MIT Technology Review: The Evolution Of English Words And Phrases Since 1520
The digitisation of the world’s books reveals how the popularity of English words and phrases has evolved since the 16th century. And the Top 100 lists for each year are now free to browse online.
The digitisation of the world’s books reveals how the popularity of English words and phrases has evolved since the 16th century. And the database is now freely browsable online.
Last year, the Google Books team released some 4 per cent of all the books ever written as a corpus of digitised text, an event that has triggered something of a revolution in the study of trends in human thought. The corpus consists of 5 million books and over 500 billion words (361 billion in English) dating from the 1500s to the present day.
In a single stroke, this data gives researchers a way to examine a whole range of hitherto inaccessible phenomena. Since then a steady stream of new results has emerged on everything from the evolution of grammar and the adoption of technology to the pursuit of fame and the role of censorship. ...
If you go to Matjaž Perc's Evolution of the most common English words and phrases over the centuries, and scroll to the bottom, you can see the top 100 words or phrases by eras. If you go to Google Book Ngram Viewer, then you do some of your own customized searching.
Doc Holiday uses an expression "I'm your Huckleberry," in the movie Tombstone. Basically he was saying, "I'm game." I had never heard that expression befor the movie. I entered that term at the first mention in the books appears to be in 1880. The events depicted in the movie were in 1881. Interesting!
I expect I may end up wasting too much time at this site. ;-)