Word Frequency History in Wolfram|Alpha

Now when you ask Wolfram|Alpha about the “word frequency history” of any word in English, you’ll see a plot of how that term’s usage has changed over time.

The word frequency history of a word can document when a common word, such as “web”, becomes more popular after gaining a new meaning.image

It can also show how quickly a word can pass into common usage after the emergence of a new technology, such as “transistors”.

image

These plots may also show interesting correlations with historical events. For example, malaria became a large problem for servicemen in the Pacific during World War II.image

(Raw data comes from the Google Books “English One Million” corpus.)