Top Television Buzzwords of 2008
Beijing tops ObamaSpeak as the Top Teleword of the Year followed by ‘facts are stubborn things’, ‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian.
The Global Language Monitor’s Fifth Annual Analysis
Austin, Texas, USA. September 24, 2008. The Global Language Monitor (
Austin, Texas, USA. September 24, 2008. The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com) today announced the top words impacting Global English for the recently ended 2008 television season. The Top Teleword was Beijing as in Beijing Olympics, an appropriate honor for the most watched television program of all time followed by ObamaSpeak, John Adams’ phrase ‘facts are stubborn things’, the ubiquitous ‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian. Rounding out the Top Ten were Third Screen, Vincible, Lip Synching, Lipstick (as ‘in on a pig’), and IPTV.
“As always, words stemming from Television’s three screens, impacted Global English in interesting, innovative, and always fascinating ways,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “This year, two events dominated television, the Beijing Olympics and the US Presidential Elections”
The Top Telewords of the 2008 season with commentary follow:
1. Beijing: The Beijing Olympics were the most-watched television show of all time with some 4.7 billion global viewers.
2. ObamaSpeak: Words coined to describe the Obama Barack phenomenon, including obamamentum, obamabot, obamacize, obamarama, and obamaNation.
3. “It is, what it is”: Everywhere on the tube this year from “The Wire” to the Roger Clemons Steroid in Baseball Congressional hearings.
4. “Facts are stubborn things”: John Adams’ quaint turn of phrase for ‘it is what it is’. The John Adams biopic won the most Emmys ever for a single program.
5. Phelpsian: New word coined to describe the Phelpsian Pheat of winning eight golds in a single Olympics.
6. Third Screen: Watching Television on your TV (first screen), your computer (second screen), and now your mobile device, the third screen.
7. Vincible: The invincible New England Patriots prove vincible after all, with a shocking upset by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
8. Lip Synching: The fate of Lin Miaoke, the little girl who didn’t sing the song the whole world sings in the Olympics opening ceremony.
9. Lipstick: On a pig or otherwise, a media sensation this year for a supposed characterization of Republican VP aspirant Sarah Pallin.
10. IPTV: Internet protocol-based television, the wave of the future.
The Top Telewords of previous years were:
2007: “Surge” from the Iraq War political and military strategy, “That’s Hot®” Paris Hilton’s popular expression that is now a registered trademark, and “D’oh!” from The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie.
2006: ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ from the Colbert Show followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’.
2005: ‘Refugee’ from the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, followed by ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.
2004: “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.
Top Television Buzzwords of 2007
“Surge,” “That’s Hot” “D’oh!” & “Blackout”
Top Television Buzzwords Impacting English Language
In ’06, ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ were named Top Television Buzzwords followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’
San Diego. September 16, 2007. The Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com) named “Surge” from the Iraq War political and military strategy, “That’s Hot®” Paris Hilton’s popular expression that is now a registered trademark, “D’oh!” from The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie, and “Blackout” from the Sopranos series finale as the top television buzzwords impacting Global English for the 2007 Season. Closely following are “YaTTA!” from Heroes and “McEmmys” from Grey’s Anatomy. Rounding out the Top Ten are “I like to have the answers before I ask the questions” from The Closer, “No miniskirts after 35!” from What Not to Wear, “Scranton” from The Office, “Oy vey!” from Criminal Minds, and “Peek, Copy and Save” from Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
“This year’s annual list capture’s the spirit of the times, for better or for worse. Themes, stars and shows may change at an every quickening pace, but this only reflects the world in which we live, more than we’d ever like to admit”, said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. Payack also mentioned that the word surge is a very strong contender for overall Word of the Year to be announced by the Global Language Monitor in December.
The Television Buzzwords are nominated by GLM’s Language Police, volunteer language observers scattered the world over. The words are then run through the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI}, the proprietary algorithm that analyzes the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere and then ranks the words according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.
The Top TeleWORDS are released in conjunction with 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, broadcast on the Fox Television Network on Sunday, September 16, from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Top TellyWORDS for Impact Upon the English Language in 2007 with commentary follows.
1. Surge (Iraq War) – A military and political strategy, on the lips of every politician.
2. “That’s Hot®!” (Paris Hilton) – Hilton owns the trademark to the phrase “That’s hot,” which was registered on Feb. 13th. What’s next? Britney trademarking ‘public breakdown’.
