posted by Matt W on October 22nd, 2014

The other day I invited Joe A. to join me cross-country at a Seahawks football game. Because of some lame excuse (family), he had to decline. So I texted my wife “Joe bailed. Pansy!” and she immediately replied, “Wuss.”

Three things caught my attention.

First my wife called Joe a wuss. I laughed.

Second, it is always amazing to me how fast people return texts. It’s instantaneous. My wife must have been waiting for me with her phone out, telepathically pre-received my message, and typed in “wuss” and send because it took 2 seconds. I was still mentally recovering from sending my original text and the phone was still in my hand. I mean it takes me 20 seconds to pull my phone out of my pocket and another 20 seconds to find my reading glasses before I even start reading a text and that’s only is if I happen to hear the text warning signal sound thingy (which is indeed rare). But now it’s to the point where if I don’t get a reply from someone in 10 seconds, I think they are ignoring me or dead. “Hey, Dan didn’t text me back in 10 seconds. Do you think I should call his wife and alert her of his unfortunate demise?”

My third thought was what’s a wuss? I mean I knew what she meant, but where did the word wuss come from? When you call someone a chicken, it’s pretty easy to understand the origin; so what’s a wuss? I asked my wife as she is my go-to person for all things English related. She didn’t have time for an etymological discussion of the word wuss (job), so I went to Apparently, wuss originated in the 1980’s and was used in the Fast Times at Ridgemont High script. It is a combination of the words wimp and pussy. 1980’s, interesting; I thought I had been calling people wusses my whole life.

It made me start to wonder what words or combinations of words I use that I haven’t used my whole life. What are some new words? So I went to the old Merriam Webster website and typed in new words and was astonished by the vast quantity.

So there were tons related to new technology and social media. As you can imagine from my second thought above I skipped all the tweet, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, m-commerce, webisody type words and moved on. Next.

One that truly amazed me was “walk-off” as in a walk-off homerun. It seemed like I had been using that forever, but apparently not.

“F-bomb” wasn’t used until recently. I guess I just dropped the real F-bomb until a few years ago. Sorry honey.

“Boomerang child” is a phrase I use, but something I hope I don’t get to experience (and it doesn’t mean I don’t love you if you’re reading).

“Fist bump” makes sense as I don’t remember fist bumping years ago but it has really entered our society quickly.

“Parkour” was a new sport I had never heard of. I’m intrigued. Apparently it involves “rapid and efficient running, climbing, or leaping over environmental obstacles.” It was made famous in the James Bond film Casino Royale. As I ran fast, climbed and leaped over all sorts of things that I’m amazed I actually survived as a kid, I will just continue to refer to it as playing.

“Bucket list” apparently wasn’t that big of a deal until after the movie.

Well I could keep going down the list for days but this blog is already a little long-winded so I’ll wind down. Technology has sped up life in ways that continue to amaze me. One area that I hadn’t really considered until now is how our increased interactions have spurred the creation of so many new words. It’s really (F-bomb) ing amazing, if you stop and think about it.

File Under Jack of all Trades