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Notable new words coined the year you were born

  • 1970: Agent Orange, comfort food

    Other notable words: Africanized bee, erectile dysfunction, gene therapy, Kwanzaa, physician's assistant, Tourette's syndrome

    From 1969 to 1971, the U.S. government sprayed 20 million gallons of herbicides and defoliants including Agent Orange over vast areas of South Vietnam and neighboring regions during the Vietnam War. On U.S. soil, people looked to comfort food at home in the 1970s, which included chicken potpie, potatoes au gratin, and lasagna.

  • 1971: Animatronics, shield law

    Other notable words: cooking spray, health maintenance organization, open marriage, sexual harassment, needle-nose pliers, reboot

    Walt Disney World in Orlando opened in 1971, and many of their attractions featured lifelike animatronics. News reporters in most states are protected from disclosing confidential information or sources by shield laws. Rhode Island enacted its version in 1971.

  • 1972: Blaxploitation, garage band

    Other notable words: air hockey, beer pong, floppy disk, Kirlian photography, newswire, red zone, username

    Films such asSuper Fly” epitomized the phenomenon blaxploitation movies released this year. Garage bands, popular in the 1960s, were not recognized as a distinct musical genre until the release of a compilation album in 1972.

  • 1973: Closed captioning, performance-enhancing drugs

    Other notable words: duct tape, gas-guzzler, Global Positioning System, hot tub, NSAID, trauma center

    A PBS Washington television station successfully tested a closed-captioning system for the first time in 1973. The U.S. Senate convened hearings this year on improper use of drugs by athletes, including performance-enhancing drugs.

  • 1974: Chroma-key, touch screen

    Other notable words: direct deposit, Heimlich maneuver, individual retirement account, megavitamins, string cheese, transgender

    American and British television networks switched to green backdrops from blue in the early 1970s for chroma-key compositing. Sam Hurst and Elographics are credited with developing the first true touch screen using a transparent surface.

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  • 1975: Debit card, psychobabble

    Other notable words: CAT scan, electronic mail, gigabyte, greenhouse gas, sleep apnea, sports bar, variable rate mortgage

    Credit giant Visa introduced a branded debit card in 1975. Journalist R.D. Rosen coined the word ‘psychobabble’ this year to describe jargon or cliché that damages psychological understanding.

  • 1976: Digital camera, Legionnaires’ disease

    Other notable words: body piercing, crunch time, ethernet, meme, restless legs syndrome, skill set

    Steve Sasson of Eastman Kodak gets credit for developing the first digital camera in 1976. The first known outbreak of Legionella, or Legionnaires’ disease, was discovered in Philadelphia this year.

  • 1977: Food insecure, magnetic resonance imaging

    Other notable words: brewski, chop shop, cringeworthy, kite surfing, memory foam, warp speed

    New rules from the 1977 Food Stamp Act helped determine the cost of a healthy diet for those who were food insecure. The first use of magnetic resonance imaging on a live human patient was performed in July.

  • 1978: Agritourism, gene-splicing

    Other notable words: attention deficit disorder, face-time, half-pipe, open mic, permaculture, satellite dish

    The first agritourism operations in Sardinia in 1977 were founded to empower women in rural areas. A December 1977 article in "The New York Times" discussed the national debate in Congress over gene-splicing technology.

  • 1979: Compact disc, Kemp's ridley

    Other notable words: butterfly effect, done deal, first world problem, identity politics, Lyme disease, napa cabbage,

    Sony and Philips Electronics conceived the compact disc in 1979. The blowout of an oil well this year spilled 126 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, covering primary nesting habitats of Kemp's ridley sea turtles.

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