In 2010, Unused Words founder Yoav Shalev was on a flight between Israel and the USA for an online marketing conference.

To pass time, Yoav did what many of us do on flights – catch up on movies. He watched a 2006 movie called Idiocracy.

The synopsis behind Idiocracy reads: “In 2005, average in every way private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) is selected to take part in a secret military experiment to put him in hibernation for a year along with a woman named Rita (Maya Rudolph). The slumbering duo is forgotten when the base they are stored on is closed down and are left in stasis until 2505. When they finally wake up, they discover the average intelligence of humans has decreased so much that Joe is now the smartest man in the world”

One of the most profound scenes from the movie that resonated on Yoav was how the movie was depicting humans inability to express themselves due to a decline in intelligence which resulted in a very limited vocabulary.

Observing real world trends in 2010 – taking note at how human interaction and online communications was becoming shorter with the introduction of MeMe’s, emoticons, the ability to share selfies and documenting your life through images, GIFs and short video clips got Yoav thinking about the future of human communication, or lack there of.

He started looking at different possibilities to solve this problem and engage people in a fun, educational manner.

After several months of examining the industry from many angles he came up with the idea of exposing people to a new ‘unused’ word everyday.

Joined by Victoria Sheinkin, Yoav & Viki started building out the site and it’s content.

The concept was quickly picked up by many bloggers and educators that referenced the site in their writing, classroom, email newsletters and even assigned homework to students – challenging them to find a word and bring it to class.

Within months the site attracted people from all over the world, and allowed dozens of contributors to participate in sharing their favorite words.

Unused Words is now offered to the public is a community website – allowing people to share their love for language, words and clear communication.

We hope you enjoy browsing the site and encourage you to take an active part in writing, commenting and sharing its content.


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