The Top 2013 Words

19 Nov


I found a Buzzfeed article called The 10 Most 2013 Words. This list came from the Global Language Monitor and includes words, phrases and names that are representative of the year 2013. These words are based on media; blogs, internet, social media, print and electronic media. These words were found world-wide and had to have both a large depth and breadth. Depth is that it appears in many different forms of media. Breadth is that it must be used all over the world.

In order for the words to be considered for the list, it had to be seen at least 25000 times. Buzzfeed`s article focuses on the top ten words. However, it also mentions the two three phrases and names of the year.

Top 3 Phrases Toxic PoliticsFederal DeficitAll Time High
Top 3 Names Pope FrancisKate MiddletonEdward Snowdon

It is really interesting to think what the top 10 words of the year are.

Word Meaning
Emancipate To set free, especially from legal, social, or political restrictions
Sequestration To legally take possession of assets
Deficit The amount by which something, usually a sum of money, is too small
Drones Remote-controlled, pilotless aircrafts or missiles
Surveillance Close observation, especially of a suspected spy or criminal
The Optic Threatening to overtake ‘the narrative’ as the Narrative overtook rational discourse
@Pontifex Pop Francis` Twitter
Hashtag The sign (#) used to identify tweets on a specific topic
Fail To be unsuccessful
404 An error message displayed by a browser indicating that an internet address cannot be found

Some of these words do not surprise me at all. The one that really did not surprise me was the word ‘hashtag’.  It is becoming the norm and used constantly. Even television shows have been encouraging their audience to tweet in things using #____. At first Twitter was the only form of social media that used a hashtag but that is no longer the case.  I don’t even have Twitter but I still have been readily exposed to the words. Earlier this year, Facebook introduced the hashtag and Instagram has the feature that you can search for particular hashtags. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake recorded a video that essentially makes fun of hashtags ( . They use a hastag basically every other word to make their point.

One that I was surprised was on the list is ‘fail’.  I actually thought that this was becoming less common as other words were being used. However, apparently, this is still the norm.  People use the word fail in many different contexts. It is now being used as a slang-like term. If someone is unimpressed or if something goes wrong, they throw in the world fail. I don’t hear it so much anymore but a few years ago, I heard it on a regular basis.

I was not so familiar with the words ‘sequestration’ and ‘the optic’.  Maybe I was just unaware of them but I find it interesting that I do not really know 2 of the 10 words that best represent the year.

Something else interesting about the list on the Global Language Monitor website is that it includes things like the top words of the decades as well as the top 3 words, phrases and names for previous years up to 2000.


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