Junk food

Posted by ESC on September 03, 2001

In Reply to: Junk food posted by Sam on September 03, 2001

: Anyone know when the expression "junk food" first came into use? Who originally used it and with what intent?

"junk food n. food that appeals to popular (especially juvenile) tastes but has little nutritional value. Originally US. 1973 Washington Post: How many children are going to fill up on junk foods and be too full to eat a nutritious lunch now?" From "20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years" by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).

I don't know if the Washington Post originated the phrase. According to the book's introduction, the dates assigned to the words aren't absolute in some cases. Just a guess. And the quote isn't necessarily the first appearance of the phrase. It's an example of its early use.