3. D’oh (The Simpsons) – As in dough, as the Simpsons’ leap to the silver screen grosses $485 million and counting.
4. Blackout (The Sopranos) – The series-ending episode redefined the word ‘cliffhanger’ since there was no ‘hanging’ about the cliff in any way, shape or form, rather a sharp plunge into the abyss.
5. YaTTA! (Heroes) – YaTTA! narrowly beats out “WTF, is going to happen now?”
6. he McEmmys (Grey’s Anatomy Actors and Alumni) – Grey’s Anatomy cast and alumni (AKA McDreamy & Crew) have a host of prime-time nominations
7. “ I like to have the answers before I ask questions.” (The Closer) – Kyra Sedgwick’s trademark ‘sassiness’ on display.
8. “No miniskirts after 35.” (What Not to Wear) – … nor white shoes after Labor Day. Stacy London and Clinton Kelly dissect fashion victims (and what led them to their present dire circumstance).
9. Scranton, or is it Wilkes-Barre? (The Office) – The extended mockumentary located in this gritty Northeast Pennsylvania city.
10. Oy Vey! Criminal Minds – Mandy Patinkin deserts the set, yet again.
Bonus Words: Peek, Copy and Save (Are you smarter than a Fifth Grader?) – Solid advice for anyone, in most circumstances, especially after 5th grade.
Top Words for 2006, 2005 and 2004
In 2006, ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ were named Top Television Buzzwords followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’.
In 2005, ‘Refugee’ from the on-going coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina topped ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.
In 2004, “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.
‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ named Top Television Buzzwords of 2006 Followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’
The Annual Survey by the Global Language Monitor
Released in Conjunction With the Prime Time Emmy Awards
San Diego, Calif. August 27, 2006. ‘Truthiness’ from the multi-Emmy nominated ‘Colbert Report’ was named the Top TeleWORD of the year in The Global Language Monitor’s (HTTP://www.LanguageMonitor.com) annual survey of words from television that profoundly influenced the English Language. In an unprecedented move, ‘Wikiality,’ also from the Colbert Report was named No. 2. Closely following were ‘Katrina’ referring to the on-going stories about the hurricane’s devestating destruction, ‘Katie’ in regard to Katie Couric’s move into the top seat at CBS News, and ‘Dr. McDreamy’ from the break-out drama, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
Rounding out the Top Ten were ‘Bush’s War,’ heard often on the News, ‘Man of the Hours,’ citing ’24’s’ Keifer Sutherland, ‘Tourette’s,’ from ‘I have Tourette’s but Tourette’s doesn’t have me,’ ‘Dysfunctional’ from ‘The Office,’ and ‘Falling Starr,’ referring to the ‘View’s’ embattled Starr Jones.
This year’s Bonus Phrase is ‘You’re going to Hollywood!’ from Simon Cowell’s wunderkind ‘American Idol’.
“Television, once again, has helped to define our culture and its impact upon spoken English is profound,“ said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor. “Some of these buzzwords will quickly pass, while others will be embedded in the language for years to come.” “Though ‘truthiness’ in some form has existed in the language for centuries, it could not have been revived in more relevant times than the early 21st century; while ‘wikiality’ can be observed even today, where Pluto has been voted out of the Solar System by a convention of Astronomers,” Payack concluded.
The San Diego-based media metrics and analysis company, The 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.
The Top TeleWORDS are released in conjunction with the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, to be broadcast from Los Angeles on Sunday, August 28th, at 8:00 pm Eastern on the NBC Television Network.
The Top TeleWORDS for the 2005 – 2006 Television season with commentary, follow:
1. Truthiness — (Colbert Report) Truth unemcumbered by the facts.
2. Wikiality — (Colbert Report) Reality as determined by majority vote. See Pluto, the former planet. First time ever with two words from the same show.
3. Katrina — (The News) First hit of the 2005-’06 season; unfortunately a direct hit on New Orleans.
4. Katie — (CBS Evening News) Did we ever refer to Walter Crondkite as Wally or Dan Rather as Dannie? Will Katie help us redefine the term, gravitas?
5. Dr. McDreamy — (Grey’s Anatomy) Patrick Dempsey follows in a long line of television ‘dream-boat’ physicians dating back to ‘Dr. Kildare’.
6. Bush’s War — (Heard often on the News) Echoing the label bestowed upon Mr. Lincoln (Mr. Lincoln’s War) two centuries past. After his assassination and the end of what we now know as the Civil War, Lincoln rose steadily in stature.
