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Olympic Lingo: Obscure Words Related to the London 2012 Summer Games

Austin, Texas. July 30, 2012 . In the spirit of public service, the editors of the Global Language Monitor, have selected a number of the more obscure words and phrases related to the London 2012 Summer Olympics and presented below with definitions and/or related factoids. “The history of the Olympic Games spans over 2800 years, with the Games themselves persisting for over 1,000 years in the Ancient World,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The Games have garnered a rich tapestry of linguistic innovation concerning the nature of the Games, the individual sports, and the rituals surrounding the quadrennial festival.” Below are some of the more obscure words and phrases with definitions and/or related factoids.

  1. Citius, Altius, Fortius (Olympic History) — The Olympic Motto is actually Latin (and not Greek) for Faster, Higher, Stronger)
  2. Dead Rubber (Tennis) — A match in a series where the outcome has already been decided by previous matches
  3. Eggbeater (Water Polo) — Kicking one’s feet quickly in a back-and-forth motion keep the body above water
  4. Fletching (Archery) — Traditionally, feathers from the left wing of a turkey, goose, or raptor used to stabilize an arrow; now replaced with synthetics
  5. Flu-Flu Arrow (Archery) — An arrow with extra ‘fletching’ to slow its flight
  6. High Drag Projectile (Badminton) — The birdie or shuttlecock
  7. Impulsion (Equestrian) — The thrust, impelling, or pushing power of a horse
  8. Kotinos (Olympic History) — Olive branches fixed in crowns of victory in the classical Greek Olympics
  9. Marathon (Olympic History — The word Marathon is derived from the Greek for fennel, the spice which apparently grew in abundance on the plains
  10. Nutmeg or Nuttie (Football) — Kicking the football between the legs of an opponent
  11. Pankration — A sport contested beginning in the 7th century BCE, that combined wrestling and boxing (similar to today’s Mixed Martial Arts)
  12. Pheidippidean Pheat (Olympic History) — Forget the Phelpsian Pheat of the Beijing Games, according to legend Pheidippides ran from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens pronounced, Victory! and then promptly died. (The actual distance was about 24 miles or 38.6 km.
  13. Repechage — First round losers are provided another opportunity to advance in a competition
  14. The Snatch Deadlift (Weightlifting)– Lifting the barbell in a single movement, as opposed to the Clean and Jerk
  15. Victor Ludorum (Olympic History) — The Champion of the Games, in Latin of course.

GLM has been tracking language at the Olympics since the Athens Games in 2004.


Adorkable Top Television Word of the Year (Teleword)

… from New Girl, Big Bang & Modern Family

followed by Shell Shock, Bi-Polar, Dothraki and La Toti


Ninth Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor


Austin, Texas, USA. September 25-26, 2012. The Global Language Monitor (GLM) today announced that ‘adorkable’ from New Girl and Big Bang, and Modern Family the Top Teleword of the Year followed by ‘Bi-polar,’ ‘Dothraki’, and ‘La Toti’.  Rounding out the top ten were ‘scripted,’ ‘Kate,’ ‘fourth screen,’ ‘nerdy,’ and ‘Jubilee’. The awards are announced in conjunction with the Primetime Emmy awards at the beginning of the Fall television season in the US.  This is the ninth annual analysis by Austin-based GLM.

“This is the first time a single phrase from three outstanding comedies shared the top spot,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.  “This year’s list also reflects a world trying to find a new equilibrium for itself from lessons culled from its past, its present, with a touch of fantasy as it moves into the future.”


Read it now in TIME!









The Top Telewords of the 2011-2012 season with commentary follow:

1.     Adorkable (Big Bang Theory, New Girl and Modern Family) – The word has been around for nearly ten years now and has applied mostly to men (as in Jim Parsons), but somehow Zooey Deschanel, and  Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez II (Manny) and Ariel Winter (Alex) have all added a vibrant dimension to the term. [A portmanteau word from dork and adorable.]

2.     Shell Shock (Downton Abbey) – The trauma of shell shock both in the trenches of World War 1 and the vanishing way of life of the English Upper Class lies at the center of this early 20th c. drama. Societies, too, can experience shell shock. [Also called battle fatigue, now known as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)].

3.     Bi-polar (Homeland) – Looking at an insane world through bi-polar eyes, Claire Danes presents an intense, intriguing portrayal of the post-Modern battlefield found in Homeland, where the enemies are neither obvious nor detectable on both side of the battle.  [Historically known as manic-depressive disorder, where people experience disruptive mood swings.

4.     Dothraki (Game of Thrones) – The twenty-three consonants and four vowels of the Dothraki language are not much easier to understand that the series multiple plotlines. [Dothraki is a made-up or ‘constructed’ language.  There are hundreds of these ‘constructed’ languages from ‘Vulcan’ to J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Elvish’ to the 120-words of  ‘Toki Pona’.

