New Haven, CT August 22, 2014 — “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “No Justice, No Peace” are the Top Trending Phrases of 2014, according to the Global Language Monitor, which has been tracking major shifts in English language word usage since 2003. The phrases emanate from the Ferguson, MO, shooting death of the unarmed Michael Brown. Over the last ten days, protesters shouting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “No Justice, No Peace” while holding up their hands in the universal position of surrender, have appeared in cities across the nation, in NFL stadiums, on university and college campuses, and other venues.
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “No Justice, No Peace” have melded into any number of memes as the power of memes has demonstrated an ever larger effect on global communication”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst for GLM.
Though both phrases have been around for decades, the events of August 9th and the following protests have been emulated around the nation (and now the world) at a rapid pace.
Some suggest that “No Justice, No Peace” phrasing was first used in relationship to the death of Michael Griffith in Howard Beach, New York in 1987. Local newspapers reported the phrase,at that time had become a “battle cry”. Earlier this year, “No justice, no peace” was heard at the George Zimmerman murder trial, held near Orlando, where Zimmerman was acquitted on all counts of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Many see a strong similarity between the two cases.
In November, 2013, Austin, Texas-based GLM announced that the Internet error code ’404′ was the Top Word of the Year of 2013.
The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion speakers (January 2014 estimate).GLM employs its TrendTracking technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. TrendTopper is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. TrendTracking Technologies analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 300,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
About the Global Language Monitor
Current Number of Words in the English Language is 1,027,770.5 (July 1, 2014 estimate)
AUSTIN, Texas April 16, 2014 – Emoji, Futebol, and Ghost Plane lead the Top Trending Words and Phrases of 2014, according to the current word trends in global English being tracked by the Global Language Monitor. This is a preliminary to GLM’s twelfth annual Word of the Year rankings that will be released at year-end.
New York Times, July 25, 2014
“Not only is the English language adding a new word every 98 minutes, but it is also expanding the basis of word creation. The alphabet, itself, is now expanding beyond letters to numbers + (emoticons) diacritical marks + emoji (picture words),” said Paul JJ Payack, chief word analyst, the Global Language Monitor. GLM will have an announcement about the extended alphabet, the alphaBIT, later in the year.
Go to “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “No Justice, No Peace” and are the Top Trending Phrases of the Year
The Top Trending Words of 2014 are listed below (Rank, Word, and Comment).
- Emoji — Smilies beware! The Emojis are now here. In 500 years people will look back on the creation of a new alphabet: Letters + numbers + (emoticons) diacritical marks + emoji (picture words).
- Futebol — Ready or not, the World Cup of Futebol, Futbol, Football, and Soccer is hurtling toward Brasil
- Climate Change — Two interesting points to add to the debate: 1) The Earth is now approaching the temps of the Medieval Warm Period circa 1100 c.e., and 2) 8,000 years ago oceans were some 100 meters lower than present level.
- Ghost Plane — Malaysian Flight 360, now has echoes of the 17th c. ‘ghost ship’, the ‘Flying Dutchman’.
- Inflation — OK, so the Universe expanded a gazillion times faster than the speed of light is now a fact. Way Cool.
- Denier — An ugly new addition to the trending words list as it has become an evermore present invective with sinister overtones (fully intended).
- Mid-Term Elections — The Perpetual Campaign of the US rolls into 2014, a mere speedbump on the way to ’16.
- Crimea — Remember, Charge of the Light Brigade though highly celebrated, was an unmitigated disaster.
- Pontiff — Francis keeps upending convention and papal protocol.
- Conscious De-Coupling — Oh Gwyneth Paltrow, what hath thou wrought to the language?
- Quinquennium — Or lustrum (either way five-year periods) — preparing for decade-and-a-half terminology as 2015 looms.
- The Great War — The centennial of World War I begins four years of soulful commemorations — as the forces it unloosed ripple into (and most probably through) the 21st c.
- Blood Moon — Four total eclipses of the Moon in an 18-month span. Not yet referred to as the Lunar-aplyspe — but the year is young.
- V. V. Putin — Proving to no longer be a Pootie-Poot (etymology unknown), the nickname of George W. Bush bestowed on him.
- Chinese — All things Chinese are (still) on the rise Western Powers should be acclimated to this by now.
In November, 2013, Austin, Texas-based GLM announced that the Internet error code ‘404’ was the Top Word of the Year of 2013.