7. Man of the hours — (24) Keifer Sutherland finally gets the nod.
8. Tourette’s — (I have Tourette’s but Tourette’s doesn’t have me) Replaces Tony Sholub’s OCD as the lesser known disease going mainstream this season.
9. Dysfunctional — (The Office) The office as family, dysfunctional family that is.
10. Falling Starr — (The View) Starr Jones that is, in her battle with BaBa Walters.
Bonus Phrase: ‘You’re going to Hollywood!’ — (American Idol) Simon Cowell’s wunderkind might actually win an Emmy this time around.
Last year: ‘Refugee’ from the on-going coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina topped ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.
The previous year “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.
About the Global Language Monitor
San Diego, California-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. A worldwide assemblage of language professionals, teachers, wordsmiths and bibliophiles, supports the GLM to help monitor the latest trends in the evolution (and demise) of language, word usage and word choices. For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.
‘Refugee’ Tops ‘Desperation’ and ‘Camp Cupcake’ as Top Television Buzzword of the 2005
Year of Desperate Images Reflecting Harshness of Real Life Dominate TeleWORDS List
San Diego, California. October 13, 2005. ‘Refugee’ from the on-going coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina tops ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies as the Top Television Buzzword (TeleWORD) for the 2004-05 season, according to the Global Language Monitor, the media tracking and analysis company. Close behind were ‘Reality TV’ from The Real World, etc., and ‘Curmudgeon’ from House. Rounding out the Top Ten were “Its what we do” from Stargate SG-1, ‘Flip Flop’ from the 2004 U.S. Presidential Elections, ‘Backstory’ from Lost, ‘Tsunami’ from the South Asian earthquake, and ‘mobisodes’ or one minute episodes for mobile devices.
Words no longer Hip include Youre fired from The Apprentice and Mess O Potamia from The Daily Show. Words With Legs include “Yadda, yadda, yadda! from Seinfeld.
“This years list was dominated by reality far outstripping reality programming bringing a world of woes into the global living room,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor. “While desperation from Desperate Housewives began the television year in good fun, as the season progressed the world witnessed an on-going war, a tsunami, the death of a beloved Pope, and finally unanswered death and despair on the American Gulf Coast. Finally, the meaning of the word refugee has actually been altered by real-world horrors witnessed by hundreds of millions on live TV.”
The TeleWORDS List reflects those words and phrases that came to prominence during the 2004-05 television season or have had the greatest influence on the English Language. Words are nominated by a global panel of language experts and then analyzed by GLMs proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI).
The Television Buzzword List (TeleWORDS) for the 2004-05 Season is released in conjunction with the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, to be televised live on CBS on Sunday, September 18th from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The complete list, with commentary, follows.
The Top TeleWORDS of the 2004-05 Television Season
TeleWORDS / Show / Comment
Show: Ongoing coverage of the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
Comment: For millions, the word has now taken on a racial undertone and was subsequently replaced by evacuee and others.
Runners-up: Evacuee, displaced persons, Katrinees?
Show: Desperate Housewives/The Tsunami/Hurricane Katrina
Comment: Desperate Housewives began the television year in good fun, but as the year progressed the world witnessed an on-going war, a tsunami, the death of a beloved Pope, and finally unanswered death and despair on the American Gulf Coast.
3. Camp Cupcake
Show: The On-going Martha Stewart follies
Comment: The minimum security WV facility where Martha did her time.
Runner -Up: Ankle Bracelet
4. Reality TV
Show: The Real World, The Bachelor, Survivor Classic, The Simple Life, etc.
Comment: Real-world reality bested the manufactured kind by a long shot this television season.
Comment: Acerbic, caustic, antisocial, & mean-spirited; those are socially redeeming qualities of this brilliant physician.
6. “Its what we do.”
Show: Stargate SG-1
Comment: Stargate becomes the longest running Sci-Fi Series in the history of the medium.
7. Flip Flop
Show: The 2004 U.S. Presidential Elections
Comment: Formerly referred to gymnastic routines, pancakes, and dolphin acts; now transcends politics moving into pop culture.
Comment: Lost takes the story behind the story concept to the next level.
Show: The News
Comment: Before “The Tsunami” took a quarter of a million South Asian lives, most of the viewing audience had only a vague acquaintance with the word.
