Star Words

Kory Stamper notes how sci-fi influences our vocabulary:

Many words have their origins in science fiction and fantasy writing, but have been so far removed from their original contexts that we’ve forgotten. George Orwell gave us “doublespeak“; Carl Sagan is responsible for the term “nuclear winter“; and Isaac Asimov coined “microcomputer” and “robotics“. And, yes, “blaster”, as in “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

The genres also reintroduce or recontextualize already existing words:

Savvy writers of each genre also liked to resurrect and breathe new life into old words. JRR Tolkien not only gave us “hobbit”, he also popularized the plural “dwarves”, which has appeared in English with increasing frequency since the publication of The Hobbit in 1968. “Eldritch”, which dates to the 1500s, is linked in the modern mind almost exclusively to the stories of HP Lovecraft. The verb “terraform” that was most recently popularized by Joss Whedon’s show Firefly dates back to the 1940s, though it was uncommon until Firefly aired. Prior to 1977, storm troopers were Nazis.