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Top Tech Buzzwords Everyone Uses but Don’t Quite Understand (2012)

‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far)


SOA continues its reign as most confusing acronym


For the 2013 Update, go here!

Austin, Texas, March 15, 2012 — ‘Big Data’ and ‘The Cloud’ are the Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords of the Decade (thus far) according to the  The Global Language Monitor.  Topping the list for 2012 are:  Big Data, the Cloud, The Next Big Thing, Social Discovery, Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on).  Solid State, CERN, Solar Max, De-dupe, 3G/4G/5G, and SoLoMo.

Continuing as the most confusing  acronym now of the century:  SOA.
GLM releases its Most Confusing Tech Buzzwords list annually in conjunction with Austin’s SXSW Interactive conference, which ends March 20th.

“High tech terms have long spilled into popular culture and this is nowhere more evident that at SXSW where the digital world intersects with those of music and the movies,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.   “To a large and growing extent, high tech buzzwords are fueling the growth of English, which now serves as the Earth’s means of global communication.”

“SXSW can best be described as a weird mash-up of Cannes, COMDEX, and Woodstock.  If creative ideas don’t mix here, it’s just not going to happen.

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, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  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) with commentary follow:
  1. Big Data — Big Data is the biggest buzzword.  It has been called the key to new waves of productivity growth, essential to the US place in global economics, and more.  Now if only we could agree on exactly what this means and how we get there.  (By the way, consider yottabytes: a quadrillion gigabytes.  Hint:  Just think a lotta bytes.)
  2. ‘The Cloud — The Cloud, in various manifestations has been ranked No. 1 for 2008, No, 4 overall for the decade, and now as No. 2 for 2012.   Still all very nebulous.
  3. The Next Big Thing — A cliche rendered nearly meaningless by the innumerable daily claims made by VCs, entrepreneurs, college drop-outs, etc.  Actually, you can count the history of next big things on your fingers, and possibly toes.
  4. Social Discovery — Webster’s 1910 definition. “Consisting in union of mutual converse,” might be an excellent corporate strategy.
  5. Web 2.0 (3.0, and so on) — Ranked as the 1,000,000th English-language word in 2009, it just keeps morphing along.
  6. Solid State —  As in Solid State Disks (SSDs).  Remember ‘solid-state’ televisions switched from vacuum tubes (Paleozoic)? How about LED watches from the ’80s (Mesozoic)?  Today, it’s all-about Solid State Disks.
  7. CERN — You might want to understand the acronym before the Earth is swallowed up the ‘mini’ black hole it just might create .  (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)
  8. Solar Max — In the 1850s telegraph wires melted.  Best not to shuck off the hype here.
  9. De-dupe — First we dupe, then we de-dupe; Flash forward to 2014:  Re-duping!  Ah, the next big thing!
  10. 3G/4G/5G — One of the benefits of having an open, open standard (AKA, no standard). Anybody can claim to lead as the (Generation) ‘standard’ expands into meaningless.
  11. SoLoMo — This is not an oh-so-trendy neighborhood like Soho or Dumbo, at least not in the sense of brick-and-mortar.  This is the convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile. The Talk of the Town at SXSWi this week in Austin.
The Most Confusing Tech Acronym of 2012:  SOA (Solutions Oriented Architecture), continuing its Most Confusing Tech Acronym of the Decade reign.  Not only is there an highly popular SOA for Dummies edition but Google Books list 47,300 editions that explicate upon the subject.
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.


‘Silence’ is the Top HollyWord of 2011

Ceremony generates Jolie Leg Internet Meme (i-Meme)

9th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas, March 6, 2012. (Update)  ‘Silence’ is the Top HollyWord of 2011 according the ninth annual global analysis by the Global Language Monitor.   ‘Silence’ encompassing  silent movies, the silence of dead and dying loved-ones, the deadly silence of the battlefield before an attack – as well as the deafening silence of historically anemic 2011 box office and attendance figures.

Silence’ topped  Mai Oui!  Iconic, Transformations, and Separateness for the top honors, while Domestics, Dramedy, Bathroom Humor, Why, and Muppets rounded out the top ten.

“In 2011 Hollywood had a full slate of award-worthy films as reflected by this year’s Oscar winners,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor, “The films reflected a deeper exploration into the human experience as reflected in a silent movie, various encounters in and around Paris, death, dying, separation and rebirth”.

