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Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2013): ‘Big Data’ and ”Dark Data’


New top trending terms include:  Dark Data, Yottabytes, Heisenbug, 3-D printer, phablet, and presentism.

Austin, Texas, Weekend Release March 29-31, 2013 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘Dark Data’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the  The Global Language Monitor.  ‘The Cloud’ slips to No. 3, followed by Yottabytes, and ‘The Next Big Thing”.   Rounding out the Top Ten are Heisenbug, 3-D Printer, Phablet, the acronym REST, and Web x.0 (replacing Web 2.0).
Continuing as the most confusing acronym of the year, decade and now of the century:  SOA.
Gartner Big Data Analysis
Gartner Big Data Analysis


“High Tech buzzwords are now coming at us full speed from all corners as the ‘adorkable’ nerd is exiting the periphery — and is now is viewed as a societal asset,”   said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.   “New terms are bubbling forth at an ever increasing pace, driven in part, by the tremendous growth and accessibility of data.  Nowhere on the planet is this more evident than at SXSWi where the digital world intersects with those of music, film and pop culture.” 

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, proprietary databases, as well as new social media as they emerge.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the of the Second Decade of the 21st century, thus far (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) with commentary follow:

2013 Rank, Buzzword, Last Year’s rank
Big Data (1) — Soon Human Knowledge will be doubling every second.  ‘Big’ does not begin to describe what’s coming at us. 
  1. Dark Data’ begins to emerge, though you might not have noticed it because … it is ‘Dark Data’   (New) — ‘Big’ has begun to spin off its own superlatives.
  2. The Cloud (2) — All that data has got to go somewhere.  Hint:  it’s neither your phone nor your tablet.
  3. Yottabytes (New) — Showing up on lots of technologists’ radar lately:  a quadrillion gigabytes.
  4. The Next Big Thing (3) — A cliche rendered ever more meaningless but still on everyone’s tongue.
  5. Heisenbug (New) — A bug that disappears when you try to detect it , finally making the list after a steady ascent over the last decade.
  6. 3-D Printer (New) — Watch this space.  They’ve been used in CAD design for years and science fiction for decades — but now they are impinging upon everyday life. 
  7. Phablet (New) — The Next Big Thing? The odds are against it since consumer goods tend to evolve into single-purpose appliances.
  8. REST (New) — Representational State transfer is slowly climbing its way up the list.
  9. Web X.0 (5) — Formerly Web 2.0, 3.0, etc.
  10. Higgs Boson (3, Decade) —   The Higgs Boson is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. OK, let’s just call it the God Particle.  
  11. CERN (7)  —  On a two-year hiatus (sabbatical in academic parlance) after only one year of operation.  At least the Earth is on a short reprieve from being swallowed the black hole it might accidentally create. 
  12. Presentism (New) — The ‘presentism of constant pings’ is how its put.. 
  13. Solar Max (8) — 2013 is the Solar Max.  In the 1850s telegraph wires melted.  Best not to shuck off the hype here.
The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of THE CENTURY:  SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), continuing its acrnym of the year, decade and now century reign.
For reference, here is the  first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century.
The Most Confusing High Tech Buzzwords of the first decade (2000-2009) of the 21st century with Commentary follow:
  1. HTTP — HyperText Transfer Protocol is used for HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files. Not to be confused with text on too much Starbucks.
  2. Flash — As in Flash Memory.  “Flash’  is easier to say than “ I brought the report on my EEPROM chip with a thin oxide layer separating a floating gate and control gate utilizing Fowler-Nordheim electron tunneling”.
  3. God Particle – The Higgs boson, thought to account for mass.  The God Particle has eluded discovery since its existence was first postulated some thirty years ago.
  4. Cloud Computing – Distributing or accessing programs and services across the Internet. (The Internet is represented as a cloud.)
  5. Plasma (as in plasma TV) — Refers less often to blood products than to a kind of television screen technology that uses matrix of gas plasma cells, which are charged by differing  electrical voltages to create an image.
  6. IPOD – What the Alpha Whale calls his personal pod.  Actually, Apple maintains that the idea of the iPod was from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The origin of the word IPAD is a completely different story.
  7. Megapixel – Either a really large picture element (pixel) or a whole mess of pixels.  Actually, one million pixels (that’s a lotta pixels) OK, what’s a pixel? Computer-ese for picture element.
  8. Nano – Widely used to describe anything  small as in nanotechnology.   Like the word ‘mini’ which originally referred to the red hues in Italian miniature paintings, the word nano- is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘dwarf’.
  9. Resonate – Not the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude, but the ability to relate to (or resonate with) a customer’s desires.
  10. Virtualization – Around since dinosaurs walked the planet (the late ‘70s) virtualization now applies to everything from infrastructures to I/O.
  11. Solution — Ever popular yet still an amorphous description of high tech packages of hardware, software and service
  12. Cookie — Without cookies with their ‘persistent state’ management mechanism the web as we know it, would cease to exist.
  13. Robust — No one quite knows what it means, but it’s good for your product to demonstrate robustness
  14. Emoticon   A smiley with an emotional component (from emotional icon).  Now, what’s a smiley? :’)
  15. De-duping – Shorthand for de-duplication, that is, removing redundant data from a system.
  16. Green washing – Repositioning your product so that its shortfalls are now positioned as environmental benefits:  Not enough power?  Just re-position as energy-saving.
  17. Buzzword Compliant — To include the latest buzzwords in literature about a product or service in order to make it ‘resonate’ with the customer.
  18. Petaflop — A thousand trillion (or quadrillion) floating point operations per second   Often mistaken as a comment on a failed program by an animal rights’ group.
  19. Hadron – A particle made of quarks bound together by the strong force; they are either mesons (made of one quark and one anti-quark) or baryons (made of three quarks).
  20. Large Hadron Collider – The ‘atom smasher’ located underground outside Geneva.  Primarily built to re-create the conditions of creation, 1 trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.


