WORDS WE DIDN’T HAVE BEFORE THE ’80’s
COMMON WORDS THAT DIDN’T EXIST UNTIL THE 1980s:
Laptop: The first official laptop was the $4,000 Gavilan SC, introduced in 1983, which came with 48 kb of ROM (a far weaker tech than the RAM found in today’s machines).
Microbrewery: Small-batch breweries have been around for hundreds of years, but when The New York Times reported on a California micro-brewery, in 1983, it was the first mainstream publication in the US to use the term.
Hip-hop: The Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 hit ‘Rapper’s Delight’ that introduced the word to the masses. But when, in 1982, a story in Village Voice predicted “hip-hop could be…the most significant artistic achievement of the decade,” it became more than just a lyric.
Cyberspace: Science fiction author William Gibson came up with the word for his 1982 short story “Burning Chrome,” but it took his 1984 novel Neuromancer for it to enter the zeitgeist.
Snail-mail: Of course, before the 80s, it was just “mail”. (Then e-mail came along…)
Eco-friendly: While Earth-friendly products have been around for years, it was in a 1989 Daily Telegraph story that the term “eco-friendly” made its debut.
Channel surfing: Cable and satellite TV was still in its infancy in 1986 when the Wall Street Journal came up with a fun way of describing the short attention span viewing that came with too many TV options. “Channel surfing” would soon spawn “web surfing”.
Infomercial: While they actually go back as far as 1949 (for a blender), infomercials as we know them didn’t exist until 1981, when program-length ads were OK’d in the US. (making late-nite TV a haven for Ginsu knives, ThighMasters, and psychic hotlines…)
Foodie: It came from a New York magazine food critic, who gifted us with the word in a 1980 restaurant review.
Doh!: Homer Simpson uttered his first “d’oh” (written in the script as “annoyed grunt”) in a 1988 short called “Punching Bag” on the Tracey Ullman Show. It would become one of the most repeated and beloved comedic quotes of all time.
So, if newspapers go down the tubes, who will invent all the new words for us? – Jamie