WilliamLehnsherr wrote:Was tsunami really an obscure word prior to the one in 2004?
Not to me. I've not lived close enough to an ocean to worry about them, but it seems like it's always been a common enough term. I don't think I've really heard them called tidal waves since about third grade.
As for the Suddenly Popular list, I suppose it's cheating to include PHB or tech buzzwords like "synergy" and "virtualization." How about these, though:1986: O-ring.
Maybe I'm not giving people enough credit, but it doesn't seem like most people would have ever
used that word before that gasket on the Challenger failed. (Also, redundant jargon is redundant. I mean, what other shapes of rings are there?)1990?: Carpal tunnel.
Repetitive stress injuries are hardly new, but when people started getting them on computers, instead of, say, on assembly lines in widget factories, suddenly it seemed everyone was talking about them.2006?: App.
While a common term for a software package in my field, widespread use of the term by the rest of the world seems to be pretty recent. Could be worse, I guess. It could have been a term like "applet" or, gods forbid, "snap-in." Still, it would have been neat if the generic term for software on a phone had become "TSR."2008: Toxic assets.
Oh man. I got so
tired of news radio people using the term like a shibboleth, as though they had no clear idea what it meant. Also "underwater" loan or mortgage, but that term probably was in some
use prior to that year.
Honorable mentions, and I'm not sure exactly when they exploded ex nihilo
into the common vocabulary: bipolar