The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion speakers (January 2013 estimate).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 300,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
About the Global Language Monitor
The ‘f-word’ is (unfortunately) the Top Hollyword of 2013
The Year in Film as Reflected in the English Language
11th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor
Austin, Texas, March 11, 2013. The word euphemistically described as the ‘f-word‘ has been named the Top Hollyword of the 2013 season by the Global Language Monitor, in its eleventh annual survey. Gravity came in second followed by slavery, minion, and operating system (OS). Rounding out the Top Ten were melancholia, secret identity, Lone Star, ‘sense of place’, and recurrence. Each year, GLM announces the words after the Oscars at the conclusion of the awards season. The 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Ellen Degeneres was the host for the second time.
“The word euphemistically described as the ‘f-word’ is our Top Hollyword of the Year. The seemingly all-persuasive word can be found in all major Western Cinema, evidenced by the majority of this year’s Best Picture Nominees.” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst for the Global Language Monitor. “Though the word was first introduced onto the screen in an apparent effort to shock the audience, the word is now used for various parts of speech with several dozen differing senses (or definitions). In literature, the word was identified in the mid-1600s peaking in the 1730s. The word then re-emerged in the 1960s and its use has increased exponentially ever since.”
The Oscars also introduced a new class of Ambush Marketing (Inverse-ambush Marketing), where the sponsor ambushes the audience. In this case Samsung paid a reported $20 million fee for product placement during the live broadcast, when Ellen used a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for the ‘spontaneous’ selfie of the star-studded audience was re-tweeted some 871,000 times within an hour.
The Top Hollywords of the 2013 season with commentary follow.
Rank / Word or Phrase / Commentary
- The F-Word (Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, etc.) — Not an endorsement but can’t ignore the preponderance of the word in contemporary film-making. Historically it was first used extensively in the late 1600s and was revived in the early 1960s.
- Gravity (Gravity) — Unarticulated protagonist of the film defined: Any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Just sayin’.
- Slavery (12 Years a Slave) — There are said to be more slaves in the 21st c. than anytime in history. Many conjecture what they would have done during the earlier periods of human trafficking. They have the same opportunity today for that time is now.
- Minion (Despicable Me 2) — Literally, a servile follower or inferior. Not the aspiration of any B-School grad but much more humorous.
- Operating System (Her) — Breaking new ground here; not an Operating System as a protagonist (that would be 2001: a Space Odyssey’s HAL), but, rather, the first OS as a romantic lead.
- Melancholia (Blue Jasmine) — Kate Blanchett’s masterful rendition of what the Ancient’s considered a preponderance of ‘black bile': melancholia.
- Secret Identity (Hunger Games) — Plutarch Heavensbee’s secret identity was to the benefit of millions in the Hunger Games; in real life the secret identity of Philip Seymour Hoffman led to his untimely death.
- ‘Lone Star’ (Dallas Buyers Club) — Like Mr. McConaughey, all things Texas (to admire or disparage), the Lone Star State are hot.
- Sense of Place (American Hustle, Nebraska, August (Osage County) — The world may be ‘flat’ but the sense of place appears to getting stronger in film.
- Recurrence (About Time) — An equation that defines a sequence recursively; e.g., something occurring again and again, and so on. An old screen formula, applied gently and lovingly here.
Previous Top Hollyword Winners include:
- 2012 ‘Emancipation — (Lincoln, Django, Argo) — Webster says ‘to free from restraint, control, or the power of another’.
- 2011 ‘Silence’ – Silent movies, (the Artist), a wife’s silence (Descendants), a father’s silence (Extremely Loud), 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’ — Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson from Super Bowl XXXVIII
Methodology. 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. 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.
About the Global Language Monitor
In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known. GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands.
These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print and electronic media, and the global fashion industry, among others.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.
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
Global Language Monitor’s First Annual Global Survey
Complements the Tops Words of 2013, click here.
AUSTIN, Texas Holiday Weekend (Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, 2013) — The Global Language Monitor has announced its first annual Top 50 Global Business Buzzwords, a global survey.
Top 50 Global Business Buzzwords of 2013 represent some six continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.”
Methodology: GLM’s Word of the Year and Business Buzzwords of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion people. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must be found globally, have a minimum of 25,000 citations. and the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography.
