1940: Hipster, paratroops
1941: Classical conditioning, existentialism
Other notable words: biological clock, homogenate, identity crisis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, take-out, top gun
Welcomed to the American dictionary in 1941, classical conditioning refers to the studies of Ivan Pavlov's drooling dogs. Existentialism became identified with a cultural movement in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s based on work by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others.
1942: Atomic reactor, C Ration
1943: DDT, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Other notable words: Bay scallop, contrail, escape artist, irritable bowel syndrome, seed money, white noise
DDT was first made in the U.S. in 1943 and was used widely to combat malaria, typhus and other insect-borne diseases. Its use was halted in 1972. The first Joint Chiefs of Staff—a concept adapted by the U.S. in 1942 and defined a year later—worked throughout World War II without legislative sanction.
1944: Banzai attack, rotator cuff
Other notable words: Antigravity, dishpan hands, hiatal hernia, sacrifice fly, thrift shop, trickle-down
The Japanese military performed its largest banzai attack of World War II against American troops in the Battle of Saipan in 1944. Rotator cuff was accepted into the dictionary this year—injuries to ithave often been the bane of baseball players.
1945: A-bomb, cold war
Other notable words: bumper car, consumer price index, espresso, moisturize, Pentagon, sheeple
On August 6 of this year, an American bomber dropped the world's first A-bomb over Hiroshima. The alliance between the U.S. and then-Soviet Union became a divide between communism and capitalism after World War II, leading to the cold war beginning in 1945.
1946: Digital computer, freeze-dried
Other notable words: bakeware, crawl space, f-stop, onion ring, printed circuit, snowpack
The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer is introduced this year as the first programmable electronic digital computer. It occupied more than 1,000 square feet and weighed 30 tons. Added to the dictionary in 1946, freeze-dried food includes coffee, meat, and vegetables, among others.
1947: Apartheid, cookout
Other notable words: bikini, citizens band, jimmies, decongestant, jet stream, prime time
Symptoms of what would become a 43-year period of apartheid in South Africa led to this word addition to the dictionary this year, just before the rise of the Afrikaner Nationalist Party. Coined in 1947,cookouts became a popular backyard event following World War II.
1948: Air piracy, hydraulic fracturing
Other notable words: chili dog, deep freeze, Milky Way galaxy, privatize, stocking stuffer, xenophile
In 1948, a Cathay Pacific plane became the first commercial airliner hijacked in an act of air piracy. Research on the possible commercial use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which began in 1947, continued through this year and led to the processes used now.
1949: Chlorofluorocarbon, methamphetamine
Other notable words: coronary heart disease, L-tryptophan, neomycin, pallbearer, postnasal drip, risk factor
Highly regulated because of their destructive effects on the ozone layer, chlorofluorocarbons joined the dictionary in 1949, following Julian Kahn's patents on aerosols. Sales of methamphetamines climbed to $7.3 million in 1949 in the U.S., helping to further spur the American epidemic surrounding the drug.
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