5.     La Toti (Modern Family) – Family nickname of Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara, the highest earning actress in American television for the past year ($19.1 million).  [‘La Toti’ loosely translated as ‘the be all and end all’.]

6.     Scripted – Scripted shows now mean ‘not reality’.  Like the term guitar now needs the retronym ‘acoustic guitar’ to differentiate itself from its electronic brethren, reality TV has now become the dominate genre.

7.     Kate – Who are the 100,000 people surrounding the Duchess of Cambridge?  Those would be the Olympians and fans of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Oh.

8.     Fourth Screen – Whatever happen to the three-screen world of tomorrow.  That would be yesterday.  Past prognosticators  evidently forgot to consult Steve Jobs about the ‘tablets’ in their future. [The three screens were those of the television, computer and smart phone.  Apple’s iPad proved to be a game-changer introducing a new class of devices called ‘tablets’.

9.     Jubilee – From Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary on the throne of England.  The traditional Jubilee period is fifty years, but no matter ….

10.  Dramedy (Louie) — Is it comedy?  Is it drama?  Dunno, but it’s definitely C.K. [Shorthand for his Hungarian surname — Székely.]  .

This exclusive ranking is based upon GLM’s Narrative Tracking technology.  NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge.

The words, phrases and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Telewords of previous years:

2011 – SpillCam from the Gulf Oil Spill, followed by Guido (Jersey Shore) and Reality (TV)

2010 – ‘Royal Wedding’ of Kate Middleton and Prince William, followed by Charlie Sheen’s ‘winner,’ and Arab Spring.

2009 – ObamaVision — All Obama, all the time, everywhere, followed by Financial Meltdown and the death of Michael Jackson.

2008 – Beijing (from the Olympics), ObamaSpeak, followed by ‘facts are stubborn things’, ‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian.

2007 – “Surge” from the Iraq War political and military strategy, “That’s Hot®” Paris Hilton’s popular expression that is now a registered trademark, and “D’oh!” from The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie.

2006 – ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ from the Colbert Show followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’.

2005 – ‘Refugee’ from the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, followed by ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.

2004 – “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.

click tracking


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BBC America: ‘Millionth English word’ declared

A US web monitoring firm has declared the millionth English word to be Web 2.0, a term for the latest generation of web products and services.

Matt Frei reports on English’s unique linguistic evolution and then spoke to Global Language Monitor’s Paul Payack who helped find this millionth English word.



BBC NEWS | Programmes | World News America | ‘Millionth English word’ declared


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London Edges New York for Top 2012 Global Fashion Capital


Ninth Annual Ranking Now Includes Fifty-five Cities

September 6, 2012,  New York and Austin, Texas.   London has been crowned the Top Global Fashion Capital, edging out New York for the second year in a row, according to the Global Language Monitor’s annual ranking of the Top Fifty Fashion Capitals.  London and New York were followed by Barcelona, Paris and Madrid.  Rounding out the Top Ten were Rome, Sao Paulo, Milano, Los Angeles, and Berlin.

“London’s two-year run has been has been propelled by two rather extraordinary circumstances:  the emergence of the former Kate Middleton as a top fashion icon and the recent completion of what have been hailed as an extremely successful Summer Olympics,” said Bekka Payack, Manhattan-based Fashion Director of GLM.  “In recognition of the significance and growth of regional capitals with their distinctive styles and contributions to the fashion industry, GLM expanded the list to some fifty-five cities on five continents.”

Top movers on the plus side included Antwerp (+33), Caracas (+27), Johannesburg (+23), and Sao Paulo (+18).  Top movers on the down side include Mexico City        (-25), Toronto (-19), Moscow (-17), Chicago (-14), and Mumbai (-14), attesting to the heightened global competition.  Newcomers to this year’s analysis were Vancouver (31),  Seoul (34), Boston (44),  Houston (49), and St Petersburg, Russia (51).