Each year, GLM announces the Top HollyWords following the Oscar ceremony.  The 84rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Billy Crystal was held last Sunday at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles.

The Top Hollywords of the 2011 season with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.

Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary
  1. Silence – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), the deadly silence among the trenches of WWI (Warhorse) but most all silence at the box office, with the lowest attendance since the 1995.
  2. Mai oui! – A big year for the City of Light and France:  Hugo, Midnight in Paris, TinTin (which first appeared as a comic in French), Warhorse, and, of course, the irrepressible Jean Dujardin .
  3. Iconic – (My Week with Marilyn) – Michelle Williams helps us better understand how this shy, frail woman become the iconic image of a very complicated time.
  4. Transformations (Iron Lady and Albert Nobbs) – In a year with a plethora of visual effects, none were more startling than those of Meryl Streep and Glenn Close.
  5. Separateness (A Separation) – The Iranian film about divorce that demonstrates the common threads that binds humanity together.
  6. Domestics (The Help) – ‘Domestic Servants’ was the actual term with an emphasis, of course, on the servant.
  7. Dramedy  (The Descendants) – Dramedy, a comedy within the structural framework of a drama, a staple of sitcoms, successfully made the leap to the silver screen.
  8. Bathroom Humor (Bridesmaids) – The women strive to both out-gross and gross-out their male competition.
  9. Why?  (The Tree of Life) — Why all the oil-spinning emulsions when images from the Hubble have been seared into our consciousness?
  10. Muppets (The Muppets) – A new generation is introduced to Jim Henson’s family friendly varmints.

Bonus:  Ides (Ides of March) – There’s really nothing very special about the Ides of March.  In the Roman calendar, every month had its ides.

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:
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


The Duchess Effect Top Fashion Buzzword of 2012

The Duchess Effect (Kate Middleton in yet Another Guise) Top Fashion Buzzword of 2012


Pippa’s Bum also makes the list


The Fifth Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor


New York, February 9, 2012 – Kate Middleton, now entitled Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, again stands atop the Fashion Buzzword List of 2012, this time as ‘the Duchess Effect’, according to the annual analysis by the Global Language Monitor (GLM).  This is the first time someone has topped the list two years running.  Previously Lady Gaga held the No. 1 and No. 2 positions during the 2010 and 2011 seasons respectively, Ms. Gaga dropped off the list for 2012.

Following ‘The Duchess effect’ were ‘peplums’, ‘braid bars’, ’pyjamas’, and ‘Pippa’s bum’.  Rounding out the Top Ten were ‘paisley,’ Gatsby’,  ‘pale colors,’ ‘tangerines,’ and ‘novelty denim’.

“The Duchess Effect appears to extend much further than the economic impact of Kate’s fashion choices; this year the fashion landscape seems to be a brighter, more accessible place with the styles more colorful, feminine and graceful than we’ve observed in many years, said Bekka Payack, GLM’s Manhattan-based Fashion Director. “Fashion is now being influenced from all points on the globe, with the rise of the regional fashion centers driving tribal, sustainable and eco-based trends”.

New York Fashion Week begins February 9th and kicks off the global calendar, immediately followed by London, Milan, and Paris.

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.

The Top Fashion Buzzwords for 2012 with commentary follow:

  1. The Duchess Effect – The positive economic impact of Kate Middleton’s fashion choices, derived from her new title, ‘the Duchess of Cambridge’.
  2. Peplums –  Kate (Hepburn) and Rosiland sported them in ‘40s flicks; now it’s your turn.
  3. Braids  – And a new twist is ‘braid bars:’ ‘I’ll have a G&T and some funky braids, please; make it to go.’
  4. Pyjamas – Though the trend has spread from the campuses to the catwalks, you can’t get a Stella McCartney in the discount bin at Target’s.
  5. Pippa’s Bum – Absurdly large media interest tracks the Duchess’ sister in general and her bum in particular.
  6. Paisleys – No they were not invented during the Summer of Love, and not even in 17th c. Scotland; they have been in and out of style for more than millennium and a half.
  7. Gatsby – That’s right, not Gangsta’ but Gatsby.  Call it ‘20s Luxe.
  8. Pale Colors – Such as glacier blue, minimal whites, lavender, or spindrift.
  9. Tangerines – Such as Tangerine Tango for nails and accessories.
  10. Novelty denim – With prints and dyes, stitched, embroidered, or bejeweled, it almost like a ‘60s’ ‘happening’
  11. Luxe Hides — Super luxurious animal skins, faux and otherwise.  (See below.)
  12. African Prints – Fierce, gently, mesmerizing or subtle.
  13. Ankle Boots – Worn with skirts, bare or with stockings, leggings or pants.
  14. Mixed florals – Beaucoup of bouquets, mixed together and sorted  printed over all.
  15. Color blocking – Boldly bright and boldly blocked.
  16. Vintage styles of the ‘20s (Flappers).
  17. Vintage styles of the ‘40s (tea dresses).
  18. Vintage styles of the‘50s (Clean, crisp, all-American).
  19. Ethical Fashion – Taking a bolder stand, moving into the mainstream with Stella McCartney and Ally Hewson leading the way.
  20. Sustainable Fashion – Not just from Austin, Berkeley and Portland anymore.