The Top Business Buzzwords of 2013 follow Rank / Word / Comments
Content — Far and away the No. 1 BizBuzz leader
Social Media — Reality: Social media impacts less than 15% of the Web
Sustainability – No. 1 Word in 2007; have been rising in BizBuzz every year
Transparency – Remains a goal far from corporate reality
Literally – Principally used in non-literal situation, eg, Literally, “an explosion of laughter”
Guru – Someone moderately skilled in a subject or particular field (cf ‘rocket scientist’ or ‘brain surgeon’)
Utilize (rather than use) – Please deflate the diction and utilize the word ‘use’
Robust – Applies to oh-so-many products: software, tablets (computer and otherwise), coffee, perfume, mileage, and hundreds of others
Ping — High tech lingo seeping into the mainstream; now it means ‘get back to you’. Originally, a tool to send message packres to a network address to measure the time & quality of the response.
Big Data — Soon Human Knowledge will be doubling every second. ’Big’ does not begin to describe what’s coming at us.
Any noun used as a verb – to concept. to ballpark, and the like ….
Seamless – Seldom actually seamless (Cf Obamacare website), often merely ‘seemless’ or meaningless
Moving Forward — From the results of those countless ‘moving forwards’, moving sideways might be more appropriate
The Cloud — Everything (and every one) now apparently ‘lives in the cloud’ though networking clouds pre-date the web by a decade or two
Offline – ‘I’ll be offline’. The statement is meaningless unless one includes cell phones, tablets,smarty TVs, not to mention all atomic clocks.
Bandwidth – Measurement of electronic communications devices to send and receive information with upper and lower limits
New paradigm – Revolutionary new ideas that change the then-existing worldview; think Copernicus, think Newton, think Einstein, most definitely not your next product
Synergy – The interaction of two efforts that result in a greater return than the sum of the two
At-the-end-of-the-day — More likely the end of the quarter or fiscal year
Win-Win — Much more positive than tie-tie or lose-lose
Game changer – A step below a paradigm-shift but exaggeration nonetheless
Pro-active – Evidently better than amateur-active
Rock Star – What’s the hierarchy among Guru, Rocket Scientist, Brain Surgeon, and Rock Star?
30,000 ft level – Let’s decide if we are viewing the topic from the 30,000-, 40,000-, or 100,000 ft level. Airlines actually fly at a 35,000 ft cruise level
Out-of-the-Box (experience) – OOBE is number 25 on the list of TrendTopper
Resonate – produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound, belief or emotion
Monetize – The attempt to transmute Internet lead into gold.
Double Down – To double an investment in an already risky proposition
Deliverable – An output, product, result, or outcome; a term of great flexibility.
110% — We believe it’s time to synchronize the exertion scale. As a hiring manager how do you compare 110% from an Ivy school with an exertion level of 130% from the Big Ten?
Multi-task – Swapping in and out of tasks quickly is the key to multi-tasking not doing many things as once which actually decreases productivity (as imagined by Dave Nelson and other tech industries in the 1970s).
Rocket science – One step up (or down) from a guru; equivalent to a Brain surgeon).
Ballpark – Another name for a ‘guesstimate’.
Flounder – In history a fish found plentifully off the coast of New England, while a ship might ‘founder’ along it’s rocky coastline. Over time the act of foundering became collated with the fish. Your grasp of the language is telegraphed by this confusion.
As if it was — As if it were, please. You know, conditional voice.
In the Cloud — Yes, dwelling within the Cloud merits a special mention.
Net-Net – Consider a sportswriter for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team: “The net-net for the Nets was the netting of the final shot.”
Value-add – P+E+VA, where Product (is P) + Enhancement (is Ε ), and Value add (is VA)
Future proof – In reality an impossible feat because it assumes you are cognizant of future events , in Marketing, just another day of concepting.
Glass is half-full – Since 90% of new companies (and new products) fail, it might be better to adjust this cliché to: “Is the glass 1/10th full or 90% empty?”
Face time – Before it was a product, it was a meeting with a C-Level executive.
Re-purpose – Finding a new use for an old ‘solution. Unfortunately anything thing can be re-purposed ,including your job (or yourself).
Brain surgery – One step up (or down) from a guru; equivalent to a Rocket Scientist.
