America's First Words

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 05:41 PM

Was Noah Webster an unheralded founding father? That's what the author of a new book about the man who gave his name to the first ever American dictionary. In fact, Webster added words that had not been in any British dictionary that came before his. We're testing your knowledge of these Webster words (the old ones and the new ones) with a quiz. See how well you do.

We're also asking you, what do you think is the most quintessential American word? Here's what people told us by text message and Facebook:

By text message (text TAKE to 69866):

—Ponca City, Okla.

—Pontiac, Mich.Fort Lauderdale, Fla

That's like asking me which one of my kid's I love the most?
—Pontiac, Mich.

Jazz! That is THE American invention. Not democracy or freedom, those concepts existed before us.
—Las Cruces, NM

—Oklahoma City, Okla.

—Cranford, NJ

—Salt Lake City, UT

My nomination for american word: jailbait. A direct mess and sense of humor to it.
—Caldwell, NJ

The HOLY BIBLE! Without a doubt!
—Dallas Gunnels, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Via Facebook:

—Robert James Finn

—Valerie Kahler

—Jonathan Leff

—David Blackburn

—Jim McLuckie

Before LBJ, Independence — after LBJ, indentured servant (sorry two words)
—Endentured Cervant

—Lorrence Scott Mahaffy

—Kimberly Bunting


More in:

Comments [2]

todd rondone from miami beach

i would say "cool", but "okay" is probably the most recognized word.

Apr. 13 2011 05:57 PM
jerriemc23 from Oklahoma City

The quintencential American word has GOT to be Dude

Apr. 13 2011 11:49 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.