Top words and phrases of 2013

Look, a twerk meme - 2 birds, 1 stone #

Look, a twerk meme – 2 birds, 1 stone #efficient

The Global Language Monitor has surveyed the English-speaking public and they have discovered what are the most popular words and phrases for 2013. In the process, the GLM have also revealed we are a nation on decline – hashtag sadface…

(from GLM):

The Top Words of 2013:

  1. 404  –  The near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet.
  2. Fail — The single word fail, often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavor.
  3. Hashtag  – The ‘number sign” and ‘pound sign’ reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hashtag.
  4. @Pontifex — The Hashage of the ever-more popular Pope Franciscus (Francis).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Sequestration – Middle English sequestren, from Old French, from Latin sequestrare, to hide away or isolate or to give up for safekeeping.
  10. Emancipate — Grows in importance as worldwide more women and children are enslaved in various forms of involuntary servitude.
  11. Filibuster — Extended debate in a legislative body to delay or prevent a vote on the matter.  Originally used to describe  Caribbean pirates  (freebooters) from the Spanish,  filibustero, and French, flibustier.
  12. Nano — Nano-technology, nano-machines, nano-weapons, some too horrible to contemplate (see Bill Joy’s self-replicating nanobots  resulting in a world of  ’grey goo’.)
  13. Twerking –  A dance mimicking various sexual postures and acts  made famous by Miley Cyrus..
  14. Deadlock — A generation ago it was called Checks and Balances, to the founders it was a delicate balancing of powers.
  15. Franken- — Top trending prefix on the list. Expanded in meaning to include any human-instigated activity that inadvertently spins out of control (see nano-).
  16. Meme – Internet Memes can best be conceived as Internet thoughts or ideas that are propagated through all varieties of electronic communications.
  17. Stalemate — Failure of all sides to reach a settlement or agreement. Example:  lack of a cease fire in the Syrian Civil War (100,000+ deaths and 1,000,000+ refugees).
  18. The Cloud — Where your data lands after you press <enter> (not to be mistaken for a play by Aristophanes).
  19. Phony —  One of President Obama’s favorite criticisms of his opponents, synonymous with bogus, spurious, sham, and fake.
  20. Comet — A  ’long-haired’ celestial object.  The late ’13 comet was predicted as the brightest in a thousand years (Fail.)

The Top Phrases of 2013:

  1. Toxic Politics
  2. Federal Shutdown
  3. Global Warming/Climate Change
  4. Federal Deficit
  5. Tread Lightly
  6. Boston Strong
  7. Marathon Bombing
  8. Chemical Weapons
  9. All Time High
  10. Rogue nukes


  1. Russ Newell

    Deficits are not bad. It is reasonable to run deficits. Think of how mortages work. You get to live in a house for 30 years before it is paid off. Republicans like Reagan and both Bushes ran deficits. It only became bad when a Democrat is President. This is Fox News hype that everyone seems to buy into. A good book: Ken Fisher’s
    “The Only Three Questions that Still Matter”:

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