Each summer, the Global Language Monitor ranks the Top Fashion Capitals by Internet presence.    London overtook New York City as the Top Global Fashion Capital for 2011.  London and New York were followed by Paris, Milano, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong.  Barcelona, Singapore, Tokyo and Berlin rounded out the top ten.


Trending Top Words of 2012: End-of-World stories, Kate, China, CERN, the Olympics

Global Language Monitor’s Top Words of 2012 projections from current word trends


AUSTIN, Texas December 26, 2011 – Trending 2012:  Multiple End-of-World scenarios, Kate, China, CERN, the Olympics, The US Elections will dominate word creation and usage in the English language in 2012.

This is according to current word trends in global English being tracked by the Global Language Monitor. Last month, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor had announced that ‘Occupy’ was the Top Word, ‘Arab Spring’ the Top Phrase and ‘Steve Jobs’ the Top Name of 2011 in its twelfth annual global survey of the English language.

To see the final list 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 2012 estimate).
The Projected Top Words of 2012
1.  Kate — There are seven billion humans on the planet but sometimes it seems that it’s all about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton in terms of fashion, celebrity, and the royal line.
2.  Olympiad — The Greeks measured time by the four-year interval between the Games.  Moderns measure it by medal counts, rights fees and billions of eyeballs.
3.  Middle Kingdom – There is little indication that China’s continuing economic surge will fade from the global media spotlight –or abate.
4.  Bak’tun — A cycle of  144,000 days in the Maya ‘Long Count’ Calendar. This bak’tun ends on December 21, 2012, also being called the Mayan Apocalypse.  (Actually Maya ‘long-count’ calendars stretch hundreds of millions of years into the future, December 21st merely marks the beginning of a new cycle.)
5.  Solar max —  The peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle;  in 1854 solar storms melted telegraph wires; what’s in store for our all-pervasive electronic infrastructure?
6.  The Election —  No Obama-mania this time around, more of an Obama-ennui for the November 6 elections.
8.  Rogue nukes —  Iran and North Korea will be the focus of attention here.
9.  CERN — Neutrons traveling faster than light?  The ‘God Particle’? The world ending in a mini-black hole? All these somehow revolve around CERN (The European Center for Nuclear Research). One CERN scientist calculated that the chance of a mini-Black Hole swallowing the Earth is less than 1 in 50,000,000.  Somewhat comforting until you realize this is about ten times more likely than winning a national lottery.)
10.  Global Warming — The earth has been warming since New York was covered under a mountain of ice; what makes 2012 any different?
11.  Near-Earth Asteroid —  Yet another year, another asteroid, another near-miss. (However, one does strike the Earth every one hundred million years or so.)
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 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.

“The year 2012 looks to be a vibrant year for the English language with word creation again driven by events both scheduled and unanticipated. Typically there is an ‘end-of-the-world’ scenario every few years that impacts the English language. This year we will see no fewer than three, including the Maya Apocalypse and the Solar Max,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.

”Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will compete with the London Olympics, the economic surge of China, various activities involving the CERN atom smasher, and the US presidential election for Top Word honors, though we always allow for word creation generated from unexpected events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or the Japanese ‘triple disaster’ of 2011.”

Rank / Word / Comments

7.  Deficit — Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade.

12.  Europe — United, breaking apart, saving the Euro, abandoning the Euro, with the UK again as an ‘interested onlooker’.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Bonus Phrase:   The successor term for ‘Arab Spring’, whatever that might be.


