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10 Interesting Word Searches On Google Books

60 years of "hipsters".

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Google NGram is a cool feature that lets you search the amount of times a certain word or phrase appears in over 5 million books.

It instantly searches these books as far back as the 1500's and graphs their amount of usage over time. Sometimes this yields interesting results; such as words that come and go into language with different meanings.

1. "hipster"

Google

More people were using the word 'hipster' in the 1950's than they are now.

So basically, the word was, like, so much cooler before everyone started using it... like in the 1940's.

3. "Seattle"

Google

Seems like Seattle has a moment in the popular imagination every few decades. But the "grunge" era is when people really started writing about the city... and then lost interest around 2001.

6. "gay"

Google

This is interesting. You can see when the word was used to mean "care-free", and then drop off rapidly when it took on the meaning we use today. Then it came back hard as gay rights became a more widely-acknowledged social movement.

7. "web"

Google

A word that has always been there, but happened to get a new meaning in the early 1990's when it became a name for the Internet... until people started calling that "online" or "my phone" or "life"

8. "bomb"

Google

Bombs have been around for a long time, but have increased in deadliness. During the end of the 1910's there was a rash of "anarchist" bombings. WWII ushered in an era in which bombs could wipe civilization itself. And of course, Hollywood produces it's own bombs.

9. "Hawaii"

Google

You can see Hawaii's entire history in this chart; from undiscovered paradise, to important agricultural colony, strategic military base, and finally sexy setting for fiction. But why are people now writing less about Hawaii with each passing year?

10. "comedy"

Google

Looks like comedy is more important during certain eras than others. Sadly we are in one of those slumps; one that's almost as laughless as the Civil War days.

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