to the official dictionary. While there’s no correlation between a person and a word born in the same year, a dictionary is a lot like a history book! Each set of new words added is a historical indication of what mattered to society and culture at the time. Those new words can range from technical to playful, but they still hold significance to the history of language.

In a two part series, we’ve gathered a list of words that first came into use in the year you were born, based on Merriam-Webster and other accredited documentations. Spanning seven generations, see how words changed (or didn’t) from as early as the 1920s to present day 2021.

This particular list features mid Generation X to present day Generation Alpha, from the years 1971 to 2021. Keep in mind that these words are based off a list provided by Merriam-Webster’s information and focuses on when a word was first used in print or a new definition was added. Important events that occurred in this time span include:

  • Watergate Scandal
  • PATCO Strike
  • The Monica Lewinsky Affair
  • September 11 Attacks
  • Coronavirus Pandemic

To gain some context into the generations, below is a brief explanation of where their names came from!

Generation X: Born 1965-1980

Because their birth rate was lower than the Baby Boomers of the previous generation, Generation X is also known as “Baby Busters”. They’re characterized by reactionism, rebellion, self-reliance, and an overall mistrust of institutions and authority. Notable events of their time include the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first personal computer, and a hard emphasis on education.

Generation Y: Born 1981-1996

The famous Millennial generation is coined because they became adults at the turn of the millennium. Those in this generation are known for having personal experience with 9/11, bringing the rise of the internet, and dealing with financial struggles due to the Great Recession.

Generation Z: Born 1997-2012

Technology plays a large role for those born in this time period. Known as iGen or Gen Z-ers, they’re more racially and ethnically diverse, are better educated on non-heteronormative identities. Social media, the climate crisis, mass shooting violence, among other sociopolitical pressures, make up this generation’s reputation. While they might be the most depressed generation, they’re also the ones most likely to engage in social activism.

Generation Alpha: Born 2013-2025

The newest generation on the block, Generation Alpha was coined by social researcher Mark McCrindle. He wanted to mark a “new start” and theorizes that this generation will have more diverse family dynamics, higher racial diversity, and higher economic inequality than previous generations.

If you were born before 1971 or just want a glance at history, check out part one for words first used between the years 1921 and 1970.

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Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • A military junta led by Major General Idi Amin siezes power in Uganda.
  • Nixon ends the US trade embargo against China.
  • India and the USSR sign a 20-year friendship pact.
  • US Supreme Court rules unanimously that busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation.
  • Twenty-sixth Amendment to US Constitution lowers voting age to 18.
  • All in the Family debuts on CBS and introduces a trend in socially conscious programming.
  • The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opens in Washington, D.C. with the premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass.
  • Intel introduces the microprocessor.

Words of the Year

Depression glass
Tinted glassware machine-produced during the 1930s.

Happy talk
Informal talk among the participants in a television news broadcast.

An obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Britain takes over direct rule of Northern Ireland in bid for peace.
  • US Supreme Court rules that death penalty is unconstitutional.
  • Five men are apprehended by police in an attempt to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s beginning the Watergate scandal.
  • Time Inc. transmits HBO, the first pay cable network.
  • M•A•S•H premieres on CBS.
  • Atari introduces the arcade version of Pong, the first video game.
  • The video disk is introduced by Philips Company.
  • Electronic mail is introduced.

Words of the Year

Floppy disk
A thin plastic disk coated with magnetic material on which data for a computer can be stored.

Relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past, fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned.

Aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).

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Top News Stories

  • A ceasefire is signed, ending involvement of American ground troops in the Vietnam War.
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) hikes oil prices tremendously in retaliation for Western countries' involvement in Yom Kippur War.
  • Nixon, on national TV, accepts responsibility, but not blame, for Watergate.
  • The Jamaican film The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff, launches the popularity of reggae music in the United States.
  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed.
  • Skylab, the first American space station, is launched.

Words of the Year

Hard disk
A rigid metal disk coated with a magnetic material on which data for a computer can be stored.

Soccer mom
A typically suburban mother who accompanies her children to their soccer games and is considered as part of a significant voting bloc or demographic group.

Video game
An electronic game in which players control images on a video screen.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • India successfully tests an atomic device, becoming the world's sixth nuclear power.
  • Patricia Hearst, 19-year-old daughter of publisher Randolph Hearst, kidnapped by Symbionese Liberation Army.
  • House Judiciary Committee adopts three articles of impeachment charging President Nixon with obstruction of justice, failure to uphold laws, and refusal to produce material subpoenaed by the committee. Richard M. Nixon announces he will resign the next day.
  • Patti Smith releases what is considered to be the first punk rock single, "Hey Joe."
  • People magazine debuts, with Mia Farrow gracing the cover.
  • Premier Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defects and joins the American Ballet Theatre.

Words of the Year

A navigational system using satellite signals to fix the location of a radio receiver on or above the earth's surface.

To work at home by the use of an electronic linkup with a central office.

The act or practice of responding to an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that an offense committed by another is similar or worse.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • The city of Saigon is surrendered and remaining Americans are evacuated, ending the Vietnam War.
  • Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft take off for US-Soviet link-up in space.
  • President Ford escapes assassination attempt in Sacramento, Calif. And escapes a second assassination attempt 17 days later.
  • ABC, CBS and NBC agree to create a "family hour," an early evening time slot that is free of violence and sex.
  • Saturday Night Live premieres on NBC. George Carlin hosts the first show.
  • Home videotape systems (VCRs) are developed in Japan by Sony (Betamax) and Matsushita (VHS).
  • The Altair home computer kit allows consumers to build and program their own personal computers.

Words of the Year

Curb appeal
The visual attractiveness of a house as seen from the street.