Tebowing Accepted into English Language

Tebowing Accepted into English Language

Six-week rise of the Global Phenomenon

Austin, Texas December 12, 2011  (Dec. 16 update)– Tebowing, the act of  ‘taking a knee’  in prayerful reflection in the midst of an athletic activity, has been acknowledged as an English language word according to the Global Language Monitor.

Tebowing Enters English Video 

The rapid rise of use of the word  has seldom been equaled, mirroring, for example, the rate of  adoption of the word Obamamania in early 2008.  The first mention of the word can be traced to the dramatic overtime victory of the Denver Broncos football team over the Miami Dolphins on October 23, 2011.  During the victory celebration, Tim Tebow ‘took a knee’ and was photographed in a moment of prayerful reflection.  Tebow is the 2007 Heisman trophy winner who  led the University of Florida to the 2008 BCS National Championship.

Though there is no official agency for accepting new words (or neologisms) into the English lexicon such as France’s Académie française, since 2003 the Global Language Monitor has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet, in social media and in the top 75,000 global print and electronic media.

“Sports have become significant generators of new cultural trends and memes that transcend the athletic arena”,  said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “The ESPN sports broadcasting network has widely championed the word.  Jared Kleinstein’s tebowing.com website, devoted to people posing in the ‘tebowing position’, has been wildly popular.  The New York Times has recently carried an editorial on the subject and the Chinese search engine, Baidu.com, already has hundreds of citations for tebowing.” (See  ‘Tebowing Goes Global’ in The Daily Beast.)

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘tebowing’ as ”To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different’.

The English language currently has some 1.58 billion speakers around the globe.

GLM released its Top Words, Phrases and Names of the Year lists on November 10th. Occupy is the Top Word of the Year, Arab Spring the Top Phrase of the Year, and Steve Jobs the Top Name of the Year.

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 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources.




Egad! What’s the ‘chad’ blocking the path to the White House?

November 13, 2000
Web posted at: 11:19 a.m. EST (1619 GMT)

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — The final answer to who’s going to be the next U.S. president may be determined by “chad.”


Chads Through History

Chads through history



Not ready for Webster’s: What is a pregnant chad?

So who, or what, is chad?

A) A country in Africa?

B) The name of a saint?

C) Rob Lowe’s brother?

D) A lowly scrap of paper that may decide who will be the next leader of the free world?

All four answers are correct. Chad is also the name of a couple of major league baseball players and one half of a British pop-singing duo from the ’60s.

But if you guessed “D,” you are informed enough to understand the vote counting process in Florida.

Politicians are tossing the term “chad” around as if everyone were familiar with the word. Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s campaign adviser, George Mitchell, is among them.

“You can run those machine ballots through five times and you’ll get five different totals because the chads fall off with each count,” he said, explaining on “Fox News Sunday” the reason he believes ballots in Florida should be recounted by hand.

But Mitchell’s use of “chads” betrayed his own lack of familiarity with the word. “Chad is its own plural,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president and CEO of yourdictionary.com, which is based in California.

The Web site www.yourdictionary.com defines the word as follows:

1. The confetti-like scrap punched out of cards or paper tape (also “chaff,” “computer confetti” or “keypunch droppings”).
2. The perforated strips on the edge of paper for sprocket feed printers after they have been separated from the printed portion (also “perf,” “perfory,” or “snaf”).
Etymology: Possibly from the last name of the inventor of the Chadless cardpunch, which cut U-shapes in punch cards, rather than open circles or rectangles. (The U’s formed holes when folded back.)

“Chad” would then be a back-formation from “Chadless” misunderstood: If the Chadless keypunches don’t produce it, other keypunches must produce “chad.”

The word appears to have entered the national lexicon in the late 1940s, around the time people began to refer to “bug” as a computer glitch after a researcher blamed a moth among a group of vacuum tubes for affecting ENIAC, the primitive computer powered by thousands of such tubes, said Payack. That was also about the time when IBM began using punch cards that warned users not to fold, spindle or mutilate.

In Florida, vote-counters may have wished for a “chadometer” to measure whether a bit of chad is sufficiently dislodged to qualify it as “dangling.”

When the hand recount began in Palm Beach County, the canvassing board there said it would count a vote if any of the corners of the chad were punched.

The board then decided that they would instead use the “sunlight test” — if they could see sun through an indentation, it would count.

About a quarter of the way through the counting, however, a board member determined that the light test was flawed and told the other members to go back to the first test.

