100 Words Turning 100 This Year

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DavidGrigg/iStock via Getty Images

The word cake is about 800 years old, and you're gonna want to make some for these scrappy newcomers turning 100. Let's celebrate the centennial of all of them. And don't forget the candles (which are at least 1100 years old).

1. World War II

Black and white retro image of Lancaster bombers from Battle of Britain in World War Two
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Did you know that the term World War 2 is essentially turning 100 this year? That's right—in February 1919, just a few months after World War 1 ended, a story appeared in the UK's Manchester Guardian called “World War No. 2.” The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as a "reference to an imagined future war arising out of the social upheaval consequent upon the First World War.” The actual second world war wouldn’t start until 1939.

2. Balletomane

It refers to a ballet devotee. If you love ballet, this is you.

3. Snooty

Don't look down your nose at this one.

4. Fanboy

American football fans cheer on their team
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The term originated to describe young, male baseball enthusiasts, but now it can be applied to just about everything from Batman comics to cricket.

5. Peter-Pannery

This is a rather odd/fantastic way to accuse someone of behaving childishly, and you may need it for the fanboy in your life.

6. Dunk

A woman dunks a cookie into a glass of milk
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The original meaning of dunker had nothing to do with someone who could dunk a basketball—it was someone who dunked cookies. Dunking a basketball wouldn’t come along until a few decades later.

7. DUNKER

Fun fact: The optimal time to dunk an Oreo in milk is three seconds!

8. BIMBO

If you know a snooty fanboy and a dunker, you might also know a bimbo, though sources disagree whether that's from 1919 or 1918. Either way, back then the term would have been used to describe a man.

9. UNDERGRADUATE

Female college students walking to a class
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But if you want an unusual 1919 term for a woman, how about undergraduette, which is the female version of an undergraduate.

10. SPORTS CAR

Henry Ford created the moving assembly line to build automobiles in 1913, and their burgeoning popularity also brought forth a lot of new terms.

11. EXITS

A green highway exit sign with white lettering
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Meaning the kind you take off the road.

12. MOTOR SCOOTER

Before the motors, "scooters" were just people who moved fast.

13. PICKUP TRUCK

Dog in the back of a black pickup truck
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Presumably to haul undergraduates around in.

14. HYDROFOIL

If you’re more into water sports, hydrofoil—the apparatus that lifts watercraft hulls up out of the water to increase speed—also comes from 1919.

15. SUPERSONIC

Speaking of increasing speed, although it wouldn't be applied to transport for a few more decades, supersonic, meaning higher than humans can hear, is also turning 100.

16. COLLAGE

Child tears a red paper into small pieces. Child holds red paper pieces in his hands. Kindergarten art lesson. Set of color paper, pencils, glue stick on wooden background
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It comes from a French word that means “gluing.”

17. PISSOIR

Also from French, and from 1919, pissoir is a public urinal.

18. VINO

The English language also borrowed vino from the Italians that year.

19. PENNE

Plate of penne pasta and wine
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And the penne to go with it.

20. COLD TURKEY

Keeping on the food theme, I think I’m going to go cold turkey—a phrase whose modern meaning is 100-years-young and still has mysterious origins. One theory is that it comes from the phrase talking turkey meaning “to be frank.”

21. SILICA GEL

Moving on to something you probably shouldn’t eat: silica gel.

Here’s a little secret, though: Despite being marked “DO NOT EAT,” chowing down on the packets, if you decided to do it, probably wouldn’t be that bad for you—the warnings are mostly there because silica gel is a choking hazard for children. Plus eating it in large quantities isn’t advisable.

22. POLYPHILOPROGENITIVE

A newborn baby grabs a parent's finger
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It’s believed T.S. Eliot coined the term polyphiloprogenitive in 1919, which describes one who is prolific in making babies.

23. POST-PRIMARY EDUCATION

Those babies will probably need a lot of post-primary education, which is turning 100 just as primary education is turning 201.

24. BEHAVIORAL

Similarly, we’ve had behavior since the 15th century , but behavioral is a 1919 word!

25. ISOLATIONISM

Man sits by himself watching the sunset
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And isolationism is from 1919 versus isolation from 1833 .

26. BLUE NOTE

Although it was circulating in the jazz world earlier, Blue note entered the popular lexicon in 1919. It refers to a type of flattened musical note that often pops up in blues and jazz.

