In George Orwell’s seminal work 1984, there’s a really great scene early in the book between Winston (the main character) and Syme, a low-level functionary at the Ministry of Truth.
Syme is working on the 11th Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary, and he explains to Winston how the Ministry of Truth is actually removing words from the English vocabulary.
If you haven’t seen it yet, Google has digitized over a million books that were printed as far back as 1500, and they’ve made the contents searchable within their own database.
The Ngram Viewer allows you to search for particular keywords. And you can see over time how prevalent the search terms were for particular years.
Out of curiosity, I searched for the term “gold” in English language books starting in 1776.