Farewell to Letterman

Top Ten Words of 2010 on Letterman

Over the years the Global Language Monitor and David Letterman have crossed paths a number of times.  This Top Ten List send-up remains among our favorites!


EMOJI: Global Word of the Year for 2014




And Finally the Top Global English Word of the Year 2016, and it’s not a word … But rather a Meme!


Omran Daqneesh, bloodied and stunned, after he was pulled from the rubble in Aleppo, Syria

The world of language in the Industrialized West reflected the turmoil undergoing much of the political systems throughout the Year 2016 and continuing into early 2017.  However, it would be a mistake to characterize 2016 as a year with the World, as a whole, in Turmoil.  After all, having one nation exiting the EU block of some twenty-eight counties along with the the election of what by European Standards is a Center-Right government in the United States does not equate to 1914, 1939, the emergence of China onto the world economic stage earlier this century, or even the Global Economic Restructuring of 2008 and what continues to in its wake.

Since the Global Language Monitor began to use the newly available techniques and technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English at the turn of the 21st century, the tumult of the preceding twelve months can be put into a more or less shocking perspective.  After all, in 2009  GLM named ‘twitter’ as the Global English Word of the Year, not as a social media phenomenon but as a potential Weapon of Mass Disruption (or even destruction). Witness, one President Trump.

And even the whole idea of fake news and post-truth is a bit of an over-reaction. Of course, there needs to be put into place new methods of testing information.  Perhaps one of the oldest scholarly methods could be updated to the present day — with all information being checked against ‘original sources’.

The debate over what is news and what is truth has been ongoing since the dialogues of Plato, the monastic scriptoria of Medieval Europe, where an elaborate system was constructed to ensure that no discrepancies were introduced into Scripture or highly-prized scholarly works — before the coming of movable type and the printing press. Can you imagine the decibel-level of a discussion that played out over the misrepresentation of a single letter when dealing with the work of a Church Father, the Apostle Peter (or Paul), or the Word of  The Lord Himself?

There is the sense that we are witnessing an unprecedented historical event; historical in the sense that we now appear to be standing astride (or atop) a cusp in history, a delta, a decision point, what is now called a point of inflection or inflection point.

Watching the nightly news and reading the traditional (for the last two centuries, that is) media, one has the distinct sense that what they perceive as unprecedented almost chaotic circumstances is actually that of the normalcy of the new reality, that of communications at the speed of light that the internet has foisted upon us. 

We keep hearing about this most unusual of election cycles, but this is only true when looking through the prism (and historical construct) of the traditional news gathering operations. What is called the 24-hour News Cycle is actually just the tip of the Tsunami washing over the planet at a steady speed and ever-quicker pace.  Indeed, the nature of the beast hasn’t changed at all.  It is our outdated techniques, that haven’t kept up with the new reality:  News now emanates at the speed of thought, from thousands or, even, tens of thousands or even millions of sources.

Can you imagine the uproar in the monastic world when documents would be would be produced with little or no vetting against the time-honored standards?

In 2008 GLM published an article, “Is Merriam-Webster its own Best Frenemy,”  Where we noted that its newest additions to its Collegiate Dictionary, were older than most entering college students at the time (28 years vs 18!)  Indeed, for the most part, technology could solve most of the Post-truth and Fake News phenomenon.



1. Bigly — Things trending larger … bigly. Almost everything trended bigly thus far in 2016 from politics and foreign affairs, to terrorism and gun violence,

2, Brexit — The British Exit from the European Union provides a new vocabulary for future political breakups: Scotxit, Quebecxit and, even, Texit.

3. Non-binary — A legal term for a gender identity between male and female

4. Perhaps the first emoji. The unpronounceable symbol representing the singer formerly known as Prince.

5. Zika — Please note that Rio is not on this list; its spot was taken by the Zika Virus. A potential global pandemic with Rio as its epicenter.

6. Gun Culture / Gun Violence — Gun Culture/Gun Violence are neck-and neck in the ranking here.

7. Safe Place — In the US, places where students can retreat to avoid hearing unpleasant words; in the world, places protected from rape, crucifixion, being sold into slavery, and the like.

8. Heroin and Fentanyl — More deaths from opioids in the US than gun violence and auto accidents combined. Where is the outrage?

9. Hooya ha tah iti bin — “Son please don’t smuggle yourself.” Transliteration of a Somali mother’s plea to her son not to join the refugee flow into Europe.

10. Memory Care — Current euphemism for Alzheimer care.

11. Presumptive — Presumptive Republican nominee, presumptive Democratic nominee, presumptive prime minister, etc. In 2016 the word ‘presumptive’ is bigly.

12. Texticate — Facebook, messaging, twitter, email … everything is reduced to text… the textication of the world as we know it.

13. Clintonworld — The private world of Hil and Bill where many of the laws of the political world seem to be suspended. Cf. Steve Job’s ‘reality distortion field’.