27. JAZZMAN

A saxophone player in front of a festival crowd seated on a lawn
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And on that (ahem) note ... jazzman, meaning jazz musician, also turns 100 this year.

28. CHARTIST

Speaking of professionals, chartist as a term for market analysts comes from 1919.

29. AIR MARSHAL

Window and wall of an airplane
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As does the job of air marshal, although it meant an officer in the Royal Air Force when it was coined.

30. air commodore

There's also this new-to-1919 rank, which is the equivalent of a Brigadier (one star) General.

31. AIRFIELD

Those words get all the sky-related glory, though. With the post-WWI rise of airplanes, we also got airfield.

32. Air traffic control

If you're gonna have an airfield, you're gonna need this.

33. Air frEIght

A young man and young woman build an airplane in a WWII-era factory
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And if you've got airplanes, you may as well have them haul some cargo.

34. SUPERPIMP

As you might guess, you'd use this word to describe a highly successful pimp in 1919.

35. SUPERAGENT

And if we're just adding super to a title, perhaps the most epic job title ever is superagent, which was a title given to the Golden Ghost, “super-agent of Anarchism” who is surprisingly not a comic book character.

36. SVENGALI

Illustration of a Svengali
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Someone who may have made a good superagent, Svengali is also on our list. Svengali was an evil hypnotist character in the 19th century novel Trilby, and by 1919, it had become a generic term.

37. XANADU

Xanadu became a word meaning “idyllic place” in 1919, but it first entered public consciousness thanks to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1816.

38. TELEFILM

Some people may think that the movie Xanadu is more telefilm quality, which is a good burn but also a word you wouldn’t have used before 1919.

39. BELL CURVE

A bell curve on graph paper with an equation below
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Also that year, people finally had the good sense to put bell and curve together to get the above.

40. IMMUNE SYSTEM

Now let’s cover some words that are important in the medical field. We got this phrase almost 60 years after Louis Pasteur laid the groundwork for modern germ theory. Thankfully, we've got something to fight them.

41. BLOOD TYPING

There's also blood typing, though blood types have possibly been around since earlier than 20 million years ago. Also according to one survey, nearly 50 percent of people don’t know their own blood type.

42. DIAPER RASH

Baby in a diaper against a blue-green background
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After having been an advertising term for a few years, diaper rash entered the lexicon, and became another issue we needed a word for, in 1919.

43. SWINE INFLUENZA

Staying with medicine: swine influenza dates from 1919, possibly as a result of the Spanish flu that was ravaging the globe at the time.

44. SPLIT PERSONALITY

A statue from the waist up of Roman god Janus
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Split personality is 100 years old, though it was first used to refer to patients with schizophrenia. The term used now to describe someone with multiple personalities is dissociative identity disorder.

45. MUSIC THERAPY

The technique has been used since the days of Aristotle, but it officially became a field during the 20th century, when music was used as therapy for hospitalized veterans of both World Wars.

46. MUSICALIZED

Illustration of an orchestra on stage
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Perhaps thanks to this increased focus on music, things began to be musicalized, which is when a novel or play is set to music.

47. COPACETIC

Copacetic was first found in print in 1919, and its etymology is unknown. There are similar phrases in a few languages, but no proof for any one being the originator of the word. We do know that vaudeville performer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson claimed to have invented it, and that it probably popped up around the 1880s in African-American slang in the south.

48. FEEDBACK

We got feedback in 1919, but only to reference a mechanical process. An example of a mechanism using feedback that existed around that time is an audio amplifier. It wasn’t until around the 1950s that it started to refer to a reaction someone gives.

49. OFFLINE

Train tracks in front of a forest at sunset
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The OED records other modern-seeming words that emerged in 1919—though with odd meanings. For example, offline, which referred to something that was away from a railroad line.

50. BROADBAND

There's also broadband, which referred to a broad band of frequencies.

51. MOONWALKING

A sleepwalker on a roof
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And, 50 years before Apollo 11, moonwalking meant a type of sleepwalking.

52. RUN-OF-THE-MILL

Some fun hyphenated adjectives emerged in 1919. Run-of-the-mill, originally meant the substance that came out of a mill before going through quality control, but it gained its modern meaning around 1919.

53. MIXED BAG

The modern meaning of mixed bag—“a diverse or heterogeneous assortment of people or things,” according to the OED—turns 100 this year. Before that, it was a hunting term for an assortment of game.