Gray literature
Written material (such as a report) that is not published commercially or is not generally accessible.

Greenhouse gas
Any of various gaseous compounds (such as carbon dioxide or methane) that absorb infrared radiation, trap heat in the atmosphere, and contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US Supreme Court rules that death penalty is not inherently cruel or unusual and is a constitutionally acceptable form of punishment.
  • Mysterious disease (eventually known as Legionnaire’s disease) strikes the American Legion convention in Philadelphia, eventually claiming 29 lives.
  • The Steadicam is used for the first time in Rocky.
  • Philip Glass completes Einstein on the Beach, the first widely known example of minimalist composition.
  • NBC broadcasts Gone with the Wind and scores record-breaking ratings.
  • Air France and British Airways begin the first regularly scheduled commercial supersonic transport (SST) flights.

Words of the Year

Digital camera
A camera that records images as digital data instead of on film.

An idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.

A person who wants or aspires to be someone or something else or who tries to look or act like someone else.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Nuclear-proliferation pact, curbing spread of nuclear weapons, is signed by 15 countries, including US and USSR.
  • First woman Episcopal priest ordained.
  • The TV miniseries Roots draws an audience of 130 million.
  • Star Wars hits theaters for the first time.
  • Saturday Night Fever sparks the disco inferno and the popularity of movie soundtracks.
  • Elvis Presley dies at home in Memphis at the age of 42.
  • The space shuttle Enterprise makes its first test glide, from the back of a 747.

Words of the Year

Hot second
A very brief span of time.

Strip mall
A long usually one-story building or group of buildings housing several adjacent retail stores or service establishments.

Marvelous in construction or operation.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US Senate approves Panama Canal neutrality treaty to turn canal over to Panama by year 2000.
  • "Framework for Peace" in Middle East signed by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin after 13-day conference at Camp David led by President Jimmy Carter.
  • Jim Jones's followers commit mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
  • Sony introduces the Walkman, the first portable stereo.
  • Three men from New Mexico make the first successful transatlantic balloon flight in the helium-filled Double Eagle II.

Words of the Year

Gap year
A one-year hiatus from academic studies to allow for nonacademic activities.

A cable television service by which customers can order access to a particular broadcast for a fee.

Having sweeping lines or movement.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Conservatives win British election; Margaret Thatcher becomes new prime minister.
  • Nicaraguan President General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns and flees to Miami.
  • Soviet invasion of Afghanistan stirs world protests.
  • Nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island, Pa., releases radiation.
  • The Sugar Hill Gang releases the first commercial rap hit, "Rapper's Delight," bringing rap into the popular music scene.
  • The accidental release of anthrax spores at a Soviet bioweapons facility in Sverdlovsk kills several hundred.

Words of the Year

A means or system for transmitting messages electronically.

A euphoric, dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life.

A person who is part of a social or cultural scene.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Six US embassy aides escape from Iran with Canadian help (Jan. 29). Background: Iran Hostage Crisis. US breaks diplomatic ties with Iran.
  • Iraqi troops hold 90 square miles of Iran after invasion; 8-year Iran-Iraq War begins.
  • F.B.I.'s undercover operation "Abscam" implicates public officials.
  • Ted Turner launches CNN, the first all-news network.
  • In Diamond v. Shakrabarty, the US Supreme Court rules that genetically engineered organisms may be patented.
  • Philadelphia's Wistar Institute develops a new, less painful rabies vaccine.

Words of the Year

Chill out
To calm down, go easy, or relax.

Sabotage intended to hinder activities that are considered damaging to the environment.

A young college-educated adult who is employed in a well-paying profession and who lives and works in or near a large city.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US-Iran agreement frees 52 hostages held in Teheran since 1979.
  • Judge Sandra Day O'Connor of Arizona nominated as first woman on US Supreme Court.
  • MTV goes on the air running around the clock music videos, debuting with "Video Killed the Radio Star."
  • The Supreme Court rules to allow television cameras in the courtroom.
  • Pacman-mania sweeps the country.
  • AIDS is first identified.
  • IBM introduces its first personal computer, running the Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS).
  • The FDA approves the use of the artificial sweetener aspartame.

Words of the Year

A small device that plugs into a computer and serves as an adapter or as a security measure to enable the use of certain software.

Fist pump
A celebratory gesture (as by a sports player) in which the fist is raised in front of the body and then quickly and vigorously drawn back.

A computer program that allows the entry, calculation, and storage of data in columns and rows.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Israel invades Lebanon.
  • Equal Rights Amendment fails ratification.
  • Michael Jackson releases Thriller, which sells more than 25 million copies.
  • Cats opens on Broadway. Becomes Broadway's longest-running play.
  • The space shuttle Columbia makes its first mission, deploying two communications satellites.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) diagnostic machines are introduced in Britain.
  • Washington University in St. Louis develops the Flavr Savr tomato, the first genetically-engineered plant approved for sale.

Words of the Year

The online world of computer networks and especially the Internet.

A fan or performer of heavy metal.

Snail mail
Mail delivered by a postal system, especially when contrasted with email.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Pope John Paul II signs new Roman Catholic code incorporating changes brought about by Second Vatican Council.
  • Terrorist explosion kills 237 US Marines in Beirut.
  • Sally K. Ride, 32, first US woman astronaut in space as a crew member aboard space shuttle Challenger.
  • With the introduction of noise-free compact discs, the vinyl record begins a steep decline.
  • More than 125 million viewers tune in to the last episode of M•A•S•H.
  • Cocaine is developed in the Bahamas, and soon appears in the United States.
  • The FCC authorizes Motorola to begin testing cellular phone service in Chicago.

Words of the Year

Slang for sweetheart or baby.

