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The 1910s

Posted by ESC on March 16, 2001

In Reply to: 1910 words posted by Betsy on March 16, 2001

: I'm working on a project and was wondering if anyone has information on language of 1910. Anything will be helpful! I am trying to find out what kinds of things young people talked about and how their language differs from ours today. Thank you for your help!!

I can't tell you specifically about the year 1910, but here's information on the decade of the 1910s.

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).

The 1910s

"In the second decade of the 20th century the world was convulsed by four years of terrible war. By the time the armistice was signed in November 1918, all the major English-speaking nations of the world had become embroiled in the conflict, and over 8.5 million lives had been lost in action.not surprisingly a large proportion of the new vocabulary coming into English during the decade arose from it (the GREAT WAR).On the HOME FRONT, meanwhile, the WAR EFFORT was being pursued by other means. MUNITIONEERS and MUNITIONETTES toiled day and night in the factories turning out the weapons and ammunition needed at the front.The CEASEFIRE came on 11 November 1918, a day commemorated thereafter as ARMISTICE DAY." Development of the motor car and the radio had taken a back seat to the war during this decade. "In the world of science, Albert Einstein followed up his special theory of relativity with the general theory of relativity, and the concept of SPACE-TIME made its first appearance.the trickle of Freudian terminology which began in the 1900s increased to a flood.we learned about the OEDIPUS COMPLEX .DENIAL, REPRESSION and the UNCONSCIOUS.On the subject of sex, it was also the decade that saw the first recorded use of HOMOSEXUAL as a noun. BISEXUAL and CROSS-DRESSING made their debut.The development of radio for public entertainment was put on hold for World War I. In its absence you could always do a CROSSWORD PUZZLE. But by far the most popular form of public entertainment was the cinema. The movies were silent, of course.Dance crazes of the time include the BUNNY HUG, the COOCH, the SHIMMY and the TANGO. The FOXTROT made its debut. But in the long run it would be jazz and the blues that made a permanent mark on 20th-century music. Cellophane-wrapped INSTANT foodstuffs bought in the local SELF-SERVICE store (or cash-and-carry, or grocerteria) could be stored in the kitchenette of your double-glazed MAISONETTE - where you might also have a shiny new TOASTER.Fashion from the front line introduced the TRENCH COAT, but at home it was the era of the HOBBLE SKIRT, the SPLIT SKIRT, and the LIBERTY BODICE. The SCARF became a head-covering (so necessary for those breezy motor-car journeys - although not, perhaps, if you had had your hair boyishly BOBBED). In the visual arts, the defining 20th century term ABSTRACT made its bow. The AVANT-GARDE proclaimed the arrival of CUBISM and FAUVISM, POST-IMPRESSIONISM and VORTICISM.

Some other new words and phrases were: ace , an outstanding pilot; aerial mail, aerial post and airmail ; airport ; air-raid ; allergy ; assembly line ; atomic bomb ; babe ; back-packing ; birth control ; buzz off ; cartoon ;come off it ; commune ; cover girl ; movie star and film star ; preadolescent ; pyjama party ; race relations ; radio ; sandwich ; scientifiction which later became science fiction in 1929; self-service ; sex discrimination ; sex drive ; sex object ; sex symbol ; shopping list ; Spanish influenza, Spanish flu , a disease that killed 20 million people worldwide, more than twice those killed in the Great War; surf ; thousand island dressing ; top, over the top ; typewriter ; war bride ; woman's magazine; X chromosome, Y chromosome.