54. Preslice

Sliced bread
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Preslice was coined before the invention of sliced bread. It wasn’t until 1928 that Otto Rohwedder’s invention started preslicing bread.

55. Presoak

And if you’re going to preslice something, maybe you should also presoak it.

56. ANTIOXIDANT

Smoothie bowl with fresh berries, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables
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Antioxidant is 100, although oxidant, which came from a French word, has been around since the mid-19th century.

57. Putsch

Then we have putsch, which we got from the Swiss German language. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a “secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government.”

58. BINOCS

There's no better way to watch out for attempted putsches than with binocs, a slang term for binoculars from 1919.

59. ELECTRON TUBE

Glowing electron tubes
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On the technological front, electron tube is 100. Versions of these devices—which basically control electron flow in electronics like radios and computers— had been around since the 17th century, but it wasn’t until 1904 that John Ambrose Fleming invented a working one.

60. CRITICAL MASS

We also got critical mass in 1919, which nowadays is used to describe something very science-y: how much fissionable stuff you need to keep a chain reaction going. But Merriam-Webster simply defines it as “a size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result.”

61. MELTDOWN

Nuclear power plant behind a field
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If you do reach critical mass, watch out for a meltdown, which originally was just used for anything that melted down, before referring to nuclear materials in the 1950s.

62. RADIOBIOLOGY

And on that radiation note, we got radiobiology in 1919—the type of biology that focuses on radiation and radioactive materials.

63. SPECIAL RELATIVITY

An artistic rendering of a black hole warping the stars around it
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A few more science related terms also come from 1919, like special relativity, even though the theory was formulated 14 years earlier.

64. DIODE

They used to be called rectifiers, but William Henry Eccles crafted the term diode to delineate from tetrodes when they were invented.

65. COVALENCE

You can bond with your friends over this 100-year-old word during your science trivia night.

66. DIOXIN

The rise of 20th century industrialization also gave us a need to name these harmful environmental toxins.

67. WHITE ROOM

Two scientists in clean room suits look through microscopes
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A lot of science at the turn of the century was probably done in a white room, which is a 1919 term for what we now call a clean room.

68. MINIMETER

And things in the white room might have been measured with a minimeter, an instrument that could get accurate readings down to one millionth of an inch.

69. ELECTRODESSICATION

And one more science term: electrodessication, which the OED defines as "destruction of abnormal tissue or sealing of blood vessels using a monopolar high frequency electrical current.

70. ENCODE

Woman entering code onto a laptop computer
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Encode has a few meanings nowadays, but in 1919, it meant “convert ... from one system of communication into another.”

71. CODE NAME

Code name is a word that was used before 1919 to describe a moniker given to a ship or company so you wouldn’t have to write out the full name in Morse Code. But a 1919 newspaper says infantry commanders would use codenames to avoid giving their position away to the enemy, which appears to be when it started getting its modern usage. They're also pretty handy for superagents.

72. BULL SESSION

A longhorn bull standing in a field beneath a cloudy sky
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Bull session, meaning “an informal discursive group discussion,” is officially 100, which should give you something to chat about at your next bull session.

73. REMILITARIZE

Just like it sounds, this word means to resupply a formerly demilitarized nation or organization.

74. POKEY

Pokey officially became slang for jail in 1919.

75. RITZY

A pair of stylish couples sit at a table and chatx
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On the other end of the spectrum, ritzy also became slang for stylish that year.

76. POSH UP

And hopefully this list can posh up your vocabulary a bit.

77. PAXMAS

And if you want to make your last minute Christmas gift card sound ritzy, maybe call it a paxmas, which is a word coined in 1919 meaning “a telegraphed money order written and sent at any time but delivered on Christmas morning.”

78. BEAVERTAIL

Beavertail cactus with pink blooms in front of a field of yellow flowers
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Beavertail got its name in 1919. It ’ s a type of cactus found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico. So ... not animal-related.

79. BATS

Another animal-but-not-animal phrase, the word bats joins our list, though only to mean batty. The cute animal had already gotten its name by 1600.

80. HORSE AROUND

A laughing horse
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Another animal term we humans have made about ourselves: horse around. We don’t know exactly who came up with the phrase, but experts say it’s probably a spinoff from horseplay, a word from 1589.

