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What words were born the same year you were? Find out with this new tool.

If you were born in 1978, like yours truly was, then the year 2018 marks a significant milestone for you: You’re turning 40.

Rather than feel over-the-hill about that fact, though, you might get a kick out of knowing that you share a birth year with some fun words, like “half-pipe,” “bed-and-breakfast,” “Tinseltown” and “pay-per-view.”

Time Machine, a new tool by dictionary Merriam-Webster, allows users to search for any year going back to 1500, to see what words were first printed--their “first known use.” (The dictionary adds some helpful explanation of the term “first known use” here.)

Picking years significant to you--birth years, anniversary years, etc.--might give you a whiff of nostalgia for new concepts that you’ll likely recall. If you were married in 2004, for instance, you’ll likely recall the births of words like “life hack,” “paywall” and “podcast.”

Poking around some years can lend a sense of historical vocabulary in the making. 1939, the first year of the second World War, gave us the words “blitz,” “air-to-air” and “civil defense.” 1889, the year of North Dakota entering into statehood, gave us a slew of words related to scientific discovery, like “cell biology” and “glaciology.”

If you’re a sucker for the beauty of words and usage, you’ll keep finding gold as you dive deeper. Ending up at the year 1610, for instance, yields irresistible gems like “consanguine (descended from the same ancestor),” “decrescent (decreasing, waning)” and “voluptuary (a person who seeks luxury).”

Kris Kerzman

Kris Kerzman is a digital content producer for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He's also a dad, a board game enthusiast, and a sucker for an Oxford comma. He can be reached at (701) 241-5466 or You can follow him on Twitter at @kriskerzman.

(701) 241-5466