Rock-and-a-hard-place – A supposedly intractable situation though it usually gets back on track
Bleeding edge – Leading edge of the leading edge
Quick-and-dirty – Cited tens of thousands of times; we prefer ‘quick-and-clean’
Push the envelope – A phrase few actually understand; Originally a descriptor of breaking through the sound barrier by X-Series Test Pilots (e.g., X-15)
Touch base – Another baseball allusion: if you don’t actually touch the base you are ‘called out’. Cf Cricket allusions, such as using ‘sticky wicket ‘ for a quandary.
Herding cats – Used in high tech circles for several decades regarding controlling headstrong engineers, a seemingly improbable task.
Low-hanging fruit – Easy pickin’s for the sales force; unfortunately, obsolete since 2008
Top Trending Words of 2013, Mid-year Edition
AUSTIN, Texas, August 8, 2013 – The words ‘phony’, ‘the Optic’, and ‘Brycgwyrcende’* have joined the battle for 2013 Top Word of the Year, according to the Global Language Monitor, the world leader in big data language analytics.
The Mid-year outlook for the Top Trending Words of 2013 already 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
These words have been compiled from word trends in global English currently tracked by the Global Language Monitor. In December 2012, Austin, Texas-based GLM announced that ‘ Apocalypse’ was the Top Word, ‘Gangnam Style’ the Top Phrase; and ‘Newtown’ and ‘Malala (Yousafzai) the Top Names of 2012 in its annual global analysis of the English language.
“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,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.
The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion speakers (January 2013 estimate).
Kate’s Royal Offspring, Crazy New Weather Term, and Pontiff
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.”
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,
- 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.
- 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.
- -alypse — Top trending suffix on the list. Engenders the creation of catastrophic-related,
- Pontiff — 1.2 Billion Catholics tweeting “The pontiff is dead (has resigned); long live the Pontiff!”
- Global Warming — Perennially a Top Five Word (when matched with Climate Change), on top of mind to millions around the planet.
- Globe Circulating Meme — Probably surpassing the Angelina Jolie Leg meme that resulted from her dramatic stance at the 2012 Oscars.
- MOOCs — Massive Online Open Courses. What’s a decent student:teacher ratio when there 170,000 students in one course
- Sustainable — Top Word of the Year in 2006 affecting the language in ever more aspects and senses.
- Franken — Top trending prefix on the list. Expanded in meaning to include any human-instigated or -influenced natural disaster.
- Comet — Replacing Near-Earth Asteroid: Yet another year, another celestial object, this comet may be the brightest in a thousand years (late ’13 rendezvous.)
- Twitflocker — Our annual stand-in The Next Big Thing in technology.
- Debt — The debt bomb inflicts ever more ‘collateral damage’ upon the Western democracies.
- Solar max — 2013 is the actual peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle; in 1854 solar storms melted telegraph wires.
- Rogue nukes — Iran and North Korea will be the focus of attention here
- Euro- — The prefix will be used for any number of terms, few (if any) favorable.
- 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
Apocalypse is the Top Word
Gangnam Style is the Top Phrase
Newtown AND Malala Yousafzai are the Top Names of the Year
Global Language Monitor’s 13th Annual Survey of Global English
Number of Words in the English Language: 1,019,729.6 (January 1, 2013 estimate)
AUSTIN, Texas December 27, 2012 — The Global Language Monitor has announced that ‘Apocalypse’ is the Top Word, ‘Gangnam Style’ is the Top Phrase and Newtown AND Malala Yousafzai are the Top Names of 2012 in its 13th annual global survey of the English language.
Apocalypse was followed by deficit, Olympiad, Bak’tun, and meme. Rounding out the top ten were MOOC, the Cloud, Omnishambles, Frankenstorm, and obesogenic.
“Apocalypse (Armageddon, and similar terms) reflects a growing fascination with various ‘end-of-the-world’ scenarios, or at least the end of life as we know it. This year the Mayan Apocalypse was well noted, but some eight of the top words and phrases were directly related to a sense of impending doom.” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.
“These included: Apocalypse, Bak’tun, Frankenstorm, Global Warming/Climate Change, God Particle, Rogue Nukes, Solar Max, Near-Earth Asteroid. Media examples include the Mayan apocalypse frenzy in Russia, the US Presidential elections (Obamageddon, Romneygeddon), the threatened dissolution of the common currency in Europe (Eurogeddon), to the call for the United Nations to implement an ‘Armageddon-type’ policy to address previously undetected space rocks hurtling toward Earth.
“Our top words, phrases and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.”
(See more on Apocalypse and Armageddon after the Top Words List.)
