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New words of 1917

I happened to come across a little book, “Current Glossary: Words Coined Since the War.” Here are some of them:

as’pi-rin, n. A white compound used as a drug in the cure of headaches and rheumatism.

bob’go, n. A kind of antelope in Africa; its meat is good for food.

cat’ta-lo, n. A cross between an American bison and a cow.

dart, n. A short, pointed spear-like weapon of steel dropped by airmen in attacks on the enemy.

free’lance, n. A rover in literature, a writer not in the employ of one firm.

griz’zly bear. A new kind of dance.

You get the idea.

P.S. Some more literary nostalgia from the archives:


70 Years of Best Sellers

More on book sales . . . and reflections on the disappearance of millions of copies of the once-ubiquitous “Alive!”


  1. MikeM says:

    Off topic. Doug Glanville’s thoughtful essay on A-Rod and the meaning of numbers.

  2. numeric says:

    The “Great War and Modern Memory” provides a literary description of words which originated as a direct result of the First World War. For example, lousy, as in “the ridge is lousy with Fritz”, thus making an equivalence between the scourge of the trenches (the louse) and the enemey. Also, words/phrases that have lost their meaning, such as “entrenched power”, referring to the near-impossibility of dislodging an enemy in a well-fortified trenching system. A good read.