GLM’s Top Words of the Year Record the History of the 21st Century. Many of the shifts first noted by the trend and narrative-tracking techniques of GLM can be found here, also.
‘Truth’ is Top Word, ‘Weinstein Effect’ the Top Phrase and ‘Xi Jinping’ the Top Name in Global English for 2017
Summary: “Since the turn of the century, the Global Language Monitor has been naming the words of global English that have had the most profound influence upon the language, the culture, and/or the world of the 21st century,” said Paul JJ Payack, President, and Chief Word Analyst. “GLM ‘s methodology, true to its Silicon Valley heritage, is to examine the totality of Global English with the tools now available to better understand the underlying trends that shape our words and, hence, our world. Our goal remains to detect these small changes in the language that often presage titanic shifts in the way humans communicate.”
The Global Language Monitor’s 18th Annual Edition
For Immediate Release,
For More Information, call 001.512.801.6823 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com.
November 16, 2017, Austin, Texas – Truth has been named the 2017 Word of the Year for Global English (#WOTY2017) by the Global Language Monitor, in its eighteenth annual global analysis. In addition, the Weinstein Effect has been named the Top Phrase and Chinese leader Xi Jingping the Top Name of 2017. Following ‘Truth’ were the words Narrative, Opioids, Awoke, and Nuclear Option. Rounding out the Top Ten were Deep State, Robot Apocalypse, Higher Level of Fake News, Blessee, and Lean Into.
“Since the turn of the century, the Global Language Monitor has been naming the words of global English that have had the most profound influence upon the language, the culture, and/or the world of the 21st century,” said Paul JJ Payack, President, and Chief Word Analyst.
“GLM ‘s methodology, true to its Silicon Valley heritage, is to examine the totality of Global English with the tools now available to better understand the underlying trends that shape our words and, hence, our world.
Our goal remains to detect these small changes in the language that often presage titanic shifts in the way humans communicate.”
In the recent past, some of the shifts first noted by the trend and narrative-tracking techniques of GLM include:
- The use of number sequences as clearly defined words (Y2k, Web 2.0)
- The use of Twitter as a new form of stylized human communication (2008)
- The introduction of emoji symbols as an addition to and transformation of the alphabet (2012)
- The rise of the Narrative presaging the rise of ‘fake news’ and the decline of ‘truth-based’ journalism. (2006)
- The mounting impact of the ‘sustainability’ and ‘Green’ movements (2006)
- The Rise of Microaggressions as a significant form of ‘bullying’ (2015)
- The continued emergence of English as the first truly global language (2000-)
- Big Data as the most frequently used but least understood word in High Technology (2011)
- The application of data mining techniques to global English to better understand the significance of global events and trends (2013)
- The Rise of China as the most significant (and de-stabilizing) event of the 21st century, thus far. (2008)
- Unveiling the racist underpinnings behind the rise of Fake News.
GLM has used these technologies to track political and social trends.
The eighteenth year of the 21st century provided words that accompanied the outsized geopolitical events of the age: nuclear diplomacy, shattered trade alliances, the rise (and re-emergence) of nationalism in various parts of the planet, as well as varying degrees of ‘wokeness’ and intense debates over the role of the past in the present-day world. Perhaps, most surprisingly, a debate over the nature of truth worthy of Athenian philosophers, of 12th-century Schoolmen — and the 18th c. Founders is currently quite the rage.
Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Words of the Year for Global English
Rank, Word, Previous Rank, Definition
- Truth (1) — Let’s face it. The conversation is all about truth, or lack thereof.
- Narrative (2) — As GLM noted in ’08, Narratives began replacing facts in politics; a harbinger to ‘fake news’.
- Opioids (10) — More deaths than gun violence and automobiles crashed combined.
- Post-Truth (16) — Objective facts are less influential than appeals to emotion or the prevailing narrative.
- Woke (New) — Awakening to issues of social and racial justice.
- Brexit (4) — [United Kingdom] Definition according to Theresa May: “Brexit means Brexit”.
- Blessee (New) — [RSA, South Africa] Those who are shown financial favor through a ‘Sugar Daddy’ (New)
- Non-binary (13) — Gender identity defined as neither male nor female.
- Anthropocene (15) — The current geological time period where human activities have had a major environmental impact on the Earth.
- Latinx (11) — Neologism for the Hispanic heritage of any stripe.
- Ransomware (New) — A type of malware where targeted sites are ‘captured’ and rendered useless until a ransom is paid to the hackers.
- Tradie (New) — [Australia] Short for any worker in the trades: tradesmen, e.g., electricians (sparkies), truckers (truckies), chippies (carpenter) and the like.
- Flip (New) — Any quick financial transact5on meant to turn a quick profit, particularly involving real estate.
- Covfefe — The Trumpian Typo Heard ‘Round the world.
- #Resist — From Latin resistere, from re- + sistere to take a stand
- Appropriation (Cultural) — Now refers to the exploitation of an ‘ethnic’ culture by those of white European heritage.