The Top Words of 2012 follow Rank/ Word / Comments
- Apocalypse / Armageddon, and variations thereof — The word Apocalypse has been in ascendance in the English for more than 500 years. However,recent years has witnessed an unprecedented resurgence of the word.
- Deficit — Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade. Note to economists of stripes: reducing the rate of increase of deficit spending actually increases the deficit.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Meme — Internet Memes can best be conceived as thoughts or ideas rather than words, since they can and often do encompass sounds, photos, and text. Memes are propagated through every imaginable form of electronic communications, eventually surfacing in the traditional print and electronic media.
- MOOC — Massive Open Online Course; the nature of higher education is changing and MOOC is the phenomenon to watch.
- The Cloud — Neither the play by Aristophanes nor a forgotten title by Hitchcock, but rather where your data heads after you press <enter>.
- Omnishambles — From the UK and the top word of the Oxford American Dictionary team, where everything, everywhere seems to be in a state of disarray.
- Frankenstorm — Superstorm’s Sandy’s colloquial name. From a meteorologist’s lips to a globally recognized neologism within a few hours.
- Obesogenic — An environment that tends to encourage obesity. Lately it has been used to describe television advertisement that promote sugary and high-calorie snacks to kids.
- Hen — The Swedish attempt to create a gender-neutral pronoun to replace him or her or combinations thereof: hen.
- Derecho — A ‘land hurricane,’ a sudden storm with extremely strong, one-directional winds, such as the storm that swept from the Midwest into the Washington, D.C. area earlier this year.
- Hashtag — The ‘pound sign’ reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hash tag; what next a re-branding of the period as a ‘full stop’.
- Drones — Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are piloted remotely or by on-board computers; mostly used for military applications.
- Fracking — The extraction of fossil fuels by hydraulic fracturing in rock formations, and injecting fluids to force the release of hitherto inaccessible hydrocarbons.
- Phobes — The Loyal Opposition? How 19th c. of you. Opponents (of either side) are now cast as fear-filled and hateful phobes or haters.
- Superfood — An non-scientific term used to describe foods that are calorie sparse and nutrient dense.
- The 47 — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney characterization of the percentage of Americans who pay no Federal taxes.
- YOLO — You Only Live Once meant to convey derision or astonishment.
- Adorkable — The rise of the Nerds! A portmanteau word from dork and adorable.
The words Apocalypse and Armageddon are intermixed in the current English language media. New words or neologisms are created with both stems all referring to some type of ‘end-of-the-world-type’ phenomena. Both words stem from the final book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation in which the final battle between good and evil (Armageddon) is revealed (apokalyptein).
Apocalyptic terms are combination or ‘portmanteau’ words linking a root word with ‘apocalypse’ such as the Snowpocalypse in the Washington, D.C. area several years ago mentioned by President Obama. Apocalypse, itself, can be traced to the ancient Greek word apokalyptein meaning to ‘uncover, restore, reveal or disclose’ (hence the name of the final book of the New Testament. The Book of Revelation). The words apocalypse and apocalyptic are both frequent expressions of the global media especially when used in reference to any cataclysmic event such as the South Asian Tsunami or the inundation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, as GLM then noted.
Terms related to Armageddon are also portmanteau words that ultimately can be traced to the same source. The Greek word Harmagedōn and its Hebrew counterpart har məgiddô both refer to the ancient settlement of Megiddo. Megiddo stood astride important Middle Eastern trade routes and was subsequently the scene of many battles in Biblical times. The word ‘Armageddon’ has come to be associated in the popular mind with any end-of-the-world scenario, such as portrayed in the movie of the same name, starring Bruce Willis, or the ‘Carmageddon’ event in Los Angeles, where one of the main freeways was shut down for a number of hours.
Methodology: GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion people. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must be found globally, have a minimum of 25,000 citations. and the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage. Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular profession or social group or geography.
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 275,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
The Top Phrases of 2012
Rank / Phrase / Comment
- Gangnam Style: A South Korean YouTube video watched 1,000,000,000 times around the world cannot be ignored because it might be considered frivolous.
- Global Warming/Climate Change – No. 1 phrases for the first decade of the 21st century; still resonate well into its second decade.
- Fiscal Cliff — Sharp automatic tax increases and spending cuts to U.S. Federal programs that go into effect with the new year — if the Budget Control Act of 2011 is not addressed.
