Mad Men, Season 5

Anachronism Check: "Impactful"
Talking television.
May 15 2012 3:32 PM

Mad Men, Season 5

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Anachronism check: Roger's use of "impactful."

Roger Sterling (John Slattery)
Roger Sterling (John Slattery)

Still by Frank Ockenfels/AMC.

This just in! Ben Zimmer heeded the Mad Men anachronism bat signal I sent up in my post this morning, weighing in with a definitive email about Roger’s use of “impactful.” Zimmer, an authority on these matters, gives the usage a certificate of authenticity, writing:

I caught Roger's use of "impactful,” too. Though the word didn't really take off until the '80s, it was certainly in use in the mid-'60s. I checked the databases for examples from 1966 newspapers and found these:

"Maritime Union Wants Rent-Free Housing," Victor Riesel (syndicated column), Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times, June 9, 1966
"So there is impactful significance in Curran's trade unionese ..."

"Perlmutter 'Captures' City," John Neville, Dallas Morning News, Sep. 22, 1966
"His prints are perhaps more impactful because of the sharpness of their delineation."

" 'Coppelia' With Style at Bushnell," T.H. Parker, Hartford Courant, Oct. 24, 1966
"Mr. Collins is the epitome of the dancer noble, as soloist and partner, easy yet impactful, masterful in technique."

"Unruh Doubts Reagan Can Cut State Costs," AP wire story, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 21, 1966
"I personally feel that they have not done that and that there is a necessity to see if we can't find a more dramatic, a more impactful way of doing it." (Quoting Jesse M. Unruh, speaker of the California State Assembly)

I bet Weiner and co. checked it out first before having Roger say it.

Advertisement

Whew! I am glad to know Roger is as nimble with au courant jargon as he is with jokes about Judaism.

I’ve got to start carrying less cash.

Julia

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.