Toxic Politics is the Top Phrase, and Pope Francis the Top Name
Documenting 2013 by English-language word usage
Global Language Monitor’s 14th Annual Survey of Global English
Number of Words in the English Language: 1,025,109.8 (January 1, 2014 estimate)
AUSTIN, Texas November 6, 2013 — The Global Language Monitor has announced that ‘404’ is the Top Word, ‘Toxic Politics’ the Top Phrase and Pope Francis the Top Name of 2013 in its 14th annual global survey of the English language. 404 was followed by fail, hashtag, @pontifex, and the Optic. Rounding out the top ten were surveillance, drones, deficit, sequestration, and emancipate. 404 is the near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet, augmenting its original use as ‘page not found’. The single word fail is often used together with 404 to signify complete failure of an effort, project, or endeavor.
“404 has gained enormous attention the world over this year as systems in place since World War II, which many see as the beginning of the contemporary era, are in distress or even failure.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.
“The recent ObamaCare launch debacle in the US is only a representative example of a much wider system fail, from the political deadlock in the US Government, to the decline of the dollar, to the global web of intrigue and surveillance by the NSA, to the uncertainty regarding the European Union, and the on-going integration of China and other rising powers, such as India and Brazil into the global economic system.
Our top words, phrases and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.”
The GLM Word, Phrase, and Names of the Year lists provide a history of each year since 2000 through English-language word usage.
The Top Words of 2013 follow Rank / Word / Comments
- 404 — The near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet.
- Fail — The single word fail, often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavor.
- Hashtag — The ‘number sign” and ‘pound sign’ reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hashtag.
- @Pontifex — The Hashage of the ever-more popular Pope Franciscus (Francis).
- The Optic — The ‘optic’ is threatening to overtake ‘the narrative’ as the Narrative overtook rational discourse. Does not bode well for an informed political discussion.
- Surveillance — The revelation of the unprecedented extent of spying by the NSA into lives of ordinary citizens to the leaders of the closest allies of the US.
- Drones — Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are piloted remotely or by on-board computers used for killing scores or even hundreds of those considered enemy combatants of the US.
- Deficit — Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade. Note to economists of all stripes: reducing the rate of increase of deficit spending still increases the deficit.
- Sequestration — Middle English sequestren, from Old French, from Latin sequestrare, to hide away or isolate or to give up for safekeeping.
- Emancipate — Grows in importance as worldwide more women and children are enslaved in various forms of involuntary servitude. Read more