- The deficit—the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends—is projected to be reduced by roughly half in 2013
- God Particle — The ever-elusive Higgs Boson, the search for which, according to CERN, carries a 1 in 50,000,000 of creating a mini Black Hole that just might swallow the Earth. Oops.
- Rogue nukes — Iran and North Korea are the focus of attention again.
- Near-Earth Asteroid — Yet another year, another asteroid, another near-miss; this one slipping between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon.
- Binders Full of Women — Any unfortunate misstatement or turn of phrase, especially when viewed by some 50 million in a US Presidential Debate becomes immediately meme-worthy.
- Arab Spring — Still no Successor term as the Arab Spring morphs into something far more ominous.
- 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?
- Big Data — No 1 on the 2012’s Tech List, ushering in a global transformation in how data is processed, analyzed, and turned into solutions.
- Ethical/Sustainable Fashion– A global movement that includes designs from indigenous communities and emerging peoples.
- Toxic Politics — See 2012 US Presidential Campaign.
- Citius, Altius, Fortius — (Faster, Higher, Stronger) The Olympic Motto, in Latin not Greek, of course.
- War Against Women — In the US an economic and social issue; in much of the world an issue of sexual slavery, honor killings, and lack of basic human rights.
The Top Names of 2012
Rank /Name / Comments
- Newtown and Malala Yousafzai (tie) — The Connecticut site of a horrific massacre of innocents; and the Pakistani girl shot by terrorists for promoting the right to education for girls.
- Xi Jinping — Replaces Hu Jintao, under whose administration China has seen a decade of extraordinary growth.
- Kate Middleton — With a baby on the way (and the publishing of photos of a most private nature), the Duchess of Cambridge maintains a high profile.
- President Obama – Hope and Change retreat further into the history books as Obama survives a brutal campaign.
- Mitt Romney — Soon to depart into the wormhole that most losing US Presidential candidates invariably find themselves. Dukakis? Mondale? Etc.
- London Olympics — A triumphal return to the Olympic stage that would have astounded those present at the first Post-War Games in 1948.
- Higgs Boson — The long-sought particle theorized to have been present at the creation, is confirmed in CERN experiments. (And, yes, Dr. Higgs, has lived to see confirmation of his conjecture.)
- Europe (E.U. / Eurogeddon) — United, breaking apart, saving the Euro, abandoning the Euro, with the UK again as an ‘interested onlooker’. How do you say ‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ in German.
- Felix Baumgartner — Austrian Felix Baumgartner becomes the first skydiver to break the speed of sound, reaching a maximum …
- Senkaku Islands — No one actually cares about these rocky, inhospitable outcroppings; it’s the mineral rights under surround seas of concern here.
- John Roberts — Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court at the center of the upholding of the Affordable Healthcare Act (or Obamacare).
- Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) — The current Prime Minister of Israel.
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — The current president of Iran, a largely ceremonial post.
- Christopher Stevens — Ambassador to Libya, gunned down at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
- Angela Merkel — The chancellor of Germany attempting to hold together the currency union and avoid the Eurogeddon.
Top Words of the Decade
The Top Words of the Decade Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistanced Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. Climate Change was top phrase; Heroes was the top name.
Previous Words of the Year include:
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Arab Spring, No. 2 Royal Wedding, No.3 Anger and Rage
Top Names: No. 1 Steve Jobs, No. 2 Osama bin-laden and Seal Team Six, No.3 Fukushima
Top Words: No. 1 Spillcam, No. 2 Vuvuzela, No. 3 The Narrative
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama
Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama
Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 “Yes, We Can!”
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps
Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore
Top Word: Sustainable
Top Phrase: Stay the Course
Top Name: Dafur
Top Words: No. 1, Refugee No. 2: Tsunami No. 3: Katrina
Top Phrase: Outside the Mainstream
Top Name: (acts of ) God
Top Word: Incivility (for inCivil War)
Top Phrase: Red States/Blue States No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Dubya/Rove
Top Word: Embedded
Top Phrase: Shock and Awe, No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Saddam Hussein, No. 2 Dubya
Top Word: Misunderestimate
Top Phrase: Threat Fatigue
Top Name: W (Dubya)
Top Word: Ground Zero
Top Phrase: ‘Lets Roll’
Top Name: The Heros
Top Word: Chad
Top Phrase: Dot.com
Top Name: W (Dubya)
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.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.