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