Google Labs recently came out with a tool that lets you scour digitized books from way back when to 2008, using whatever words in whatever timeframe you want. After thinking of all the bad words that I could put in there (because that's ALWAYS the first thing we think of putting in these things - even though some of us won't admit it!), I added the names of my family. You'll see that Tom shows up most frequently, and I'm barely a blip on the screen:
And if you go through you'll see some cool things like:
In the mid-1700's the REALLY liked dogs more, but only for a very short time.
Espresso still beats latte, but latte is gaining on espresso (in the books at least - I'm not a fan of strong coffee at all).
Between all of the colors in ROY G BIV, Red wins.
Texas is written about more than Oklahoma or Louisiana. Yes, I went there.
People call it the television when they write about it - not the TV really.
Regardless of what you look up, the Google Labs Books Ngram Viewer is a really cool thing to play with! (And yes, for the record, the "S" word tops the list of the ones I typed in, and we swear a lot more in books in 2008 than we did even in 2004 or 1996. And we swear a whole hack of a lot more than in the early 1900's. But we talk about our donkey's less...