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…
The Top Words of 2013:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’.)
- Twerking – A dance mimicking various sexual postures and acts made famous by Miley Cyrus..
- Deadlock — A generation ago it was called Checks and Balances, to the founders it was a delicate balancing of powers.
- Franken- — Top trending prefix on the list. Expanded in meaning to include any human-instigated activity that inadvertently spins out of control (see nano-).
- Meme – Internet Memes can best be conceived as Internet thoughts or ideas that are propagated through all varieties of electronic communications.
- 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).
- The Cloud — Where your data lands after you press <enter> (not to be mistaken for a play by Aristophanes).
- Phony — One of President Obama’s favorite criticisms of his opponents, synonymous with bogus, spurious, sham, and fake.
- 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:
- Toxic Politics
- Federal Shutdown
- Global Warming/Climate Change
- Federal Deficit
- Tread Lightly
- Boston Strong
- Marathon Bombing
- Chemical Weapons
- All Time High
- Rogue nukes