Beta test
A field test of the beta version of a product (such as software) especially by testers outside the company developing it that is conducted prior to commercial release.

Green screen
A photographic technique in which a subject is filmed in front of a green background to allow matte compositing of the film with other footage.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US and Vatican exchange diplomats after 116-year hiatus.
  • Reagan orders US Marines withdrawn from Beirut international peacekeeping force.
  • Italy and Vatican agree to end Roman Catholicism as state religion.
  • Congress rebukes President Reagan on use of federal funds for mining Nicaraguan harbors.
  • The Cosby Show debuts on NBC.
  • The Supreme Court rules that taping television shows at home on VCRs does not violate copyright law.
  • Led by Bob Geldof, the band Band Aid releases "Do They Know It's Christmas," with proceeds of the single going to feed the starving in Africa.
  • Apple introduces the user-friendly Macintosh personal computer.

Words of the Year

Filled with excitement or enthusiasm.

To dance by gliding backwards while appearing to make forward walking motions.

Socially distance
To cause (oneself) to avoid social interaction with an individual or individuals perceived as different from oneself or belonging to a social group other than one's own.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US budget-balancing bill enacted.
  • Madonna launches her first road show, the Virgin Tour.
  • Dozens of top-name musicians and bands perform at the Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia and London. The shows benefit African famine victims.
  • British scientists report the opening of an enormous hole in the earth's ozone layer over Antarctica.
  • Researchers at IBM develop the scanning tunneling microscope, which can visualize images on an atomic scale.
  • Coca-Cola attempts to change its 99-year-old formula in an effort to attract younger drinkers. "New" Coke is poorly received, and the company soon reintroduces the original, "Classic" beverage.

Words of the Year

A style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes.

Boy band
A small ensemble of males in their teens or twenties who play pop songs geared especially to a young female audience.

Cool beans
Used to express agreement or approval.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Spain and Portugal join European Economic Community.
  • Major nuclear accident at Soviet Union's Chernobyl power station alarms world.
  • US Supreme Court bars racial bias in trial jury selection.
  • Space shuttle Challenger explodes after launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., killing all seven aboard.
  • Barry Diller, head of News Corp., creates Fox, the fourth television network.
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show hits national television.
  • The Academic American Encyclopedia is available on CD-ROM. It is the first reference work published in this medium.
  • Nintendo video games introduced in U.S.
  • The first genetically-engineered vaccine, for hepatitis B, gains FDA approval.

Words of the Year

Craft beer
A specialty beer produced in limited quantities.

     plural noun
Detailed information.

Sound bite
A brief recorded statement broadcast especially on a television news program.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Iraqi missiles kill 37 in attack on US frigate Stark in Persian Gulf; Iraqi president Hussein apologizes.
  • US Supreme Court rules Rotary Clubs must admit women.
  • Reagan says Iran arms-Contra policy went astray and accepts responsibility.
  • thirtysomething debuts on ABC and departs from typical dramas, featuring “analytical, self-absorbed baby-boomer characters”.

Words of the Year

To treat with disrespect or contempt.

A computer file format for the compression and storage of visual digital information.

Science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US and Canada reach free trade agreement.
  • Benazir Bhutto, first Islamic woman prime minister, chosen to lead Pakistan.
  • Ninety-eight percent of U.S. households have at least one television set.
  • CDs outsell vinyl records for the first time.
  • Ted Turner starts Turner Network Television (TNT) and buys MGM's film library.
  • NASA scientist James Hansen warns congress of the dangers of the global warming and the greenhouse effect.

Words of the Year

Boomerang child
A young adult who returns to live at his or her family home especially for financial reasons.

Crop circle
A geometric or circular pattern of flattened stalks in a field of grain now usually attributed to natural phenomena or to the work of hoaxers trying to create the impression of a visit by extraterrestrial beings.

A documentary that is telecast in a series of programs.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini declares author Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses offensive and sentences him to death.
  • After 28 years, the Berlin Wall is open to West.
  • Czech Parliament ends Communists' dominant role and Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government.
  • US troops invade Panama, seeking capture of General Manuel Noriega.
  • A San Francisco Bay area earthquake measuring 7.1 in magnitude, killed 67 and injured over 3,000.
  • Ruptured tanker Exxon Valdez sends 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound.
  • Army Gen. Colin R. Powell is first black Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • First World Wide Web server and browser developed by Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN.
  • Peter Deutsch of McGill University devlops Archie, an archive of FTP sites, the first effort to index the Internet.

Words of the Year

Air quotes
     plural noun
A gesture made by raising and flexing the index and middle fingers of both hands that is used to call attention to a spoken word or expression.

The act, practice, or result of changing an existing fictional narrative by introducing new information in a later work that recontextualizes previously established events, characters, etc.

Viral marketing
Marketing designed to disseminate information (as about a new product) very rapidly by making it likely to be passed from person to person especially via electronic means.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Communist Party relinquish sole power in Soviet government.
  • South Africa frees Nelson Mandela, imprisoned 27.5 years.
  • Western Alliance ends Cold War and proposes joint action with Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
  • Iraqi troops invade Kuwait, setting off the Persian Gulf War.
  • The X rating is replaced by NC-17 (no children under 17).
  • The Simpsons debuts on Fox and becomes an instant hit.
  • Euro dance band Milli Vanilli admits to lip-synching hits such as "Girl You Know Its True," and has its Grammy award revoked.
  • Seinfeld debuts on NBC.
  • Entertainment Weekly hits newsstands.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope is launched.
  • President Bush signs the Clean Air Act, mandating a variety of pollution-reducing changes in the automobile and fuel industries.

Words of the Year

A set of shared attitudes, practices, and goals associated with the world of computers and the Internet.

