New words, old words and words that reveal your age


At dinner last night I told my adult son and seventeen-year-old daughter a naughty joke. They laughed but told me my joke was dated because the punchline was..’ you can’t hear the radio’. They said that they never listen to the radio. My daughter listens to podcasts and my son gets most of his information from Youtube. When they want to listen to music while driving they plug their ipad or ipod into the car and listen to music they have downloaded.

It made me think about how how our language dates us. Cam and I, for example, talk about the video store even though video stores no longer have video tapes. In fact soon video stores will not even exist as more and more are closing or slowly going out of business thanks to Netflix and other providers.

Words like technology are soon out of date

Words like technology are soon out of date

Even as technology changes our language does not always keep up with it. An example is saying to someone inside a modern car, “Would you please roll down the window?”

Anyone who still uses the following words or phrases, for example, gives away the fact that they were around in the seventies.

  • don’t be such a ‘spaz’
  • dream on
  • in your face!
  • that’s sick!
  • chill
  • fab
  • Airhead
  • Are you decent?
  • awesome
  • backatcha!

Along with all the slang from our past and words for things that are now outdated like tape deck, floppy disc, cassette tape, walkman, VCR, VHS, Polaroid camera, rotary phone, record player, slide projector, carbon copy paper (remember that?) and typewriter, we also have a constant stream of new words to learn.

One word that didn’t exist when I was a teenager was the word Blog. I thought it would be interesting to find out where the word came from and to see if its original meaning is still accurate as Blogs have evolved over the years.

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So where did the word Blog come from? It turns out it originated somewhere between 1995-2000 and came from the word weblog.

Weblog is an abbreviation of World Wide Web and the word log.

The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used “blog” as both a noun and verb (“to blog,” meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”) and devised the term “blogger” in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms.[14]


I was particularly interested in the definition of the word Blog because I have noticed criticism of Whaleoil online by those who have a fixed idea in their heads about what a Blog is and what a Blog should be. Lists of rules and blogging etiquette have been compiled by them on what is acceptable and not acceptable on a blog.

Blogs are clearly a changing medium and their flexibility is very much due to the fact that there are unwritten rules but no rigid regulations. The criticisms actually remind me of a wonderful quote from the author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, Robert Kiyosaki. His series of books on how to be successful financially were selling like hotcakes and another author criticised Kiyosaki as being a below average writer and picked apart how the books were written, arguing that they should not be successful as they didn’t follow the rules for good writing. Kiyosaki replied that he wasn’t a ‘Best Writing Author, he was a Best Selling Author.’

I always think of Kiyosaki when I see criticisms of Whaleoil from other bloggers. I  enjoy writing for New Zealand’s Best Blog and to use an old phrase from the past, the critics can all ‘eat our dust.

Eat our dust

Eat our dust



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