Check out the list of words that were started in Chicago.

It seems like lately, I've been finding out more about our state. First, I found out Twinkies were invented here. Then, I discovered brownies were too. Now, I have learned several words were started in Illinois. Here are a few that I thought were interesting.

According to chicaomag.com,

  • Freak - "Specifically, in the sense of a person who is con­temptible because of unusual behavior or appearance. First used in print by the Chicago newspaperman Finley Peter Dunne in his column “Mr. Dooley’s Chicago” in 1895." 
  • Skyscraper -  “The ‘sky-scrapers’ of Chicago outrival anything of their kind in the world,” said the Chicago Inter-Ocean newspaper in 1888—the first print usage of “skyscraper” to refer to buildings at a time when tall Chicago edifices included the 130-foot Montauk."
  • Yuppie - "A somewhat derogatory term formed from the initial letters in “young urban professional.” First print usage was in the pages of this magazine, in Dan Rottenberg’s May 1980 feature on changing urban demographics."
  • Southpaw - "A left-handed person, especially a pitcher in baseball. Popularized by Finley Peter Dunne. Chicago sportswriters at the turn of the 20th century also provided the first recorded uses of “hit-and-run,” “pinch-hitting,” “home plate,” and “slugger."
  • Ferris wheel - "Named for George W. G. Ferris, who created the first example for the Columbian Exposition."

There are many more. Take a look at the whole list, HERE.

I think it's time for an Illinois Word Exhibit, maybe, at Navy Pier, along with the Illinois Word Festival.

I'm surprised the Illinois government hasn't found a way to tax other states for using our words.


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