America's First Words

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Was Noah Webster an unheralded founding father? That's what the author of a new book about the man who gave his name to the first ever American dictionary. In fact, Webster added words that had not been in any British dictionary that came before his. We're testing your knowledge of these Webster words (the old ones and the new ones) with a quiz. See how well you do.

We're also asking you, what do you think is the most quintessential American word? Here's what people told us by text message and Facebook:

By text message (text TAKE to 69866):

Freedom.
—Ponca City, Okla.

Debt.
—Pontiac, Mich.Fort Lauderdale, Fla

That's like asking me which one of my kid's I love the most?
—Pontiac, Mich.

Jazz! That is THE American invention. Not democracy or freedom, those concepts existed before us.
—Las Cruces, NM

Freedom.
—Oklahoma City, Okla.

Zephyr!
—Cranford, NJ

OK.
—Salt Lake City, UT

My nomination for american word: jailbait. A direct mess and sense of humor to it.
—Caldwell, NJ

The HOLY BIBLE! Without a doubt!
—Dallas Gunnels, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Via Facebook:

Baseball.
—Robert James Finn

Grease.
—Valerie Kahler

America.
—Jonathan Leff

Debt.
—David Blackburn

Applepie.
—Jim McLuckie

Before LBJ, Independence — after LBJ, indentured servant (sorry two words)
—Endentured Cervant

I
—Lorrence Scott Mahaffy

Opportunity
—Kimberly Bunting