Posted by: Jack Henry | July 27, 2021

Editor’s Corner: 100-year-old Birthday Words

Recently, I’ve known several people who’ve celebrated their birthdays. In fact, I’m preparing to make my dog a special cake for her 13th birthday. I remembered a website my former manager sent about dates—Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler. This site lists, by year, the first time words and phrases appeared in print. Just to make it interesting, I went back 100 years, and I was a little surprised with what was new to print in 1921. Here are some of the words I was surprised about because I thought they were fairly recent and some I just liked the sound of. I’m including the words and terms, the part of speech they are used for, and their definitions.

Word Part of Speech Definition
booze cruise noun informal

a: a boat trip centered on the consumption or sale of alcohol

b: a boat trip to a location where alcohol can be purchased inexpensively (because of lower taxes or no taxes)


adjective of a superior degree of excellence, for example “a four-star French restaurant”
fusspot noun fussbudget

Synonyms: bellyacher, complainer, crybaby, fusser, griper, grumbler, sniveler, whiner

Herd mentality noun the tendency of the people in a group to think and behave in ways that conform with others in the group rather than as individuals
house trailer noun mobile home
microinjection noun injection under the microscope

specifically: injection by means of a micropipette into a tissue or a single cell

ouroboros noun a circular symbol that depicts a snake or dragon devouring its own tail and that is used especially to represent the eternal cycle of destruction and rebirth
pigboat noun submarine
roadholding noun chiefly British

the qualities of an automobile that tend to make it respond precisely to the driver’s steering

rubber check noun a check returned by a bank because of insufficient funds in the payer’s account
shih tzu noun, often with initial capitalization any of an old Chinese breed of toy dogs that have a square short unwrinkled muzzle, short muscular legs, and a long dense flowing coat


Pigboat class of submarine

Peppa Pigboat class of submarine

Shih tzu, aka “walking mop”

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Technical Editor, Advisory

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