Okay, stick with me here. This one’s a little random, but I got to thinking recently: Which came first? Ambien (the drug) or Ambient (the music)?
According to Wikipedia—yeah, yeah, I know it’s not a trusted source but this isn’t exactly scholarly research here—Ambient music has been around since the 1970s, while Ambien popped up in the early 1990s.
Now for the best news of the day. One of Google’s little search widgets is an etymology one. If you enter “<word> etymology” in google, it’ll pop up some interesting info about the word, including its definition, pronunciation, origins and use over time. So, check this out:
Congratulations, now we both know the origins of ambient as a word. (Don’t worry, chances are you’re still only half the “word nerd” that I am.)
Now, as for use over time:
Well, would you look there? Started seeing a big spike around… the 1970s. Gosh, I wonder why. 🙂
P.S. Here’s a nice Ambient playlist to go with your Ambien: