Sixty years of ‘nitwittedness’

If 1952 marked the first year of the Queen’s reign it can also be said to be the year of the moonwalk, the P45 and Generation X.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 300 words which first entered common usage in 1952: these, and nitwittedness, being among them.

Some of the words in the list (xerox, computerized, carbon dating, autocue) give us a sense of advances in technology at the time while others (do-it-yourself, beat generation, freeload, role-play) reveal how language adapts to mirror changes in society.

Some of the odder words on the list (boing) have stood the test of time while others, such as bafflegab (an American version of gobbledygook) have (sadly, in our opinion) faded from common usage.

To see the full list log on to the Oxford English Dictionary Online using your library card number (why not have a look to see which words entered the language the year you were born?) and for more logophile fun we recommend a visit to the consistently wonderful OxfordWords blog.

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