Language is something that changes constantly, and dictionary publishers are some of the people who have to catalog and quantify that change. That’s why the dictionary gets a little longer every year. If you’d like to see how in a surprisingly engaging web view, head on over to the Merriam-Webster “Time Traveler.”
This tool lets you see which terms have entered the Merriam-Webster English dictionary every year. You can go directly to a single year, or scroll down to find it manually, going all the way back to 1500 for individual years, even further for eras.
This world was graced by my august presence in 1987, the year in which “dad joke,” “food coma,” “patient zero,” “single-payer,” and “thirtysomething” came into the lexicon. How prescient. Naturally, you can click or tap on each word to go to the full definition.