81. DEFANG

While we're at it, defang started being used in a figurative way.

82. DELOUSE

And delouse started being used in a literal way.

83. DEMOBBED

Artist rendering of Scottish WWI troops fighting in a trench
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Delouse became a word thanks to WWI solders going through a delousing process after they demobbed, short for demobilized.

84. PRERETURN

And they demobbed and deloused while completing prereturn, or what was required before returning to daily life.

85. SKIVVIES

This one also may have a military connection: One story goes that the slang term for underwear came from the U.S. Navy.

86. OVERBREATHING

Stressed out man breathing into a paper bag
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We got overbreathing in 1919, but you probably just refer to it as hyperventilating.

87. NON EXPLOITIVE

And non exploitive, just 61 years younger than its friend exploitive.

88. INTERROGEE

To be fair to interrogees, there’s currently debate in the legal and grammar worlds about whether they should be called interrogees or interrogatees.

89. OVERREACT

A man looking shocked with his hands against his face and mouth wide open
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But that's nothing to be too alarmed about.

90. BELTLINE

Beltline is 100. It means the “line of an automobile body along the side of the vehicle just below the windows.”

91. SElf-validation

Self-validation comes from validate, which has been around since the mid-17th century. Go ahead and do it to yourself.

92. OUTGAS

But don't try this on yourself. Outgas might not mean what you initially thought. It’s just used to refer to taking gases out of an area, typically with heat.

93. Blimp

A blimp flying over snow-covered mountains
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While not technically coined in 1919, a lot of very familiar words were added to the dictionary that year, like blimp.

94. CONVERtible

Convertible falls under the same category as blimp.

95. HOOVERIZE

As does Hooverize, which meant to be economical with regard to food. It was named after then head of the US Food Administration Herbert Hoover, who suggested economizing on food for the war effort.

96. AIR TAXI

Yellow taxi hovering above the ground
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You may need one to make quick trips between your private islands.

97. AIRFOIL

Remember hydrofoil? This is basically the same thing but for air. You can thank an airfoil every time your air taxi takes off.

98. ANTI-ALLERGY

Another thing to cheer, especially in the spring, summer, fall, and winter.

99. Anti-stress

A black and tan Dachshund with cucumber slices on its eyes
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It turns out the people of 1919 were as focused at battling stress as we are.

100. Activated charcoal

Last but not least... activated charcoal, which came to public attention thanks to its use in World War I gas masks and is now found in every hipster cafe in America!

Read Guy Beringer’s 1895 Essay That Coined the Term Brunch

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LUNAMARINA/iStock via Getty Images

In 1895, British writer Guy Beringer entreated the public to adopt a revolutionary meal that he called brunch. The word itself was, as we all know, a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch, and the idea was almost exactly the same as it is today: Rise late, gather your mates, and chat the afternoon away over a feast of breakfast and lunch fare.

He detailed all the benefits of his innovation in his essay “Brunch: A Plea,” which was published in Hunter’s Weekly. In addition to presenting a compelling case for making brunch a part of one's weekend routine, Beringer also seems like the kind of person you’d want to invite to your own Sunday gathering. For one, Beringer definitely lives to eat.

“Dinner’s the thing; the hour between seven and eight is worth all the rest put together,” Beringer wrote. “In these hurrying, worrying, and scurrying days the sweets of life are too often overlooked, and, with the sweets, the hors d'œuvre, soups, and entrées.”

Brunch, therefore, is a way to put the focus back on the food. It’s also a way to justify letting your Saturday night last into the early hours of Sunday morning, since a late first meal makes waking up early on Sunday “not only unnecessary but ridiculous.” According to Beringer, brunch should begin at 12:30 p.m., so feel free to tell your early-bird friend that the father of brunch would consider their 10:00 a.m. brunch reservation an utter travesty.

To Beringer, brunch was much more conducive to socializing than the quiet, comforting solitude of an early breakfast.

“Brunch ... is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It is talk-compelling,” he explains. “It puts you in a good temper; it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow-beings. It sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

And, as for the bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and overall boozy nature of brunch these days, Beringer approved of that, too.

“P.S.,” he adds, “Beer and whiskey are admitted as substitutes for tea and coffee.”

You can read his whole groundbreaking composition below.