10. Mobisodes (Not another season of the Sopranos, but one-minute TV episodes designed specifically for mobile media.)
Show: Every ‘hip’ show worldwide.
Comment: Coming soon to a cell phone near you.
Words No Longer Hip
Word: “Youre Fired”
Show: The Apprentice
Comment: Top of last years TeleWORDS List, plunges in a precipitous decline.
Word: “Mess O Potamia”
Show: The Daily Show
Comment: Jon Stewart’s quip cuts a bit too close to reality these days.
Words With Legs
Words: “Yadda, yadda, yadda!”
Comment: During the summer, its repeats were besting Prime Time Network Comedies.
Largest Global Phenomenon of a Single Word:
Comment: American Idol writ large. Now more than two dozen Idol-type shows from South Africa to India.
Top Word From Down Under: Free to Air TV
Comment: For the first time, 2005 saw the cable industrys share of the TV market in the US, exceed that of Network Television.
Top TV Name in China: Mickey Mouse
Comment: Opening of the new Hong Kong Theme Park during Golden Week impacts the airwaves.
Coolest ‘unCool’ Series: New Zealands Fair Go
Comment: The show defends consumers against injustice, even battling (and winning) for a one-cent discrepancy
“You’re Fired!” Edges “Mess O’ Potamia” Atop Television Buzzwords (TeleWords) List for 2003-’04
Followed Closely “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”
Danville, California (September 16, 2004) “You’re Fired!”, Donald Trump’s trademark catchphrase from The Apprentice reality show tops the Television Buzzword List (TeleWords) for 2003-’04 Season according to the Global Language Monito ).
Close behind were “Mess O Potamia” from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, “Girlie Men,” from Californias Gov. Schwarzenegger, “God,” from Joan of Arcadia and Angels in America, and “Wardrobe Malfunction,” from the recent Miss Universe Pageant as well as Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Rounding out the Top Ten were: “Infectious disease,” from the ever-expanding C.S.I franchise, “OCD” for Tony Shaloub’s trademark Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from Monk, “The O.C.” as a geographic entity from The O.C., Extreme Makeover” from any of the reality-based show genre, and “Grim Reaper” from Dead Like Me.
Words No Longer Hip include “fahgeddaboutit” from The Sopranos, “Voted off the island”, from the Survivor series, and ” so ” as an intensive, as in ” so yesterday!” or “so not fair!” from Friends.
“Television has always had a disproportionate impact on culture, reverberating far beyond the confines of the studio world. This is true even in a year marked by extraordinary events,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor. “Weve chosen the words and phrases most likely to have a lasting impact on popular culture; Youre Fired! is but one example that we hear repeated endlessly in the media and on the internet, while “Mess O Potamia” more closely reflected world events.”
Television Buzzword List (TeleWords) for 2003-’04 Season is released in conjunction with the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards televised by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, September 19th from the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.
The complete list, with commentary, is shown below.
The Top TeleWords of the 2003-04 Television Season
TeleWords / Show / Comment
1. You’re Fired!
Show: The Apprentice
Comment: Donald Trump’s signature phrase
2. Mess O’ Potamia
Show: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Comment: More 18-49s get their news from Daily Show than mainstream media
3. Girlie Men
Show: Gov. Schwarzenegger of California
Comment: Transcends politics moving into pop culture
Show: Joan of Arcadia and Angels in America
Comment: Supreme Being made quite a comeback on the small screen
5. Wardrobe Malfunction
Show: Miss Universe Pageant; Super Bowl XXXVIII
Comment: Recent Miss Universe incident reinforces the phrase
6. Infectious Disease
Show: CSI Franchise
Comment: Evidently nothing can contain the CSI franchise
Comment: Tony Shaloub’s trademark Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
8. The O.C. as a geographic entity
Show: The O.C.
Comment: TV literally is a ‘geography of the mind’
9. Extreme Makeover
Show: From any of the reality-show genre
Comment: Both ‘extreme’ and ‘makeover,’ in any combination
10. Grim Reaper
Show: Dead Like Me
Comment: Hasn’t made such an impact in popular culture since Ingmar Bergman’s “Seventh Seal”
Words No Longer Hip
Show: The Sopranos
Comment: Forget about Fahgeddaboutit!
Word: Voted Off the Island
Show: Survivor Series
Comment: Voted off the TeleWord List
Word: ” so” as an intensive
Comment: As in “…so yesterday” or “…so not fair”
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.