Words originate everywhere. And Scientific American is the place to find the earliest evidence of a surprising number of them. The venerable Oxford English Dictionary investigates where each of its multitudinous terms first appears. Scientific American has popped up as one of the dictionary's most quoted sources for new words, new meanings of existing words and exemplary uses of novel words (large graphic). Since the magazine debuted in 1845, it has provided the first record of 1,056 terms (smaller graphic). We tip our hat to The Times (London) and William Shakespeare as the top sources. Certainly the advancement of science and technology, as reported in our pages, spawns original language. So does sharing emerging ideas. Our next new word? Stay tuned.
This article was originally published with the title "First Words" in Scientific American 320, 4, 80 (April 2019)