"When one has reached a certain age, and the frivolities of youth have palled, one's best thoughts are turned in the channel of food. Man's first study is not man, but meals. Dinner is the climax of each day. You may have your chasse café afterwards, in the shape of theatre, music hall, or social gathering; but it is little more than a digestive. Dinner's the thing; the hour between seven and eight is worth all the rest put together. A parallel might be drawn between these sixty minutes and the Nuit de Cléopatre; but neither in length nor moral tendency would it be suitable to Hunter's Weekly. In these hurrying, worrying, and scurrying days the sweets of life are too often overlooked, and, with the sweets, the hors d'œuvre, soups, and entrées. To use a theatrical simile, there is a tendency to regard meals solely as the curtain raisers of the day's performances. Who has not whirlwind friends who rush in upon him, exclaiming, "Let's have a spree to night, old man! We won't bother about feeding; a chop or steak will about do us." What a pitiable frame of mind! Not that I am a gourmet. I hate the term. I regard a gourmet simply as a gourmand with a digestion. Excessive daintiness in regard to food is merely a form of effeminacy, and as such is to be deprecated. But there is a happy medium—everything good, plenty of it, variety and selection. On week days these conditions can without difficulty be fulfilled, but Sunday affords a problem for nice examination. All of us have experienced the purgatory of those Sabbatarian early dinners with their Christian beef and concomitant pie. Have we not eaten enough of them? I think so, and would suggest Brunch as a satisfactory substitute. The word Brunch is a corruption of breakfast and lunch, and the meal Brunch is one which combines the tea or coffee, marmalade and kindred features of the former institution with the more solid attributes of the latter. It begins between twelve and half-past and consists in the main of fish and one or two meat courses.

Apart altogether from animal considerations, the arguments in favor of Brunch are incontestable. In the first place it renders early rising not only unnecessary but ridiculous. You get up when the world is warm, or at least, when it is not so cold. You are, therefore, able to prolong your Saturday nights, heedless of that moral "last train"—the fear of the next morning's reaction. It leaves the station with your usual seat vacant, and many others also unoccupied. If Brunch became general it would be taken off altogether; the Conscience and Care Company, Limited, would run it at a loss. Their receipts on the other days would, however, be correspondingly increased, and they would be able to give their employés a much-needed holiday. The staff has become rather too obstinate and officious of late. That it must be a case of Brunch or morning church I am, of course, aware; but is any busy work-a-day man in a becomingly religious frame of mind after rising eight and nine o'clock on his only "off" morning? If he went to bed in good time the night before, well and good; but Saturday is Saturday, and will remain so. More especially from seven onwards. To a certain extent I am pleading for Brunch from selfish motives. The world would be kinder and more charitable if my brief were successful. To begin with, Brunch is a hospitable meal; breakfast is not. Eggs and bacon are adapted to solitude; they are consoling, but not exhilarating. They do not stimulate conversation. Brunch, on the contrary, is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper; it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow-beings. It sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week. The advantages of the suggested innovation are, in short, without number, and I submit it is fully time that the old régime of Sunday breakfast made room for the "new course" of Sunday Brunch.

P.S.—Beer and whiskey are admitted as substitutes for tea and coffee."

10 Fascinating Facts About the Thesaurus for National Thesaurus Day

iStock.com/LeitnerR
iStock.com/LeitnerR

Writers often turn to a thesaurus to diversify their vocabulary and add nuance to their prose. But looking up synonyms and antonyms in a thesaurus can help anyone—writer or not—find the most vivid, incisive words to communicate thoughts and ideas. Since January 18 is Thesaurus Day, we’re celebrating with these 10 fascinating facts about your thesaurus.

1. Thesaurus comes from the Greek word for treasure.

Greek lettering.
iStock

Most logophiles consider the thesaurus to be a treasure trove of diction, but the word thesaurus really does mean "treasure." It derives from the Greek word thésauros, which means a storehouse of precious items, or a treasure.

2. The plural of thesaurus is thesauruses or thesauri.

Row of old books lined up.
iStock

How do you refer to more than one octopus? People say everything from octopuses to octopi to octopodes. Similarly, many people have trouble figuring out the correct plural form of the word thesaurus. Though thesauri is technically correct—it attaches a Latin suffix to the Latin word thēsaurus—both thesauri and thesauruses are commonly used and accepted today.

