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 25 Years of Wordsmith.org! Celebrate with us! 


Mar 11, 2019
This week’s theme
Words that have entered the language during the last 25 years

This week’s words
upcycling
selfie
mansplain
gamification
bingeable

upcycling
A retired Boeing 727 upcycled into a hotel in Costa Rica

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Language is time’s court reporter. What happened? Ask language. It picks up new inventions and customs and ideas. It also makes notes of boils and warts that bubble up on the face of humanity from time to time. Language etches it all in its vocabulary.

You can distill an era by its words. This week we celebrate 25 years of Wordsmith.org (check out contests with exciting prizes) and we’ll feature five words that have become part of the language during the last 25 years.

Note: What we have listed are the earliest documented dates for these words, as we know now. Antedating -- discovery of an earlier citation of a word -- happens all the time, so it’s highly likely someone would find even an earlier usage. Also, most words have been in oral use for years before being written down, chiseled on a rock, or flickering on a Kindle. (OMG for “Oh, My God!” has been around since 1917, first recorded in a letter to Winston Churchill.)

upcycling

PRONUNCIATION:
(UHP-sy-kling)

MEANING:
noun: The conversion of a discarded object into something of higher value.

ETYMOLOGY:
A blend of up + recycling. Earliest documented use: 1994.

NOTES:
Some examples of upcycling are turning old tires/tyres into a bench, old shoes into flower pots, and so on. The ultimate in upcycling is turning an old airplane into a house or a hotel.

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the mantra for the modern times where people are called “consumers”. Recycling is good. Upcycling is better. Bicycling is best. What about upcycling a bicycle?

USAGE:
“Clever bargain hunting and upcycling are evident: a G Plan dining table bought on eBay for £9 was laminated a fabulous ochre by car mechanics.”
A Weekend in... Deal, Kent; The Times (London, UK); Feb 16, 2019.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer. -Douglas Adams, author (11 Mar 1952-2001)

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