According to county spokesman Bob Nichols, there are five types of chad.

Ones that count:
• Hanging door — one corner hanging off
• Swinging door — two corners hanging off
• Tri-chad — three corners hanging off

Chads that don’t count:
• Pregnant — bulges, but not punched through
• Dimple — simple indentation

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




Do these 15 Wonderful Words Actually Have No English Equivalent?

San Francisco.  July 24, 2011  —  We first saw the story, 15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent, on the MentalFloss outlet (a genuinely interesting site for esoterica lovers), compiled by Bill DeMain.  His attribution states that “many of the words above can be found in BBC researcher Adam Jacot de Boinod’s book ‘The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World.”

In the last few days we have tracked it thousands of times around the English speaking world, which now happens to encompass the globe. We are intrigued by the idea that there, indeed, might be no equivalent English words or phrases for these terms.

After all there are as of today, July 24th, 2011 the Global language Monitor calculates  that there are approximately 1,010,649.7 words in the English language.  (The language gains a new word every ninety-eight minutes, hence the, we admit, totally extraneous decimal point.)

So here’s the challenge to lovers of the language.  Do these 15 Wonderful Words Actually Have No English Equivalent?

Send us your suggestions to:  15WonderfulWords@LanguageMonitor.com, and we will publish what our readers come up with.

Here’s the list original story:

15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent

by Bill DeMain, July 22, 2011

The Global Language Monitor estimates that there are currently 1,009,753 words in the English language. Despite this large lexicon, many nuances of human experience still leave us tongue-tied. And that’s why sometimes it’s necessary to turn to other languages to find le mot juste. Here are fifteen foreign words with no direct English equivalent.

1. Zhaghzhagh (Persian)
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.

2. Yuputka (Ulwa)
A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

3. Slampadato (Italian)
Addicted to the infra-red glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.

4. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person.

5. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

6. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish)
A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.

7. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian)
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.

8. Gumusservi (Turkish)
Meteorologists can be poets in Turkey with words like this at their disposal. It means moonlight shining on water.

9. Vybafnout (Czech)
A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.

10. Mencolek (Indonesian)
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.

11. Faamiti (Samoan)
To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.

12. Glas wen (Welsh)
A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.

13. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.

14. Boketto (Japanese)
It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.

15. Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

Remember to send us your suggestions for English-language equivalents to:  15WonderfulWords@LanguageMonitor.com or info@LanguageMonitor.com.




Hubbub over ‘Haboob’ in Arizona?

Psst! So are Alcohol, Algebra, Chemistry, Guitars and Zeroes …


Hundreds of Words of Arabic Origin are Considered Authentic English language words

San Francisco.  July 22, 2011.  Haboobs, those dust storms invading the Southwestern United States these days, might be called as American as Apple Pie — or at least as English as fish and chips. The word,  according to an analysis by the Global Language Monitor conducted earlier this week, is actually considered an English-language word, found in unabridged dictionaries, hundreds of thousands of times on the Internet, and hundreds of times in the print media and scholarly works as least as far back as the 19th century.

When Arizona-based weather forecasters used ‘haboob’ to describe the fierce wind- and dust-storms their were immediate calls to stop use of that term since it is of Arabic in origin, and might be insulting to American and NATO forces stationed in Arabic-speaking lands.

“If you find that the word ‘haboob’ is inappropriate because of its Arabic origin, then you better start thinking about:






and the hundreds of other words of Arabic origin that are members in excellent standing in contemporary English, said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.

“The English language has thousands upon thousands of words that it has ‘borrowed’  from hundreds of languages over its fourteen hundred year lifespan.  Unfortunately, once English ensnares one these ‘loan’ words, they seldom ever escape”.


Fighting Words: ‘Reliable,’ ‘Talented’ And Other Americanisms


In this free-wheeling era, when the English language is often applied with little supervision, it’s common for purists to complain about the abuse of words.

For instance, I dislike it when things are indicated instead of said. And impact gets rough treatment, as it’s transmogrified into a Franken-adjective (impactful) and is too often made to serve as a substitute for affect — probably by people who are unsure whether to use that word or effect.

And there should be a petition to remove the word literally from use, for at least a lengthy rehabilitation and perhaps a permanent retirement.

But I was surprised to learn that in 19th-century Britain, readers viewed words like lengthy and reliable as signs of the coming apocalypse. It turns out that those words, along with talented andtremendous, were imports from America.

