“Twitter” Top Word of 2009

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"Twitter" follows "unfriend" and "admonish" as a 2009 word of the year.

The Global Language Monitor (GLM) named Twitter the top word of the year.

The GLM also announced 2009 top 10 phrases and top 10 names.

According to GLM’s Nov. 29  press release, the list results from a “proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.”

Paul JJ Payack, president of the Austin, Texas-based organization, made the following observation regarding the 2009 word of the year: “In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words.

“Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters. Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku. One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds,” he concluded.

And yes, you can follow Payack on Twitter.

The Top Words of 2009

1. Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters

2. Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare

3. H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu

4. Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy

5. Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love

6. 2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything

7. Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here

8. Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider

9. Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US

10. Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving

Top 10 words of the decade

According to GLM, “Top words of the decade were ‘Global Warming’, 9/11, and Obama followed by Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. ‘Climate Change’  was the top phrase, while ‘Heroes’ was the top name; bin-Laden was No. 2.”

The 2000-2003 lists were sponsored by GLM precedessor yourDictionary.com, of which Payack was founder.

A final word of admonishment

For those of us tiring of this theme, be relieved that Merriam-Webster released their 2009 word of the year on Nov. 19: admonish.

In that spirit, perhaps we can offer kind counsel that with all these individual pronouncements, perhaps these organizations risk becoming – well – a bit wordy.

Related links

About Global Language Monitor
Top Word of 2009: Twitter
Top Words of the Decade (2000-2009)
‘Unfriend’ named Oxford Dictionary’s 2009 Word of the Year

About Alison Cummings

Business Writing, Copywriting, Content Marketing.
Communications + Marketing + Technical Expertise.