3. Early thesauruses were really dictionaries.

Close-up of the term 'ideal' in a thesaurus.
iStock

Ask a French scholar in the 16th century to see his thesaurus, and he'd gladly give you a copy of his dictionary. In the early 1530s, a French printer named Robert Estienne published Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, a comprehensive Latin dictionary listing words that appeared in Latin texts throughout an enormous span of history. And in 1572, Estienne's son Henri published Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, a dictionary of Greek words. Although the Estiennes's books were called thesauruses, they were really dictionaries comprised of alphabetical listings of words with their definitions.

4. A Greek historian wrote the first book of synonyms.

Stacks of books surrounding an open book and a pair of glasses.
iStock

Philo of Byblos, a Greek historian and grammarian, wrote On Synonyms, a dictionary of synonyms that scholars consider to be the first ancient thesaurus. Dating to the late 1st century or early 2nd century CE, the book lists Greek words that are similar in meaning to each another. Sadly, we don’t know much more about On Synonyms because copies of the work haven’t survived over the centuries.

5. An early Sanskrit thesaurus was written in the form of a poem.

Sanskrit lettering.
iStock

In the 4th century CE, an Indian poet and grammarian named Amara Sinha wrote The Amarakosha, a thesaurus of Sanskrit words. Rather than compile a boring list of similar words, Amara Sinha turned his thesaurus into a long poem. Divided into three sections—words relating to the divine, the earth, and everyday life—The Amarakosha contains verses so readers could memorize words easily. This thesaurus is the oldest book of its kind that still exists.

6. A British doctor wrote the first modern thesaurus.

Portrait of Peter Mark Roget.
Thomas Pettigrew, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Peter Mark Roget is the British doctor credited with authoring the first modern thesaurus. In 1805, he began compiling a list of words, arranged by their meaning and grouped according to theme. After retiring from his work as a physician in 1852, Roget published his Thesaurus of English words and phrases; so classified and arranged as to facilitate the expression of ideas and assist in literary composition. Today, Roget’s Thesaurus is still commercially successful and widely used. In fact, we celebrate Thesaurus Day on January 18 because Roget was born on this day in 1779.

7. The thesaurus has a surprising link to a mathematical tool.

Image of a vintage log log slide rule.
Joe Haupt, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The division between "words people" and "numbers people" is deep-seated. Many mathematicians may try to steer clear of thesauruses, and bibliophiles may avoid calculators, but the thesaurus is actually linked to a mathematical tool. Around 1815, Roget invented the log-log slide rule, a ruler-like device that allows users to easily calculate the roots and exponents of numbers. So while the inventor of the thesaurus was compiling words for his tome, he was also hard at work on the log-log slide rule. A true jack-of-all-trades.

8. The Oxford English Dictionary has its own historical thesaurus.

Synonyms for
iStock

In 1965, a professor of English Language at Glasgow University suggested that scholars should create a historical thesaurus based on entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. The project was a massive undertaking, as people from multiple countries worked for 44 years to compile and classify words. Published in 2009, the Historical Thesaurus to the Oxford English Dictionary contains 800,000 words organized by theme and date. The thesaurus covers words and synonyms from Old English to the present day and lets readers discover when certain words were coined and how long they were commonly used.

9. One artist turned his love of words into a series of thesaurus paintings.

Mel Bochner,
Mel Bochner, "Crazy," 2004. Francesca Castelli, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In 2014, the Jewish Museum in New York showed a survey of conceptual artist Mel Bochner’s art. Bochner had incorporated words and synonyms in his paintings for years—which were collectively referred to as the thesaurus paintings—featuring word paintings and lists of synonyms on canvas. The brightly colored paintings feature different groups of English and Yiddish synonyms. According to Bochner, Vietnam and Iraq war veterans cried after seeing his thesaurus painting Die, which features words and phrases such as expire, perish, succumb, drop dead, croak, go belly up, pull the plug, and kick the bucket.

10. There's an urban thesaurus for all your slang synonym needs.

Copy of an Urban Dictionary book.
Effie Yang, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Urban Dictionary helps people decipher the latest slang terms, but where should you go when you need a thesaurus of slang? Urban Thesaurus, of course. The site, which is not affiliated with Urban Dictionary, indexes millions of slang terms culled from slang dictionaries, then calculates usage correlations between the terms. Typing in the word money, for example, gives you an eclectic list of synonyms including scrilla, cheddar, mulah, coin, and bling.

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