As Matthew Engel writes at the BBC, “The poet Coleridge denounced ‘talented’ as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described ‘reliable’ as vile.” [Read More]

What Started the “Two Way” discussion (Below)

By Matthew Engel I have had a lengthy career in journalism. I hope that’s because editors have found me reliable. I have worked with many talented colleagues. Sometimes I get invited to parties and meet influential people. Overall, I’ve had a tremendous time.

Lengthy. Reliable. Talented. Influential. Tremendous.

All of these words we use without a second thought were never part of the English language until the establishment of the United States.

The Americans imported English wholesale, forged it to meet their own needs, then exported their own words back across the Atlantic to be incorporated in the way we speak over here. Those seemingly innocuous words caused fury at the time.

The poet Coleridge denounced “talented” as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone. A letter-writer to the Times, in 1857, described “reliable” as vile.

[Read More on the BBC]


Top HollyWORDS: Grit tops Arrogance, Abdicate, Stammer, and Madness

As Summer Blockbuster Season Peaks, a Look Back at the Top Hollywords from 2010


8th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas.   July 12, 2011.   As summer blockbuster season peaks, a look back at the top words from the movies that influenced the English language from 2010.

For the first time a single word representative of a number of the year’s blockbusters, Grit, tops the list of Hollywords  as named by the Global Language Monitor.   Grit topped arrogance, abdicate, stammer, and madness.  Dream-stealers, nerds, Borogoves, shard, and 3-D rounded out the top ten.

“For the first time a single word was representative of a number of the year’s Oscar winning films,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor, “According to Webster’s the term, grit, has the following senses that applied to these films:  firmness, pluck, gritty (as in soot-covered), stubborn, indomitable spirit, courageous, and brave perseverance.”

The Top Hollywords of the 2010 season with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.

1.       The word grit has been defined in a number of ways by Webster that reflects many of the virtues of this year’s nominees.

  • Grit is, of course, from the title of Best Picture nominee True Grit, as exemplified by the character’s played by Jeff Bridges (firmness) and Hailee Steinfeld (pluck).
  • The action of The Fighter took place against the backdrop of one of the nation’s fabled gritty cities:  Lowell, Massachusetts into which Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo and Christian Bale expertly blended.
  • 127 Hours portrayed the stubborn courage of a man driven to desperate acts to ensure his survival.
  • The accidental and courageous king and his indomitable tutor as portrayed by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech.
  • Woody’s brave perseverance to keep his fellow toys together in Toy Story 3.

2.  Arrogance – Deftly depicted in both The Social Network and Inside Job.

3.  Abdicate – Another generation learns of cowardice in high places, again; this time it’s found in the British Royal Family as depicted in The King’s Speech.

4.  Stammer and/or Stutter  –  If you paid close attention you might actually notice the difference between a stammer and a stutter in Colin Firth’s dialogue.

5.  Madness – We are told there is no such thing as ‘madness’ in the 21st century, but whatever we may call it, in the Black Swan Natalie Portman’s creates a dramatic portrait of the descent into it.

6.  Dream-Stealers – (and dream shapers and sowers).  Evidently, new career options for the 21st century endless-recession economy introduced to us by Leonardo DiCaprio and his film Inception.  The timid need not apply.

7.  Nerd – Once more, we are fascinated by the rise of the nerd in The Social Network … though most nerds never overcome their nerdness, and only the most  rare of exceptions is able to cash in on it.

8.  Borogoves — Alice in Wonderland sheds a bit of light on the ‘borogoves’.   As you know, they were all ‘mimsy’ in Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s nonsense poem, Jabberwocky.

9.  Shard – Though widely confused with the word ‘shred’ as in a ‘shred of truth’, Harry Potter  finds  a mirror shard, in which he catches a glimpse of  a blue eye and keeps it for later use.  From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

10.  3D CGI – (Three-dimensional, Computer-generated imagery) Five of the top ten grossing films of 2010 were CGI-based 3D, accumulating some $1.3B domestically:          Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon, and Tangled. Whether this is a transformative trend or a passing fad has yet to be determined.

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, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in:  long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.

Previous Top HollyWord Winners include:

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!!! Its sexy time!’ from Borat!

2005     ‘Brokeback’ from Brokeback Mountain

2004     “Pinot” from Sideways

2003       ‘Wardrobe malfunction’ from Super Bowl XXXVIII