Emancipate is the Top HollyWord for 2012

The Year in Film as Reflected in the English Language

10th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor
Austin, Texas, February 27, 2012.   ‘Emancipate’ is the Top HollyWord of the 2012 season, according to the tenth annual global analysis by the Global Language Monitor.  At no. 2 is the numeric constant  π, followed by barricade, upside down, and interrogation enhancement.  Rounding out the top ten were czar, Argos, borderline, Franken-, and Elvish.
HollyWords of the Year Announced every Oscar Week

“In 2012, emancipate was a pervasive global theme represented in Lincoln, Django, and  Argo but also in smaller, documentary and Indy efforts the world over.   As Webster defines it, emancipate means ‘ to free from restraint, control, or the power of another”.  This certainly resonated with both the filmmakers–and the audiences, who turned out in record numbers this season”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor.    Each year, GLM announces the Top HollyWords after the Oscars at the conclusion of the awards season.  The 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California with Seth MacFarlane as host.

The Top Hollywords of the 2012 season with commentary follow.
Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary
  1. Emancipate (Lincoln, Django, Argo) — Webster says ‘to free from restraint, control, or the power of another’.
  2. Pi  (Life of Pi) — As the title character would later explain:  3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510, et cetera
  3. Barricade (Les Miserables) — In the original French barricade referred to a barrel. In actual history, the were swept away in days, or even hours.
  4. Upside Down (Flight) — Mortgages are ‘upside down’, houses are ‘upside down’, investments are ‘upside down’, but some times airplanes are actually ‘upside down’.
  5. Interrogation Enhancement (Zero Dark Thirty) — As defined by international treaty:  any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted.
  6. Czar (Anna Karenina) — The word Czar is derived from the ancient Roman title, Caesar, as is Kaiser
  7. Argos (Argo) — An actual movie named after an actual script named after the mythical Jason, the Argonauts, and his ship.
  8. Borderline (Silver Linings Playbook) — Personality, sanity, polarity, and that’s just the first scene.
  9. Franken- (as a prefix)  (Frankenweenie) — In the 21st century, the prefix Franken- has become a shorthand for human-generated catastrophes.
  10. Elvish (The Hobbit) —  Their original language lost to history, Hobbits were first encountered speaking a Mannish tongue learned from humans
GLM used NarrativeTracker 2.0 for this analysis.  NT2.0 is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new media sources, as they emerge.
Previous Top HollyWord Winners include:
2011        Silence – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), the silence among the trenches of WWI (Warhorse).
2010       Grit:  firmness, pluck, gritty, stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.
2009       ‘Pandora’ from Avatar
2008       “Jai Ho!” Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from Slumdog Millionaire
2007      “Call it, Friendo,” from No Country for Old Men
2006       “High Five!!! It’s sexy time!”  from Borat!
2005       ‘Brokeback’ from Brokeback Mountain
2004      “Pinot” from Sideways
2003      ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ from Super Bowl XXXVIII


