Cable captions

While I was recently reading a new book on American politics I came across the use of the word “chyron” to describe the words (and/or graphics) that appear at the bottom of the television screen, typically during news broadcasts. I’d never heard the word before, and since I’m always interested in new words I thought I’d check it out.

I figured it must be a new word, as it describes a relatively new phenomenon. Before the advent of cable news I doubt we had much use for it. And indeed the first known occurrence was apparently in 1990. The etymology isn’t from some Greek source but is rather a genericization of a trademark (like “band-aid). It derives from the Chyron Corporation, an American company that, in the 1970s, made the character-generating device that created these captions.

Another one for the word bank!

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