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Eight Words That Changed The Way We Think


The following is an excerpt from Kelly Grovier | March 3, 2017 | BBC.com |

Every word conceals a story, a secret history. Behind the syllables we use every day lurk countless forgotten tales. “If you know the origin of a word”, the 6th Century scholar Isidore of Seville insisted, “everything can be more clearly comprehended”. While most words slip into currency inconspicuously and without leaving traceable trails of their journeys, there is an elite class of verbal inventions whose exact dates of initial utterance have indeed been carefully recorded.

Some of these words are the one-off brainchildren of individuals who have long faded into the fog of history. Others are the concoctions of cultural pioneers who deliberately set out to shape the way future generations think and speak. In every instance what is remarkable is how the unlocking of a word’s biography helps us unlock both the biography of the individual who coined it as well as the age in which he or she lived. What follows are eight intriguing coinages that have altered the way we think about, see, hear, discover, and exist in the world around us....

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