Top Trending Words of 2013, Spring Update

Kate’s Royal Offspring, Crazy New Weather Term, and Pontiff

Spring Update

AUSTIN, Texas March 13, 2013 – The Spring outlook for the Top Trending Words of 2013 include words related to:   Kate’s Royal Offspring,  Near-Earth Objects including Comets, asteroids and/or meteors,  Nukes (rogue or otherwise), a fascinating Internet meme (or two), China continuing in it role as the world’s economic engine, an unknown technical buzzword that will seemingly spring out of nowhere (ala #hashtag), and various catastrophic scenarios with names containing the prefix  franken- or the suffix – pocalypse 

This is according to current word trends in global English being tracked by the Global Language Monitor.  In December, Austin, Texas-based GLM announced that ‘ Apocalypse’ was the Top Word, ‘Gangnam Style’ the Top Phrase; and ‘Newtown’ and Mala the Top Names of 2012 in its  annual global analysis of the English language.

“The year 2013 looks to be another vibrant year for the English language with word creation again driven by events both scheduled and unanticipated,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.  “With 1.83 billion speakers and a new word created every 98 minutes or so, clever, interesting, and creative neologisms inevitably appear — and now from any point on the planet.”

To see the Top Words of 2012, go here.

The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion speakers (January 2013 estimate).
Top Trending Words of 2013, Spring Update,

  1. Royal Birth — Come July, the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics will look like a garden party compared to the ensuing hubbub over the Royal Birth.
  2. Crazy New Weather Term — Derecho? Haboob? SuperStorm? As changes due to global warming become more pronounced, terms are emerging from the meteorologist’s jargon trove.
  3. -alypse — Top trending suffix on the list.  Engenders the creation of catastrophic-related, apocalyptic  terms.
  4. Pontiff — 1.2 Billion Catholics tweeting “The pontiff is dead (has resigned);  long live the Pontiff!”
  5. Global Warming — Perennially a Top Five Word (when matched with Climate Change), on top of mind to millions around the planet.
  6. Globe Circulating Meme — Probably surpassing  the Angelina Jolie Leg meme that resulted from her dramatic stance at the 2012 Oscars.
  7. MOOCs — Massive Online Open Courses.  What’s a decent student:teacher ratio when there 170,000 students in one course
  8. Sustainable — Top Word of the Year in 2006 affecting the language in ever more aspects and senses.
  9. Franken — Top trending prefix on the list. Expanded in meaning to include any human-instigated or -influenced natural disaster.
  10. Comet — Replacing Near-Earth Asteroid:  Yet another year, another celestial object, this comet may be the brightest in a thousand years (late ’13 rendezvous.)
  11. Twitflocker — Our annual stand-in  The Next Big Thing in technology.
  12. Debt — The debt bomb inflicts ever more ‘collateral damage’ upon the Western democracies.
  13. Solar max — 2013 is the actual peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle; in 1854 solar storms melted telegraph wires.
  14. Rogue nukes — Iran and North Korea will be the focus of attention here
  15. Euro- — The prefix will be used for any number of terms, few (if any) favorable.
  16. China Rising — The Sun has not yet set on its economic expansion


GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time.   NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. Since 2003, GLM has launched a number of innovative products and services monitoring the Internet, the blogosphere, social media as well as the top print and electronic media sites.

For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.


Top Ten Reasons North Korean May Have Selected Austin as a Strategic Target

Austin, Texas, Weekend Release March 29-31, 2013 —  Since Austin, Texas is the home of the Global Language Monitor, we thought that we would shed some light on why Kim Jong Un might consider Austin a strategic target.
  1. A secret scholar of Middle English when the word wyrd (weird) meant fated.  Hence, the ‘Keep Austin Weird’ slogan actually means ‘Keep Austin Fated’.  Not good.
  2. Has a secret fear of endangered salamanders.
  3. Is really upset that the University of Texas and Texas A&M discontinued their ancient (and storied) football rivalry.
  4. So many Californians have migrated to Texas in the last few years that his NK advisers concluded that Austin was part of Cali.
  5. Mistook Austin for Dallas, one of the great fears of the Austinites.
  6. Has a strange aversion to hippie cowboys.
  7. Was not invited to a football tryout for Mack Brown’s UT squad.
  8. Heard that the Texas Capital is taller than that of the US.
  9. Fears Texas Governor Rick Perry as an adversary in his conquest for world domination.
  10. Figures that destroying Willie Nelson’s Armadillo World Headquarters will raise his world standing.

The Editors