Missed the Cut and former rank: Antifa (18), Alt-right (17), Bigly (5), and Populism (19)
Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Top Phrases of the Year for Global English
Rank, Word, Previous Rank, Definition
- Weinstein Effect (New) — (#MeToo) Emboldened women across the globe confront those who have been abused them in their past.
- Nuclear Option (7) — The use of nuclear weapons by either side in the on-going and decades-long North Korean standoff.
- Deep State (New) — The idea that entrenched bureaucracies, beholden to no one, controlling the ship of state with little concern for elected officials. In effect, a ‘Shadow’ government
- For Real (FR) (New) — [Indian] It took a half a century for the hip lingo of Venice Beach to proliferate to the call centers of India as FR.
- Robot Apocalypse (New) — The oncoming usurpation of Humankind by robots and other advanced forms of Artificial Intelligence.
- Fake News (New) — A higher level (and far more dangerous method controlling the news) through special relationships, the tight control of events, planting sources, and keeping the actual facts to a tight inner circle.
- Lean Into (New) — Being totally committed (or lean into) a cause, an initiative, or career choice.
- Non-binary (13) — Gender identity defined as neither male nor female.
- Memory Care (14) — Euphemism for treating Alzheimer and other forms of dementia
- Cultural Appropriation — Now refers to the exploitation of an ‘ethnic’ culture by those of white European heritage.
Missed the Cut and former rank: Alt-right (17), Dumpster Fire (9), Nuclear Option for US Senate (6), and Safe Place (20).
Global Language Monitor’s 2017 Top Names of the Year
- Xi Jinping — General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
- Donald J. Trump — President of the United States of America; Trump took the Top Honors in 2016 and 2015.
- Pope Francis — Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City.
- Angela Merkel — Angela Dorothea Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
- Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin — President of Russia
- Theresa May — P)rime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Kim Jung Un — North Korean Strongman
- Narendra Modi — Prime Minister of India
- Donald Tusk — President of the European Commission
- Shinzō Abe — Prime Minister of Japan
- Justin Trudeau — Prime Minister of Canada
The Top Words, Phrases, and Names since the Turn of the Century
Top Words: No. 1 Truth, No. 2 Narrative, No. 3, #Resist
Top Phrases: No. 1 Make America Great Again No. 2 When they go low, we go high No. 3 The Electoral College
Top Names: No. 1 Donald Trump, No. 2 Vladimir Putin, No. 3 Neil Gorsuch
Top Words: No. 1 Microaggression (Safe Space, Trigger, Unsafe, Snowflake, White Privilege)
Top Phrases: No. 1 Migrant Crisis, No. 2 Je Suis Charlie, No. 3 Almond Shaming
Top Names: No. 1 Donald J. Trump, No. 2 Alan Kurdi, No. 3 Pope Francis
Top Words: No. 1 The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love), No. 2 Hashtag, No. 3 Vape
Top Phrases: No. 1 Hands Up, Don’t Shoot; No. 2 Cosmic Inflation, No. 3 Global Warming
Top Names: No. 1 Ebola, No. 2 Pope Francis, No. 3 World War
Top Words: No. 1 ’404’, No.2 Fail, No.3 Hashtag
Top Phrases: No. 1 Toxic Politics, No. 2 Federal Shutdown, No.3 Global Warming/Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1. Pope Francis, No. 2 ObamaCare, No.3 NSA
Top Words: No. 1 Apocalypse / Armageddon, No.2 Deficit, No. 3 Olympiad
Top Phrases: No. 1 Gangnam Style, No. 2 Climate Change/Global Warming, No. 3 Fiscal Cliff
Top Names: No. 1 Newtown and Malala Yousafzai, No. 3 Xi Jinping
Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Arab Spring, No. 2 Royal Wedding, No.3 Anger and Rage
Top Names: No. 1 Steve Jobs, No. 2 Osama bin-laden and Seal Team Six, No.3 Fukushima
Top Words: No. 1 Spillcam, No. 2 Vuvuzela, No. 3 The Narrative
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama
Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama
Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 “Yes, We Can!”
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps
Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore
Top Word: Sustainable
Top Phrase: Stay the Course
Top Name: Dafur
Top Words: No. 1, Refugee No. 2: Tsunami No. 3: Katrina
Top Phrase: Outside the Mainstream
Top Name: (acts of ) God
Top Word: Incivility (for inCivil War)
Top Phrase: Red States/Blue States No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Dubya/Rove
Top Word: Embedded
Top Phrase: Shock and Awe, No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Saddam Hussein, No. 2 Dubya
Top Word: Misunderestimate
Top Phrase: Threat Fatigue
Top Name: W (Dubya)
Top Word: Ground Zero
Top Phrase: ‘Lets Roll’
Top Name: The Heros
Top Word: Chad
Top Phrase: Dot.com
Top Name: W (Dubya)
Methodology: The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 2.35 billion speakers (January 2018 estimate) 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 300,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
For More Information, go to LanguageMonitor.com or call 001.512.801.6823.