14. Trumpism — The emerging political philosophy of the presumptive Republican candidate,whatever that may be.

15. Tennessine — New element on the periodic table, with Atomic number 117 and the symbol Ts. Some wags say to honor Bluegrass, more likely the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Word Fact:  Alternative spellings for Tenessee

Tanase, Tanasee, Tanase, Tanesi, Tanisee, Tannasie, Tannassie, Tannessee, Tannassy, Tansai, Tenasi, Tanasqui, Tenesay, Tennassee, Tenesee, Tenessee, Tennecy, Tennesy, Tennisee, Tinnace, Tinassee, Tonice, Tunasse, Tunassee, Tunese, Tunesee, Tunissee, Tunnissee.


Top Trending Business Buzzwords, 3rd Edition

Top Trending Business Buzzwords, 3rd Edition

The World of Business as Reflected in English Language Buzzwords, Second Edition

Austin, Texas, June 17, 2015 — The Global Language Monitor has announced the Top Business Buzzwords of the Year, for Global English, the world’s pre-eminent language of commerce.

It is often noted that the world of business includes its own specialized vocabulary, and this can certainly be found in the English language, the business language of the planet, said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  The Top Trending Business Buzzwords of 2015 represent some six continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language. This is the second annual ranking,

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.


Top 50 Business Buzzwords

Rank, Previous Rank, Change, Business Buzzword, Comment

2015       2013       Change Business Buzzword           Comment

1              1              0            Content   — Far and away the No. 1 Business Buzzword

2              37           35           Net-Net   — Consider a sportswriter for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team: The net-net for the Nets was the netting of the final shot.

3              10           7              Big Data   — Soon Human Knowledge will be doubling every second. ’Big’ does not begin to describe what’s coming at us.

4              19           15           At-the-end-of-the-day   — More likely the end of the quarter or fiscal year

5              2              -3            Social Media Reality — Social media impacts less than 15% of the Web

6              15           9              Offline / be offline — The statement is meaningless unless one includes cell phones, tablets, smart TVs, not to mention all atomic clocks.

7              41           34           Facetime   — Before it was a product, it was a meeting with a C-Level executive.

8              9              1              Ping   — High-tech lingo seeping into the mainstream; now it means to get back to you. Originally, a tool to send message packets to a network address to measure the time & quality of the response.

9              44           35           Rock-and-a-hard-place — A supposedly intractable situation though it usually gets back on track (Our ‘between Iraq and a hard place’ is being replaced because of the on-going political situation}

10           20           10           Win-Win — Much more positive than tie-tie or lose-lose

11           35           24           As if it was — Used some four times more than the correct as if it were. You know, conditional voice.

12           7              -5            Utilize (rather than use) — Please deflate the diction and utilize the word use

13           5              -8            Literally — Principally used in a non-literal situation, e.g., “Literally, an explosion of laughter.

14           11           -3            Any noun used as a verb — To concept. To ballpark, and the like …

15           6              -9            Guru — Someone moderately skilled in a subject or particular field (cf. rocket scientist or a brain surgeon).

16           42           26           Re-purpose — Finding a new use for an old solution. Unfortunately, anything thing can be re-purposed, including your job (or yourself).

17           8              -9            Robust — Applies to oh-so-many products: software, tablets (computer and otherwise), coffee, perfume, mileage, and hundreds of others

18           38           20           Value-add — P+E+VA, where Product (is P) + Enhancement (is Ε ), and Value add (is VA)

19           4              -15          Transparency — Remains a goal far from corporate reality; perhaps a handy scale would be 1} Opaque, 2} Translucent, 3) Transparent.

20           12           -8            Seamless — Seldom actually seamless (Cf. Obamacare website), often merely seem less or meaningless

21           3              -18          Sustainability — No. 1 Word in 2007; have been rising in BizBuzz every year

22           51           29           Hashtag — The number-sign and pound- sign grows more powerful every day.

23           16           -7            Bandwidth — Measurement of electronic communications devices to send and receive information with upper and lower limits

24           40           16           Glass is half-full — Used nine times more that glass is half empty

25           22           -3            Pro-active — Evidently better than amateur-active

26           46           20           Quick-and-dirty — Cited tens of thousands of times; we prefer quick-and-clean

27           18           -9            Synergy — The interaction of two efforts that result in a greater return than the sum of the two

28           14           -14          The Cloud — Everything (and everyone) now apparently lives in the cloud through networking clouds pre-date the web by a decade or two

29           36           7              In the Cloud — Yes, dwelling within the Cloud merits a special mention.

30           21           -9            Game changer — A step way below a paradigm-shift but still usually an exaggeration nonetheless.

31           48           17           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.

32           13           -19          Moving Forward — From the results of those countless moving forwards, moving sideways might be more appropriate

33           23           -10          Rock Star — Whats the hierarchy among Guru, Rocket Scientist, Brain Surgeon, and Rock Star?

34           39           5              Future proof — In reality, an impossible feat because it assumes you are cognizant of future events; in Marketing, just another day of concepting.

35           47           12           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).

36           33           -3            Ballpark — Another name for a guesstimate (another baseball allusion).

37           31           -6            Multi-task — Swapping in and out of tasks quickly is the key to multitasking not doing many things as once which actually decreases productivity (as imagined by Dave Nelson and other tech industries leaders in the 1970s).

38           30           -8            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?