Prior to London’s two year reign, New York had reclaimed the crown from Milan.  Previous to this, New York had been the top fashion capital for five years running, taking the crown from Paris.
The 2012 Top Global Fashion Capitals, with Rank, Previous Year’s Rank, and commentary:
1.   London (1) — Competitors stymied by Kate Middleton and now the hugely successful Summer Olympics.
2.   New York (2)– That toddling town is waiting in the wings for London to stumble.
3.   Barcelona (7) — Iberia rules with two fashion capitals in the Top Five.
4.   Paris (3)–  Topped ‘haute couture’ category, of course.
5.   Madrid (12)– Making a strong move toward the top.
6.   Rome (13)– Edging Milano this time out.
7.   Sao Paulo (25) — The Queen of Latin America, again.
8.   Milano (4) — Slipping a few spots, but never for long.
9.   Los Angeles (5) — The City of Angels strengthening its hold as a true fashion capital.
10.   Berlin (10) — Remains among the elite — and deservedly so.
11.   Antwerp (44) — A surprising large climb in a very short time (up 33 spots).
12.   Hong Kong (6) — Tops in Asia, though down six year over year.
13.   Buenos Aires (20) — Moving steadily upward.
14.   Bali (21) — Steady climb attests to it being more than just swimwear.
15.   Sydney (11) — Remains near the top, a few steps ahead of Melbourne, as is its wont.
16.   Florence (31) — A big move for Firenza (up 15).
17.   Rio de Janeiro (23) — Building toward the 2016 Summer Games.
18.   Johannesburg (41) — Jo-burg breaks into the Top Twenty.
19.   Singapore (8) — Trailing  Hong Kong but leading Tokyo and Shanghai.
20.   Tokyo  (9) — No longer the No, 5 to the Top Four, competition is aglow in Asia.
21.   Melbourne (17) — Still strong, still a few steps behind Sydney.
22.   Shanghai (14) — A thriving fashion center in a tough competitive arena.
23.   Caracas (50) — Tremendous upward movement for a seminal fashion center.
24.   Las Vegas (16) — Follow the money, and the money and the stars flow to Vegas.
25.   Monaco (15) — The principality is firmly ensconced in the European fashion firmament.
26.   Santiago (30) — A solid No. 5 in Latin America.
27.  Amsterdam (19) — Creative, original and a bit outre.
28.   Dubai (27) — A steady force in the mid-East ready to bloom further.
29.   Bangkok (32) — Struggling to gain ground in the region.
30.   Copenhagen (29) — Keeping pace with (and a bit ahead of) Stockholm.
31.   Vancouver (Debut) — Solid debut from this newcomer from the Pacific Northwest.
32.   Stockholm (28) — The Capital of Scandinavia’s influence is beginning to transcend its regional roots.
33.   Krakow (47) — A scrappy player wielding a surprising amount of influence.
34.   Seoul (Debut) — Korean fashion has now gained a foothold on the world scene.
35.   Moscow (18) — A bold and growing presence despite a stumble in the current analysis.
36.   Frankfurt (43) — Carving out its own space in Berlin’s towering shadow.
37.  Vienna (35) — Insight into 21st c. fashion emerging from ancient imperial venues.
38.  Mumbai (24) — Still leading New Delhi (now by 10 spots) to dominate the Subcontinent.
39.   Miami (26) — The fashion world beginning to understand Miami is more than swimwear.
40.  Abu Dhabi (42) — A steady climb backed by deep pockets.
41.   San Francisco (38) — A rising yet iconoclastic star.
42.   Austin (40) — Famous for its ‘Mash Up’ teams, the city propels its unique style forward.
43.   Warsaw (33) — Particularly influential in Central Europe.
44.   Boston (Debut) — Can New England deliver fashion to the world? Apparently so.
45.   Prague (48) —  A firm foundation in interpreting the traditional and the classic.
46.   Dallas (37) — Outdistances Houston to settle the local score.
47.   Mexico City (22) — Slips some twenty-five spots since the last report.
48.   New Delhi (39) — Striving for relevance on the global stage.
49.   Houston (Debut) — Big, bold and a city to watch.
50.   Chicago (36) — City of the Big Shoulders stretching out toward word-class fashion.
51.   St. Petersburg (Debut) — The former imperial capital making strides on the global fashion scene.
52.  Montreal (49) — Eclipsed by the debut of Vancouver but still a formidable force.
53.  Toronto (34) —  Nipped by its francophone neighbor to the North.
54.  Cape Town (46) — Though Jo-burg won the latest duel, Cape Town surely has plans.
55.  Atlanta (45) — Gaining an international reputation for its bold accents.

This exclusive ranking is based upon GLM’s Narrative Tracking technology.  NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge.

The words, phrases and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.


Top Fashion Capitals by Region:

Europe (14):  London,  Barcelona, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Milano, Berlin, Antwerp, Florence, Monaco, Amsterdam,  Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Frankfurt.

Middle and Eastern Europe (6):  Krakow, Moscow, Vienna, Warsaw, Prague, and St Petersburg.

North America (13):  New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Vancouver, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, and Atlanta.

Asia (6):  Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Seoul.

Subcontinent (2):  Mumbai, New Delhi,

Oceania (3):  Bali, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Latin America (6):  Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro,  Caracas, Santiago, and Mexico City.

Middle East and Africa (4):  Dubai, Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi, and Cape Town.

The world fashion trade  is estimated to be over three trillion USD.