Despite the fact that Kodak film has been used to shoot some of this year’s most critically acclaimed movies, most of the country’s current 41.44 million photographers won’t use products made by the Rochester giant to create their images. Nevertheless, the idea of capturing a “Kodak moment” is still held dear by people across the globe — and now, it’s officially in the Oxford dictionary.
According to Kodak, the company first started using the phrase in the early 1960s. Its appearance is fondly remembered as part of an ad that featured a mother and child. The tagline read, “This Kodak Moment can’t wait for Dad to get home.” The phrase was used throughout the ’80s and ’90s, but when the popularity of digital cameras started to soar, it seemed like the idiom might die out.
But then, a writer for the New York Times noted that the social media sharing craze represented the “Kodak moment” of the modern age. And while Kodak has struggled to regain its former glory, its inclusion in the newest batch of accepted terms cements its impact on society.
Katherine Connor Martin, the head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford University Press, commented, “What prompted us to add it to the dictionary now, 30 years later, was the observation that the tagline has persisted as part of the English lexicon at a time when people take more photographs than ever, but cameras and film have been displaced by smartphones and social media.”
Interestingly, Oxford decided to comment further on one of the company’s main downfalls — the inability to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape — in the phrase’s description in the dictionary, noting that “the phone is a great way to avoid missing a Kodak moment.”
“Kodak moment” is just one of 300-some new words to be included in this year’s edition of the Oxford dictionary. Some of the others include “Friendsgiving,” “sausage fest,” “drunk text,” “cat lady,” “haterade,” “fitspo,” “yas,” and more. The Rochester-borne phrase may very well be the longest and most historic.
Still, Kodak is trying not to be stuck in the past. Academy Award-winning films like La La Land and Fences were shot on Kodak film this year, and the company is in the process of relaunching Ektachrome film. There’s some speculation that Kodachrome may make a comeback, too.
Whether Kodak will turn things around remains to be seen, but no matter what, Rochesterians can be proud of the company’s obvious and long-standing legacy.