A very large house built in usually a suburban neighborhood or development.

World Wide Web
A part of the Internet accessed through a graphical user interface and containing documents often connected by hyperlinks.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • France agrees to sign 1968 treaty banning spread of atomic weapons. China accepts nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Bush-Gorbachev summit negotiates strategic arms reduction treaty.
  • Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia win independence from USSR.
  • US Supreme Court limits death row appeals.
  • Seattle band Nirvana releases the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the LP Nevermind and enjoys national success. With Nirvana's hit comes the grunge movement.
  • Gopher, the first user-friendly internet interface, is created at the University of Minnesota.
  • In Japan, a leak of radioactive water causes a nuclear plant 220 miles west of Tokyo to release about 8% of the plant's annual radioactive emissions in a single day.
  • The first cholera epidemic in a century sickens 100,000 and kills more than 700 in South America.

Words of the Year

Someone or something that is an original or originator; one that is highly respected or regarded.

Overcome with emotion, choked up.

A long, thin strip of zucchini that resembles a string or narrow ribbon of pasta.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • George Bush and Boris Yeltsin proclaim a formal end to the Cold War.
  • US forces leave Philippines, ending nearly a century of American military presence.
  • Czechoslovak Parliament approves separation into two nations: Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed.
  • Johnny Carson hosts The Tonight Show for the last time.
  • A text-based Web browser is made available to the public.
  • 172 nations address issues of environmental protection and sustainable development at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Some sign binding agreements to minimize global climate change and preserve biodiversity.

Words of the Year

A markup language that is used to create documents on the World Wide Web incorporating text, graphics, sound, video, and hyperlinks.

Smack talk
Disparaging, taunting, or boastful comments especially between opponents trying to intimidate each other.

Weak sauce
Slang for something inferior, ineffective, or unimpressive.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • British House of Commons approves European unity pact. Maastricht Treaty takes effect, creating European Union.
  • Federal agents besiege Texas Branch Davidian religious cult after six are killed in raid. Fire kills 72 as cult standoff in Texas ends with federal assault.
  • Five arrested, sixth sought in bombing of World Trade Center in New York.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to Supreme Court.
  • Clinton signs Brady bill regulating firearms purchases.
  • Lost in Yonkers is edited on an Avid Media Composer system, the first non-linear editing system to allow viewing at film's required "real-time"-viewing rate of 24 frames per second.
  • The FDA approves the use of the synthetic hormone BST (bovine somatotropin) to increase milk production in dairy cows.

Words of the Year

The activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game, or television show).

Commerce conducted via the Internet.

Mouse potato
A person who spends a great deal of time using a computer.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Thousands dead in Rwanda massacre.
  • South Africa holds first interracial national election; Nelson Mandela elected President.
  • Clinton accused of sexual harassment while Governor of Arkansas.
  • O. J. Simpson arrested in killings of wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and friend, Ronald Goldman.
  • Steven Spielberg wins his first directing Oscar for Schindler's List.
  • ER and Friends debut on NBC.
  • White House launches Web page. Initial commerce sites are established, and mass marketing campaigns are launched via email.
  • The FDA approves the Flavr Savr tomato, the first genetically-engineered food product.

Words of the Year

Slang to calm down.

     plural noun
Slang for police.

Software that is installed in a computer or mobile device without the user's knowledge and that transmits information about the user's activities.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • US rescues Mexico's economy with $20-billion aid program.
  • Nerve gas attack in Tokyo subway kills eight and injures thousands. The Aum Shinrikyo ("Supreme Truth") cult is to blame.
  • Death toll 2,000 in Rwanda massacre.
  • Fighting escalates in Bosnia and Croatia. Warring parties agree on cease-fire and sign peace treaty.
  • France explodes nuclear device in Pacific; wide protests ensue .
  • Los Angeles jury finds O. J. Simpson not guilty of murder charges.
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opens in Cleveland.

Words of the Year

Mom jeans
     plural noun
Women's jeans of an outdated or unflattering style.

A person who has recently started a particular activity.

Short for Universal Serial Bus, a standardized serial computer interface that allows simplified attachment of peripherals especially in a daisy chain.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • France agrees to end nuclear testing.
  • Ethnic violence breaks out in Zairian refugee camps; Clinton approves plan for UN-backed relief mission for 1.2 million Hutu refugees starving in eastern Zaire. Hundreds of thousands return to Rwanda.
  • Militant Taliban leaders seize Afghan capital of Kabul.
  • Madeleine Albright appointed as first female US secretary of state.
  • President Bill Clinton signs legislation that significantly deregulates telecommunications.
  • Janet Jackson becomes the highest paid musician in history when she signs an $80-million deal with Virgin Records.
  • Jazz great Ella Fitzgerald dies.
  • Broadcasters and television and PC manufacturers agree on a standard for HDTV (high-definition digital television).
  • Scientists analyzing a Martian meteorite claim that it may provide evidence for the existence of ancient life on Mars.

Words of the Year

An electronic device that uses a hard drive for temporary storage of broadcast television programs.

The practice of tricking Internet users (as through the use of deceptive email messages or websites) into revealing personal or confidential information which can then be used illicitly.

Senior moment
An instance of momentary forgetfulness or confusion that is attributed to the aging process.

This is the first photo taken on a cell phone!
Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Swiss plan first payment to Holocaust victims.
  • Heaven's Gate cult members commit mass suicide in California.
  • Titanic lands in theaters as the most expensive film of all time, costing between $250 and $300 million to produce and market.
  • Ellen DeGeneres becomes the first openly gay woman to have her own sitcom.
  • J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone is published in the U.K.
  • Comet Hale-Bopp is the closest it will be to Earth until 4397.
  • US spacecraft begins exploration of Mars.
  • US company launches first commercial spy satellite.

