2000 Words

The Oxford English Dictionary has 12 words with first citations from 2000. In that year, the outcome of the U. S. presidential election is disputed due to an excruciatingly close vote count in Florida, with the U. S. Supreme Court stopping the recount and effectively awarding the election to George W. Bush; America Online purchases Time-Warner for $162 billion, the largest corporate merger in history; the dotcom bubble bursts; the death of Charles Schulz ends the forty-nine-year run of the Peanuts comic strip; the Human Genome Project releases its “rough draft” of the human genetic code; Sony releases the Playstation 2 game console, the best-selling gaming platform to date; the U. S. government wins its case against Microsoft with a court ruling that the firm engaged in monopolistic and anti-competitive practices; the International Space Station begins to be continuously occupied; and India’s population tops one billion people.

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The words of 2000:

DILF, n. Of course, once you have MILFs, you need DILFs to avoid being sexist.

drag and brag, v. This verb phrase is just a rhyming, adult variation on show and tell.

earbud, n. The OED antedates these small earphones back to 1983.

Easter egg, n. In computing, an Easter egg is a hidden feature included in a program as a joke or a bonus for users who find it. The OED traces this sense of the term to 1987.

geocache, n. and v. (also geocacher, n. and geocaching, n.) Geocaching is a type of orienteering activity for the satellite navigation age. A geocache, a container holding an item or items, is hidden in a location with the geographic coordinates posted on the internet, and geocachers have to find it using GPS.

hawaladar, n. Hawala is a system for making international payments in Arab and South Asian countries. People pay a hawaladar, or agent, who instructs another hawaladar in the recipient’s country to make the payment to the recipient. Hawala operates on trust and usually without records. The word hawala has been in use in English since 1916, but hawaladar is a comparative newcomer, first appearing in Singapore newspapers in 2000, and not recorded in other English-speaking nations until after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Hawala is from the Arabic for “promissory note, letter of credit.”

machinima, n. This blend of machine and cinema is the practice of creating an animated film using the graphics engine from a video game. Machinima is also used as the name for this genre of film.

man boob, n. There have been various slang terms for large male breasts over the years. Man boob is 2000’s contribution to the lexicon.

metamaterial, n. By 2000 meta- was becoming a buzz prefix, losing any specific meaning and simply denoting high-tech, advanced, or not normal. A metamaterial is simply a synthetic material.

mill and fill, n. Mill and fill is the name for a technique for resurfacing roads, where the top layer of roadway is removed, the surface is milled down to eliminated major irregularities, and then resurfaced.

Old Earther, n. An old earther is a creationist who believes that God created the earth and all living things according to a divine plan, but over millions of years and not the six-thousand-year schedule given in Genesis. It’s modeled after young earther, a person who interprets Genesis literally and a term which dates to 1988.

pop-under, n. and adj. A pop-under is a window automatically generated by an internet browser, usually containing an ad, which appears below the main browser and is often not noticed until the main window is closed, as opposed to a pop-up which appears on top of the main window. Ironically, since they are unobtrusive, pop-unders are more likely to be noticed by users, who have trained themselves to reflexively dismiss pop-up ads the moment they appear.

speed-dating, n. Speed-dating originated in the Southern California Jewish community and quickly spread. It’s a technique where singles spend an evening meeting multiple potential partners for a few minutes each and then selecting which of them they would like to see socially.

Sudoku, n. This type of logic puzzle was actually invented in the United States in 1979 and given the name Number Place. The genre caught on in Japan, where it was given the names Nanba puresu or Nanpure, after the English name, or Sudoku, su ("number") + doku ("single status"). By 2000 the puzzle had been reintroduced to its country of origin.

va-jay-jay, n. The jocular variation of vagina makes its debut.

These words are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, based on that dictionary’s earliest citation for that word. I’ve also taken words from the Among the New Words column in the journal American Speech; and in many cases these words have been antedated by the OED.  Of course, that does not necessarily mean the word was coined in the given year; it only means that is the earliest date the big dictionary has for the word. In many cases, these words can and have been antedated. My selection is not scientific or systematic; it is based on what I think is interesting; sometimes they are words that appear earlier or later than I would have thought; others have a particular historical affiliation for that year or represent some historical trend; and others are just odd words. I’m avoiding back-formations and variations on existing words. Again, be warned that the coining of a word does not necessarily coincide with the invention of a concept. Often, there will be older words that express the same sense.

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