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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 50th Birthday to ... these words

Some words turning (at least) 50 in 2017. As with all words, they may well have existed a little earlier than the OED could find earliest evidence for them: 

amp, n.2

colloq. abbrev. of amplifier n. 4.
1967   Boston Globe 21 May 2/3,   I mean, like my ol' man won't buy me a new amp because he thinks he needs a new car.
(oddly, the earliest evidence for amp, v. is about six months earlier):
amp, v.1

Etymology: Shortened < amplify v. Compare slightly later amp n.4 In later use probably influenced by amp v.2
 1. trans. To connect (a musical instrument) to an amplifier; to make (music, etc.) louder or more energetic, usually by using an amplifier or amplified instruments. Freq. with up.
1966   Crescendo Dec. 11/2   The struggle to amp his accordion was abandoned by Barry Dawson.

balls-to-the-wall, adj. (and adv.)

Etymology: Originally with reference to the ball-shaped grips on the throttles of certain military aircraft (which were opened by being pushed forward towards the firewall), but in later use perhaps associated with ball n.1 12a.

slang (orig. U.S. Mil.).
  Unrestrained, aggressive, forceful; all-out, ‘full-throttle’.
1967   F. Harvey Air War xviii. 144   That first Doomsday Mission (as the boys call a big balls-to-the-wall raid) against Hanoi.

ew, int.

Forms:  19– euuw, 19– euuww, 19– euuwww, 19– euw, 19– euww, 19– euwww, 19– ew, 19– eww, 19– ewww

Etymology: Imitative. Compare ugh int. and n., ough int., ooh int., oh int.
colloq. (orig. N. Amer.).
  Used as an emphatic expression, chiefly of disgust, but also (formerly) of surprise or approval.
1967   C. A. Perkins Fiji xviii. 157,   I explain I'm going on a trip with my friends. ‘E-w-w-w! Where to?’ ‘All around Viti Levu on the bus.’ ‘E-w-w-w so far!’
hardwire, v.

 1. trans.
 a. To implement (a specific, unchangeable function) in a computer or other electronic device by means of permanently connected circuitry, so that it cannot be altered by software; (more widely) to implement in a manner that prevents subsequent modification or precludes alternatives. Also: to manufacture (a device) so that particular functionality is implemented by such circuitry.
1967   U.S. Patent 3,348,194 9   Input 141 may be the sign function (which may be hard-wired to logic 1 (—) if the slope of the curve being reproduced is known always to be in a progressively negative direction).

high-tech, adj. and n.

 A. adj.
 1. Using, requiring, or characterized by high-technology; technologically advanced. Opposed to low-tech.
1967   Washington Post 22 Oct. h11 (caption)    Volunteer worker..touches up paint on the Michels and Feild ‘High-Tech’ house at Corcoran.

ibuprofen, n.

Etymology: < i- (in iso- comb. form) + bu- (in butyl n.) + pro- (in propionic adj.) + -fen (alteration of phen- (in phenyl n.)).
  A white powder or crystalline compound, C13H18O2, with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, given orally as a painkiller and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, esp. in the management of arthritis and rheumatic disorders; 2-(4-isobutylphenyl)propionic acid.
1967   Ann. Rheumatic Dis. 26 560/1   This report presents the results of trials of one analogue [of Ibufenac], Ibuprofen.., in rheumatoid arthritis and osteo-arthrosis.

jihadist, n. and adj.

Etymology: < jihad n. + -ist suffix.
 A. n.
  A person who advocates or takes part in a jihad.
1967   Jrnl. Afr. Hist. 8 395   There is not a hint of reformism..in the writings or actions of the leading jihadists.

omega-3, adj. and n.

Etymology: < omega n. + three adj. and n., ω being the symbol of the terminal carbon atom in a fatty acid molecule.
Written with numerical symbol for the second element and sometimes also with the Greek letter symbol ω for the first.
Biochem. A. adj.
  Designating unsaturated fatty acids whose molecules have a double bond between the carbon atoms that are third and second from the end of the hydrocarbon chain. Also written ω-3.Such acids are found especially in fish oils.
1967   Jrnl. Nutrition 92 93/2   The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of ω3 acids on the growth and development of rainbow fingerlings.

reoffender, n.

  A person who reoffends; a recidivist.
1967   Valley News (Van Nuys, Calif.) (East Valley ed.) 28 Dec. b1/1   USC researchers are seeking means of..identifying potential drunken driving re-offenders.

supermodel, n.

  A highly successful fashion model who has attained the status of an international celebrity.
1967   N.Y. Times 21 Mar. 47/4   Twiggy's favorite answer is ‘I dunno’, which seemed as good an answer as any to such press conference questions as, ‘What's it like being a super-model?’

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Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.