Words of the Year

Amber Alert
A widely publicized bulletin that alerts the public to a recently abducted or missing child.

Deep state
An alleged secret network of especially nonelected government officials and sometimes private entities (as in the financial services and defense industries) operating extralegally to influence and enact government policy.

Any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc.

Paramount Pictures

Top News Stories

  • Europeans agree on single currency, the euro.
  • India conducts three atomic tests despite worldwide disapproval. Pakistan stages five nuclear tests in response.
  • Russia fights to avert financial collapse.
  • Iraq ends cooperation with UN arms inspectors. Clinton orders air strikes.
  • President accused in White House sex scandal; denies allegations of affair with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. House impeaches President Clinton on perjury and obstruction of justice.
  • President outlines first balanced budget in 30 years.
  • An estimated 76 million viewers watch the last episode of Seinfeld.
  • The Athena probe finds frozen water on moon.
  • Astronomers detect giant explosion, second in force only to the "Big Bang," in deep space.

Words of the Year

The electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person often done anonymously.

Having the source code freely available for possible modification and redistribution.

Social networking
The creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships online.

Rare Historical Photos

Top News Stories

  • Magnitude 7.4 earthquake kills more than 15,600 and leaves 600,000 homeless in Turkey.
  • The world awaits the consequences of the Y2K bug, with more drastic millennial theorists warning of Armageddon.
  • Students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold storm Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, killing twelve other students and a teacher, then themselves.
  • John F. Kennedy Jr., wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren G. Bessette are lost at sea when a plane he was piloting disappears near Martha's Vineyard.
  • The merger of two major recording labels, Universal and Polygram, causes upheaval in the recording industry.
  • The Blair Witch Project emerges as an instant cult classic and grosses more than $125 million.
  • Star Wars Episode I--The Phantom Menace opens and breaks a string of box office records.
  • The Melissa and Chernobyl viruses afflict computers worldwide, forcing several large corporations to shut down their e-mail servers.

Words of the Year

A person who writes for and maintains a blog.

Something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.

The act or activity of sending text messages from one cell phone to another.


Top News Stories

  • Presidents of North and South Korea sign peace accord, and at least symbolically, end a half-century of antagonism.
  • Mad cow disease alarms Europe.
  • Wary investors bring stock plunge; beginning of the end of the Internet stock boom.
  • America Online agrees to buy Time Warner, the nation's largest traditional media company, for $165 billion.
  • Stephen King's 66-page novella Riding the Bullet is available exclusively in electronic only as an "e-book." More than 500,000 copies were downloaded in the first three days the book was available.
  • Oprah Winfrey debuts O magazine.
  • "I love you" virus disrupts computers worldwide.

Words of the Year

Dark web
The set of web pages on the World Wide Web that cannot be indexed by search engines, are not viewable in a standard Web browser, require specific means (such as specialized software or network configuration) in order to access, and use encryption to provide anonymity and privacy for users.

To use the FaceTime service to make calls with enabled video support.

To record something, such as a television program, with a TiVo device or other DVR.


Top News Stories

  • In response to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. and British forces launch bombing campaign on Taliban government and al-Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan.
  • At a UN-sponsored summit in Germany, Afghani factions meet to create a post-Taliban government. Hamid Karzai is selected as head of the transitional government.
  • Bush signs new tax-cut law, the largest in 20 years
  • Budget surplus dwindles. The Congressional Budget Office attributes this rapid change in the nation's fortunes to the slowing economy and the Bush tax cut.
  • Anthrax scare rivets nation, as anthrax-laced letters are sent to various media and government officials. Several postal workers die after handling the letters.
  • Gladiator takes five Oscars.
  • The Producers takes home record 12 trophies at the Tony Awards.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone opens (Nov. 16) in 8,200 theaters nationwide.

Words of the Year

     interjection Used to express mild alarm or dismay.

A feature found in many computer programs that analyzes a user's typing and presents a list of words and phrases that can be selected and entered based on history, context, and the first few typed letters.

A test to prevent spamming software from accessing a website by requiring visitors to the site to solve a simple puzzle in order to gain access.


Top News Stories

  • Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government sign a cease-fire agreement, ending 19 years of civil war.
  • U.S. and Russia reach landmark arms agreement to cut both countries' nuclear arsenals by up to two-thirds over the next 10 years.
  • Government suspended in Northern Ireland in protest of suspected IRA spy ring.
  • North Korea admits to developing nuclear arms in defiance of treaty.
  • Kenneth L. Lay, chairman of bankrupt energy trader Enron, resigns; company under federal investigation for hiding debt and misrepresenting earnings.
  • Bush signs corporate reform bill in response to a spate of corporate scandals.
  • The MTV reality show The Osbournes debuts.
  • Scientists report a new type of black hole.

Words of the Year

The sport of traversing environmental obstacles by running, climbing, or leaping rapidly and efficiently.

An image that includes oneself and is taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.

A blog that contains video material.

Getty Images

Top News Stories

  • U.S. and Britain launch war against Iraq.
  • North Korea withdraws from treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • NATO assumes control of peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
  • Space shuttle Columbia explodes, killing all 7 astronauts. Investigation into the loss of space shuttle Columbia cites egregious organizational problems at NASA.
  • Bush signs ten-year, $350-billion tax cut package, the third-largest tax cut in U.S. history.
  • The Recording Industry Association of America cracked down on people who illegally swapped more than 1,000 songs over the Internet, filing lawsuits against hundreds of people.
  • Three fossilized skulls discovered near the Ethiopian village of Herto in 1997 have now been identified as the oldest known remains of modern humans.

