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2 Comments

  • My mom called herself a domestic engineer while I was a kid in the 1950s. Might not have appeared in print that long ago, but it was around. And my friends and I were using “gazillionaire” probably by high school in the 1960s. So those 2 may be older than you think.

  • Thanks for your interesting comment. You have prompted me to look up ‘domestic engineer’ in Google ngram, which is what I should have done in the first place.
    The term appeared first in the mid 19th century, though of course there’s no way of telling if this was for the meaning of ‘homemaker’ or a more literal use. Also ngram tracks usage in books so it doesn’t give us any information about spoken usage. It was infrequently used in writing in the 60s when your mother was using it, then there were modest spikes in use in the 1980s and 90s.
    As you say, these words that suddenly come to our attention are often older than we think.