• youthquake •
yuth-kwayk • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A major social change arising from the choices and activities of young people.
Notes: Although introduced in Britain in reference to the hippy culture of the 60s, today's Good Word might equally apply to the millennial culture today in the US. While the word is too young to have produced any lexical derivational family, it is not too young to have been chosen Oxford Dictionaries' "Word of the Year 2017".
In Play: Since this word was created amid the youthquake of the 1960s, let's start with an example referring to that movement: "The youthquake of the 60s is still detectable in the attitudes toward couture today." However, it easily extends to the political awakening of the millennials today: "The 'blue wave' about to strike the American political scene was set off by the '#metoo' women's movement and youthquake of millennials."
Word History: Today's Good Word is a combination of youth + quake, made by analogy with earthquake. The first recorded use is from the January 1965 edition of Vogue magazine, describing the upsurge of hippy culture in London that occurred in the 1960s. In Old English youth was geoguth "youth; young people", the noun accompanying geong "young". The latter word comes from the same source, a suffixed form of PIE yeu- "vital force, youthful vigor", which also produced Russian junyj "young, youthful", Dutch jeugd, German Jugend "youth" and jung "young". This root also went into the making of Latin juvenis "young" and iunior "younger". John Smith, Junior translates to English as "John Smith, the younger". No one seems to know how quake made it into the English language.
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