Words of the Year

To watch many or all episodes of (a TV series) in rapid succession.

Net neutrality
The idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.

To remove someone from a list of designated friends on a person's social networking website.

Photo taken by the Hubble telescope!

Top News Stories

  • Sudan rebels (SPLA) and government reach accord to end 21-year civil war.
  • Security Council demands Sudanese government disarm militias in Darfur that are massacring civilians.
  • The number of songs and albums downloaded from the Internet continues at break-neck speed. Apple's iTunes sells its 200,000,000th song.
  • Paris Hilton made headlines at every turn, from starring in Fox's The Simple Life with Nicole Richie to starting her own clothing and perfume line.
  • Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison in July after being found guilty on four counts of obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators.
  • Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google, became instant billionaires when the company went public.
  • Michael Moore gained an impassioned following with the release of Fahrenheit 9/11.
  • Stephen Hawking reverses himself on his Black Hole theory and concludes that information can in fact be retrieved from black holes.

Words of the Year

Fear of missing out, of not being included in something that others are experiencing.

Life hack
A usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently.

A program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.


Top News Stories

  • Group of Eight industrial nations pledge to double aid to Africa to $50 billion a year by 2010, cancel the debt of many poor countries, and open trade.
  • President Bush signs the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which will remove trade barriers between the U.S. and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
  • The press reveals that in 2002, Bush signed a presidential order to allow the National Security Agency to spy on Americans suspected of being connected to terrorist activity without warrants.
  • Hurricane Katrina wreaks catastrophic damage on the Gulf coast; more than 1,000 die and millions are left homeless.
  • Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" was the most downloaded song of the year with more than 1.7 million downloads.

Words of the Year

A genre of narrative film focusing primarily on the intimate lives of young characters and featuring scenes of ample dialogue and minimal action.

Malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files.

One who believes that the truth about an important subject or event is being concealed from the public by a powerful conspiracy.


Top News Stories

  • House releases a report on the response to Hurricane Katrina, assigning blame on all levels of government.
  • President Bush signs a law renewing the Patriot Act.
  • New Horizons spacecraft is launched.
  • A group of scientists report finding the fossil of a 375-million-year-old fish that has early signs of limbs. The fossil suggests the missing link between fish and land animals.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approves Gardasil, a vaccine that prevents cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus.
  • The International Astronomical Union votes to redefine the solar system, and Pluto loses its status as a planet. It is reclassified as a dwarf planet.

Words of the Year

Data (such as a block of text) that has been copied and spread widely online.

The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

A person who creates and uploads videos on the YouTube online video sharing service.


Top News Stories

  • India and U.S. reach an accord on civilian nuclear power that allows India to buy nuclear fuel from the U.S. to expand its civilian nuclear energy program and reprocess its spent fuel.
  • President Vladimir Putin announces Russia will suspend the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which limits conventional weapons in Europe.
  • North Korea agrees to disclose details about its nuclear facilities, including how much plutonium it has produced, and dismantle all of its nuclear facilities by the end of 2007. In exchange, the country will receive some 950,000 metric tons of fuel oil or financial aid.
  • The minimum wage increases to $5.85, up from $5.15. It's the first increase in 10 years.
  • California Democrat Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female speaker of the House.
  • President Bush signs law that legalizes government eavesdropping of telephone conversations and emails of American citizens and people overseas without a warrant, as long as there is a "reasonable belief" that one party is not in the United States.
  • Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, experiences its first snowfall in 89 years.

Words of the Year

The practice of obtaining needed funding (as for a new business) by soliciting contributions from a large number of people, especially from the online community.

A word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text.

A series of many, often impassioned tweets posted in quick succession on the social media site Twitter.


Top News Stories

  • Cuban president Fidel Castro permanently steps down after 49 years in power.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have a right to challenge their detention in federal court.
  • The Federal Reserve outlines a $200 billion loan program that lets the country's biggest banks borrow Treasury securities at discounted rates and post mortgage-backed securities as collateral.
  • A 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan Provinces in western China.
  • Members of the Group of 8 set goals to cut in half by 2050 the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the environment.
  • Zhai Zhigang stepped out of the Shenzhou-VII spacecraft and made the first spacewalk by a Chinese astronaut.

Words of the Year

A digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer online transactions.

Infinity scarf
A scarf that has the form of a loop without ends and that is typically worn around the neck.

To explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.


Top News Stories

  • For the first time in 341 years, a woman is appointed as poet laureate of the United Kingdom.
  • Iraq holds local elections to create provincial councils.
  • Unemployment in the U.S. reaches 8.1%, the highest rate since 1983.
  • President Obama signs executive orders closing all secret prisons and detention camps run by the CIA, and banning coercive interrogation methods.
  • Scientists find water on the Moon during NASA's Lcross misson.
  • A special court rules that vaccinations do not cause autism.
  • Scientists have created a vaccine that seems to reduce the risk of contracting the AIDS virus.
  • President Obama declares the outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus, also called swine flu, a national emergency.

Words of the Year

Any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units.

To publicly identify or publish private information about someone, especially as a form of punishment or revenge.

A legging that is made of stretchable fabric and that resembles tight fitting denim jeans.


Top News Stories

  • First of 33 trapped Chilean miners is rescued after spending 68 days trapped in a mine half a mile underground.
  • An explosion in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland results in a volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere over northern and central Europe.
  • A Picasso painting sells for a record-breaking $106.5 million at a Christie's auction.
  • 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastates Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It is the region's worst earthquake in 200 years.
  • An explosion on a BP oil drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana kills 11 people and injures 17. Experts estimate that 42,000 gallons of crude oil per hour poured into the Gulf of Mexico. It took 86 days for BP to cap the leaking oil well.
  • President Obama repeals the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.
  • Congress passes a $4.3 billion health bill for the rescue workers involved in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

Words of the Year

A person who subjects someone to criticism or mockery for supposed bodily faults or imperfections.

