Word Spy Blog

Words That Turn Twenty in October, 2016

In honour of Word Spy’s 20th birthday earlier this year, throughout 2016 I’m highlighting words that are celebrating their own 20th birthdays.

Here’s a list of words that were coined (or have an earliest citation) in October, 1996:

Beowulf cluster
n. An inexpensive supercomputer-like system created from a collection of two or more desktop PCs connected by a high-speed network.
Earliest citation date: October 15, 1996

calm technology
n. Technology that remains in the background until needed and thus enables a person to interact with it in a calm, engaged manner.
Earliest citation date: October 5, 1996

deskfast
n. Breakfast eaten at a desk.
Earliest citation date: October 10, 1996

fleshmeet
n. A meeting in person, especially one composed of people who usually or only converse online.
Earliest citation date: October 17, 1996

foliologist
n. A person who is an expert on where and when tree leaves change color during the fall.
Earliest citation date: October 6, 1996

geeksploitation
n. To induce young computer programmers to work long hours by taking advantage of their enthusiasm and high energy levels.
Earliest citation date: October 11, 1996

generation lap
n. The tendency for young people to be increasingly more adept at technology than their parents or elders.
Earliest citation date: October 14, 1996

microbrowser
n. A small-footprint web browser that can be used with next-generation telephones and other small devices.
Earliest citation date: October 7, 1996

multipath movie
n. An interactive CD- or Internet-based movie that enables viewers to choose from several different plot lines.
Earliest citation date: October 28, 1996

phishing
pp. Creating a replica of an existing web page to fool a user into submitting personal, financial, or password data.
Earliest citation date: October 1, 1971

Talibanisation
n. The rise of extremist, fundamentalist groups within an Islamic society.
Earliest citation date: October 11, 1996

trading coach
n. A person who advises stock traders on the strategy and psychology of investing.
Earliest citation date: October 25, 1996

transumer
n. A big-spending traveler; a person who travels to shop.
Earliest citation date: October 1, 1996

vehicularly housed
adj. Describes a homeless person who lives in a car.
Earliest citation date: October 12, 1996

waitress mom
n. A woman who is married, has children, works in a low-income job, and has little formal education.
Earliest citation date: October 20, 1996

Zen mail
n. An incoming email message without any body text or attachments.
Earliest citation date: October 1, 1996

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