The English language is a living, breathing, expanding phenomenon. The poet Derek Walcott once remarked, "The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: It is the property of the language itself."

With this in mind, Stacker grabbed a handful of newly minted words from the years they were coined, from 1920 to 2020. Their definitions come from Merriam-Webster Time Traveler site, except for the years 2012-13 and 2017-18.

Year after year, new words are coined as time, technology, world events, and fashions dictate—but fads are fickle. If the public interest wanes for a particular trend, or world events are relegated to a foggy past, many associated words will be lost and forgotten. Still, others remain as mainstays to our evolving language and how we use or misuse it. Every three months, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) evaluates the vernacular, adding new words, tenses, and subentries to the language that they deem essential.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app