Filter bubble
An environment, especially online, in which people are exposed only to opinions and information that conform to their existing beliefs.

To post a picture to the Instagram photo-sharing service.

The Atlantic

Top News Stories

  • Leaders of the euro zone agree on a package to bring the debt crisis in Europe under control.
  • Kate Middleton and Prince William marries at Westminster Abbey in London.
  • South Sudan declares independence and becomes Africa's 54th state.
  • King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia grants women the right to vote and run for office in future elections.
  • News of the World, a British newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, closes after several allegations that the paper's journalists hacked into voicemail accounts.
  • Hurricane Irene moves up the eastern seaboard. Damage is estimated at $7 billion.
  • Occupy Wall Street expands to other cities across the U.S., including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
  • The space shuttle Atlantis launches into space for the last time from the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Japan is hit by an enormous earthquake that triggers a deadly 23-foot tsunami in the country's north.
  • An X-class solar flare, the most powerful form of solar flare, erupts and jams radio communications in China.

Words of the Year

Short for autonomous sensory meridian response, a pleasant tingling sensation that originates on the back of the scalp and often spreads to the neck and upper spine, that occurs in some people in response to a stimulus (such as a particular kind of sound or movement), and that tends to have a calming effect.

A digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network.

Stay temporarily in a series of other people's homes, typically making use of improvised sleeping arrangements.

The Atlantic

Top News Stories

  • North Korea successfully launches a rocket into orbit.
  • Vladimir Putin wins the presidential election in Russia.
  • After 19 years of negotiations, Russia joins the World Trade Organization.
  • The case count for the meningitis outbreak continues to rise in the United States.
  • Hurricane Sandy hits Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the US East Coast. It becomes the second costliest hurricane in the United States, behind Katrina.
  • A plutonium-powered rover named Curiosity successfully lands on Mars.
  • Scientists announce they discovery that gene switches, once thought of as junk in DNA, actually play vital roles in how cells, organs, and tissues behave.

Words of the Year

Escape room
A game in which participants confined to a room or other enclosed setting are given a set amount of time to find a way to escape.

Hot take
A quickly produced, strongly worded, and often deliberately provocative or sensational opinion or reaction.

Slang for inspiration.

The Atlantic

Top News Stories

  • Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, dies of cancer at age 58, after 14 years in office.
  • North Korea says it has detonated a third nuclear bomb. In response, the UN Security Council passes another round of strict sanctions against North Korea.
  • Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, admitted that he was the source of leaks about the top-secret surveillance activities of the National Security Agency.
  • Israelis and Palestinians officially begin peace talks in Jerusalem.
  • The Supreme Court rules that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.
  • Multiple bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
  • Debris from a meteor hits Siberia, Russia, and more than 1,000 people are killed.

Words of the Year

Having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession.

A ring-shaped fried pastry made from croissant dough.

To set apart or place in custody.


Top News Stories

  • After weeks of discussion, China and the U.S. reach a landmark agreement on climate change. The agreement includes a commitment for the first time by China to stop its emissions from increasing by 2030.
  • After years of negotiations, the U.S. and Taliban complete a prisoner swap.
  • One World Trade Center opens for tenants in lower Manhattan.
  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announces that the Pentagon will be shrinking the U.S. Army to the smallest size it has been since before World War II.
  • The Supreme Court rules that police need a warrant to search the cellphone of anyone that they arrest.
  • A coding error is discovered in OpenSSL, encryption software that makes transactions between a computer and a remote secure.
  • According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is the worst since the virus was first identified almost forty years ago.

Words of the Year

Gig worker
A person who works temporary jobs typically in the service sector as an independent contractor or freelancer.

Hard pass
A firm refusal or rejection of something (such as an offer).

On fleek
     idiomatic phrase
Slang for perfectly done, exactly right.

The Atlantic

Top News Stories

  • Supreme Court Rules for same-sex marriage.
  • The Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina statehouse grounds during a ceremony.
  • The Pentagon announced that all combat jobs would be open to women.
  • The United States, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany, reached a historic agreement to limit Iran's ability to produce a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
  • ISIS launched three coordinated attacks in Paris, killing 129 people and wounding hundreds.
  • Greece missed a critical debt payment of 1.5 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), increasing the country's financial crisis. Greece's international creditors refused to extend the country's bailout program. A third bailout for Greece was approved by Germany and other European governments.
  • Cuba and the U.S. reached an agreement to open embassies in Washington D.C. and Havana.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton becomes the show to see on Broadway.

Words of the Year

The liquid that results when beans are cooked in water.

Dark money
Money contributed to nonprofit organizations that is used to fund political campaigns without disclosure of the donors' identities.

To move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank.


Top News Stories

  • The Paris Agreement to limit global warming is now international law.
  • President Barack Obama signed an emergency order to help Flint, Michigan, address its water crisis.
  • The Zika virus makes its way to the U.S.
  • A 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Ecuador, killing at least 350 people and injuring thousands.
  • Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has decided to put abolitionist Harriett Tubman on the $20 bill, making her the first African-American to appear on U.S. paper currency and the first woman in 100 years.
  • Pop superstar Prince died at his Minnesota home at age 57.
  • The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
  • A collaboration between Niantic and The Pokemon Company, "Pokemon Go" is an augmented-reality smartphone game that became wildly popular in the U.S.
  • Samsung recalled all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after finding batteries of some flagship gadgets exploded or caught fire.
  • Mother Teresa, the nun who cared for the poorest of the poor in India, became a saint on the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death.
  • Hurricane Matthew sweeps through the eastern Caribbean, killing hundreds in Haiti, before continuing along the Southeastern coast of the U.S.
  • Fidel Castro, Cuba’s controversial revolutionary leader for more than 50 years, died at age 90.

