Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker


People claim to have coined words all the time that they clearly didn’t. Take this example. Peter Engel, the producer of the television show Saved by the Bell, says:

“You have to remember, our target audience was the 12- to 17-year-old age group…We invented the word ‘tween’…Parents trusted us with their children and we didn’t want to betray that trust.”

Maybe he meant “created the tween television market niche,” but no, he and his people did not invent the word. Tween, “a preteen or a young teenager,” dates provably to 1946 and perhaps as early as 1941. Tweenie, with the same meaning, dates to 1919 and Tweenager dates to 1949.

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Grant Barrett