39           26           -13          Resonate — Produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound, belief or emotion

40           29           -11          Deliverable — An output, product, result, or outcome; a term of great flexibility.

41           27           -14          Monetize — The attempt to transmute Internet lead into gold.

42           34           -8            Flounder — A ship might founder along New England’s rocky coastline. Over time the act of foundering became collated with flounder the fish. Your grasp of the language is telegraphed by this confusion.

43           32           -11          Rocket science — One step up (or down) from a guru; nearly equivalent to a Brain surgeon).

44           17           -27          New paradigm — Revolutionary new ideas that change the then-existing worldview; think Copernicus, think Newton, think Einstein, most definitely not your next product.

45           28           -17          Double Down — To double an investment in an already risky proposition.

46           43           -3            Brain surgery — One step up (or down) from a guru; equivalent to a Rocket Scientist.

47           45           -2            Bleeding edge — Leading edge of the leading edge (top ten percent).

48           50           2              Low-hanging fruit — Easy pickin’s for the sales force; unfortunately, obsolete since 2008

49           24           -25          30,000 foot level — Let’s decide if we are viewing the topic from the 30,000-, 40,000-, or 100,000-foot level. Airlines typically fly at a 35,000-foot cruise level

50           49           -1            Herding cats — Used in high-tech circles for several decades regarding controlling headstrong engineers, a seemingly impossible task.

51           25           -26          Out-of-the-Box (experience) — OOBE is ever more important to the marketing of consumer electronic devices.

This study is updated from earlier in 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 375,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.

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.  Previous to this Payack was the founding president at yourDictionary.com, and a senior executive for a number of leading high tech companies.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas 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, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

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 1.512.201.6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com


Egad! What’s the ‘chad’ ?


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 HistoryChads through history
glossaryNot 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


“ArnoldSpeak” Has Crowds Listening (2003)

Arnoldspeak” Has Crowds Listening

By Arthur Spiegelman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He may mispronounce “California” and his plans for the state have been slammed as a series of “one-liners”. But even critics concede that Arnold Schwarzenegger is an effective communicator on the campaign trail.

In a page lifted from the playbook of his idol Ronald Reagan, another actor turned politician, the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger may not say much, but he says it well and often in the same way — except when he gets into a tangle over past remarks.

As far as accents go, the experts say count his as endearingly Central European. He is no “Dr. Strangelove” as Henry Kissinger was once perceived. And like a lot of politicians, Schwarzenegger seems to have a love affair with the ninth letter of the alphabet. He frequently begins sentences with “I shall”, “I will”, and “I am proud”.

He also likes to use the words “the people” and, befitting an actor who made a fortune from three films with the name “Terminator” in them, he also likes to use that noun and its verb form “terminates.”

Take for example these comments he made about “the twin Terminators of Sacramento”, Gov. Gray Davis and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante: “They have terminated jobs. They have terminated growth. They terminated dreams. It is time to terminate them.”

But where he gets into trouble, and where his wife had to put her hand over his month the other day on the Oprah show, is when he talks about women and sex as he has publicly since bursting onto the scene as a bodybuilder extraordinaire in the 1970s.

With the recall election heading into an October homestretch — courts permitting — Schwarzenegger has emerged as a polished political performer along the lines of Reagan, according to Paul J.J. Payack, president of the language monitoring Web site YourDictionary.com.


Payack says that the public is finding Schwarzenegger’s accent endearing. “He is both the ’Kindergarten Cop’ and ’The Terminator’. He is endearing. He is a total package and is very astute at putting himself together.” Payack told Reuters.

With Arnold, people see his accent as friendly and familiar not frightening as in ’Dr Strangelove’. His is not a gravely, mumbly Kissinger accent,” Payack said, adding:

He is a bright guy. He has a plan and he has been executing it. He is well-scripted and he follows the example of Ronald Reagan of ’You don’t have to say a lot but you have to say it well.’”

While avoiding debates with his opponents, Schwarzenegger has been a frequent guest on friendly celebrity talk shows — doing, for example, both the Howard Stern radio programme and Larry King’s TV show in the same day where his comments on one show were pretty much the same as the other.

On these programs and on Oprah, he has been defending himself against charges of sexism that stemmed from both a 1977 interview he gave to a men’s magazine and to other comments about women he made over the years, including an article in Esquire last July about the latest “Terminator” movie:

When you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offer…. But then again there is the one that is as smart as her breasts look, great as her face looks, beautiful as her whole body looks gorgeous, you know, so people are shocked.”

This comment and another one he made about the pleasure he had in sticking his female co-star’s head in a toilet in one scene led him to a strained explanation the other at a campaign appearance:

In ’Terminator’ we had this unbelievable fight scene, me against a female terminator and what was great about it was because we could do things, because we were two machines.

We could hit each other. We were trying to destroy each other, me picking her up upside down and stuffing her down the toilet. She wasn’t a woman. Because she was a machine. That’s what I was trying to explain. Do you get it? It has nothing to do with women or anti-women. I love women. Trust me.”

Maybe Ronald Reagan wouldn’t say it in exactly that way.

© 2006 Reuters Click for restrictions