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 Global English Word of 2016 is a Meme
May 1, 2017, Austin, TEXAS and NEW YORK — The Global Language Monitor (GLM) today announced that the Global English Word of the Year for 2016 is not a word but a meme: the blood-soaked image of Omran Daqneesh, five years old, sitting in an ambulance while awaiting treatment in Allepo, Syria.
The Global Language Monitor (GLM) also announced that Truth is the Word of the Year for 2017.
2016 Words of the Year
Top Word of 2016 is a meme: Omran Daqneesh, Five years old, Allepo, Syria
|2||Refugee||A term used to describe migrants that were forced from their homeland by war or civil unrest.|
|3||Bigly||Of considerable size, number, quantity, extent, or magnitude; large.|
|4||Brexit||British Exit from the European Union|
|5||Zika||Virus transmitted by mosquitoes associated with increased incidence of microcephaly in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy. Impacted attendance at the Rio Games|
|6||Opioids||More deaths than gun violence and automobiles combined|
|7||Microaggression||The brief, everyday exchanges that send mostly unintended derogatory messages to members of various minority groups. Related to the following terms:|
|8||Climate Changing||GLM will now use the gerund form of the verb ‘change’ to recognize the fact of on-going, continuous condition.|
|9||Post-truth||Oxford: objective facts are less influential than appeals to emotion or the narrative|
|10||Anthropocene||The current geological age, viewed as the period during in which human activity has been a significant influence on climate and the environment;|
|11||White Privilege||Societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic conditions.|
|12||Rio Olympics||The 2016 Summer Olympics, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016,|
|13||Alt-Right||Oxford: objective facts are less influential than appeals to emotion or the narrative|
|14||Wikileaks||Publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources.|
|15||Trans||Abbreviation for transgender, people who identify with the opposite of their physical characteristics.|
|16||Snowflake||What unconcerned students call those with the need for safe spaces and warnings about possible trigger events|
|17||Populism||Political movement claiming to represent the interests of ordinary people against the elite and privileged|
|18||Migrant||A term that includes refugees from economic, climatalogical changes, and others issues not directly related to war.|
|19||Evolve||The evolution of the word ‘flip-flop’ in political jargon. More like ‘survival of the fittest,’ it only occurs until the voters first shift their views on a particular subject.|
|20||Thug||Brought to renewed attention by President Obama; from the Hindi (and Sanskrit) words describing Aryan assassins.|
The Global Language Monitor © 2017, 2016 All Rights Reserved
During the last 18 months, 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, said Paul JJ Payack, presdent and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.
However, it would be a mistake to characterize this time 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, 1968, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the on-going Middle East conflagration, and/or the emergence of China onto the world economic stage earlier this century, or even the Global Economic Restructuring of 2008 and what continues in its wake.
If you kept abreast of the daily press reports, you would think an outbreak of mass hysteria or at least amnesia had swept over the nations of the West. The world’s leading print and electronic media acted as if the concept of truth had been circumvented, or even, contravened, and sounded alarm after alarm that what we all knew as facts were no longer discernible. The source of this disruption in the news cycle, of course, was what came to be known as fake news and post-truth.
As the various organizations that announced their particular choices for their Words of the Year (WOTY), 2016 had the dubious distinction of being labeled a ‘dumpster-fire’ by the American Dialect Society thereby furthering the concept of fake news. How else could a phrase that was scarcely uttered anywhere in the world in 2016 be chosen for this ‘honor’?
For historical comparisons of a number of the terms used in this analysis, GLM used the Google Ngram Viewer. You can use the Ngram Viewer to chart frequencies of comma-delimited search strings. The Google Ngram Viewer uses yearly counts from sources printed between 1500 and 2008, though in some cases later dates of publications are included.
Figure 1. Relative Frequency of citations among words used to describe the Top Words of the Year for 2016
Figure 2. Close-up on Relative Frequency Among Some Top Words of the Year for 2016
Figure 3. Comparisons for the Words Truth Vs. Lie Since 1740
This is why early in the century, the Global Language Monitor put into place a methodology that clearly states that each considered word or phrase must adhere to the published criteria (see below). The methodology calls for words and phrases from the entire global English linguasphere to be considered, as well as each fulfilling geographic and demographic requirements. This automatically excludes the lists created by those organizations that rely on polls and other such non-scientific tools
A Methodology Optimized for the Wired World -- GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now approaches some 2.38 billion people, who use the language as a first, second, business language. To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet three criteria: 1) found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have 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. The goal is to find the word usage that will endure the test of time.
Global Language Monitor began to use newly available technologies to document the Words of the Year for Global English at the turn of the 21st century, with the idea to encapsulate and capture the essence of the preceding twelve months in a sort of linguistic amber.
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.
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, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.
For more information, call 1.512.801-6823, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.
Apocalyptic language has been widely cited as word of the year worthy for the last several years — and rightly so. In fact, Apocalypse and Armageddon took Global Language Monitors’ honors as Top Global English Words of 2012. And though GLM’s proprietary algorithms have displayed a predictive element, it’s entirely possible that Apocalyptic language did indeed peak some three years too soon.
The Top Words, Phrases, and Names since the Turn of the Century
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