Words of the Year

The blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field.

Cancel culture
The practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.

To cover one's face with the hand as an expression of embarrassment.


Top News Stories

  • Taiwan, Germany, Chile, and Australia rule in favor of same-sex marriage.
  • Millions of people worldwide join the Women's March in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. It becomes the largest single-day protest in American history and the largest worldwide protest in recent history.
  • The United Kingdom triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting the Brexit negotiations.
  • WannaCry ransomware attack: Computers around the world are hit by a large-scale ransomware cyberattack, which effects at least 150 countries.
  • The U.S. government announces its decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Hurricane Harvey strikes the United States as a Category 4 hurricane, causing catastrophic damage to the Houston metropolitan area, mostly due to record-breaking floods.
  • A Leonardo da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi, sells for US$450 million at Christie's in New York, a new record price for any work of art.
  • Nature publishes an article recognising the high-velocity asteroid ʻOumuamua as originating from outside the Solar System, becomgin the first known interstellar object.
  • Russia is banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics by the International Olympic Committee, following an investigation into state-sponsored doping.

Words of the Year

To abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.

Short for non-fungible token, a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership.

A person born in the late 1990s or the early 2000s, a member of Generation Z.


Top News Stories

  • A total lunar eclipse takes place, the 49th eclipse of Lunar Saros 124. This was referred to by the media as a 'super blue blood moon' as it was close to a supermoon and a blue moon eclipse, the first since 1982.
  • In over 900 cities internationally, people participate in demonstrations against gun violence and mass shootings, calling for stronger gun control in the "March for Our Lives".
  • Cinemas open in Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1983 with the American film Black Panther chosen as the first to be screened.
  • NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is launched.
  • The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was held at St George's Chapel, England, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion.
  • The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect, imposing strict privacy controls for European citizens worldwide.
  • Canada becomes the first major industrialized country to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
  • Saudi Arabia allows women to drive.

Words of the Year

A disparaging term for people obsessed with wealth or its trappings.

An image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said.

Abbreviation for “too long; didn’t read.” It’s used to summarize the key point of a long text.


Top News Stories

  • Chinese probe Chang'e 4 becomes the first artificial object to land on the far side of the Moon.
  • SpaceIL launches the Beresheet probe, the world's first privately financed mission to the Moon.
  • An unmanned demonstration flight of the new crew capable version of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft achieves successful autonomous docking with the International Space Station.
  • Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project announce the first ever image of a black hole, located in the centre of the M87 galaxy.
  • Fossil fragments found in the Callao Cave in the Philippines reveal the existence of a new species of human, the Homo luzonensis.
  • During Holy Week, a major fire engulfs Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, resulting in the roof and main spire collapsing.
  • Victor Vescovo achieves the deepest dive of any human in history, as he reaches Challenger Deep within the Mariana Trench, at a depth of 35,853 ft.

Words of the Year

Causing or characterized by a lot of speculative or excited talk or attention (that is, generating buzz).

Appropriate to, typical of, consistent with, or supportive of a particular brand or public image or identity.

Being at the height of popularity, use, or attention.

Time Magazine

Top News Stories

  • The Taal Volcano in the Philippines has its first major eruption since 1977.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the outbreak of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passes 80 million worldwide.
  • The United Kingdom and Gibraltar formally withdraw from the European Union.
  • A conditional peace agreement is signed between the United States and the Taliban.
  • Astronomers announce the discovery of the first black hole located in a star system visible to the naked eye.
  • Protests caused by the murder of George Floyd break out across hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Costa Rica becomes the first Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • A $5 billion class action lawsuit is filed against Alphabet Inc. and Google, alleging the company violates users' right to privacy by tracking them in Chrome's incognito mode.
  • The Twitter accounts of prominent political figures, CEOs, and celebrities are hacked to promote a bitcoin scam.
  • An explosion caused by unsafely stored ammonium nitrate kills over 220 people, injures thousands, and severely damages the port in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Microsoft agrees to buy video game holding company ZeniMax Media, including Bethesda Softworks and their following subsidiaries, in what is the most expensive takeover in the history of the video game industry.

Words of the Year

A mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus that is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material or with objects or surfaces contaminated by the virus, and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Not requiring touching or interaction between people.

A truthful or seemingly truthful quality that is claimed for something not because of supporting facts or evidence but because of a feeling that it is true or a desire for it to be true.


Top News Stories

  • The African Continental Free Trade Area comes into effect.
  • The United States officially rejoins the Paris Agreement.
  • Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, runs aground and obstructs the Suez Canal, disrupting global trade.
  • Japan's government approves the dumping of radioactive water of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean over the course of 30 years.
  • Discovery, Inc. agrees to buy media conglomerate WarnerMedia and all of its subsidiaries, from AT&T for $43 billion.
  • The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpasses 4 million. The number of vaccinations administered worldwide exceeds 3 billion.
  • The first direct observation of light from behind a black hole is reported, confirming Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Words of the Year

Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color used to acknowledge that not all people of color face equal levels of injustice.

A usually small group of people (such as family members, friends, coworkers, or classmates) who regularly interact closely with one another but with few or no others in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection during an outbreak of a contagious disease.

Made or done for show, as to bolster one's own image or make a positive impression on others.

Look back at the year you were born!
Britt Britt (157)

Every year, Merriam-Webster, the leading American publisher of reference books, adds hundreds of new words to the official dictionary.