The Top Words of 2013


The Top Words of 2013 follow Rank / Word / Comments
01. 404  –  The near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet.
02. Fail — The single word fail, often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavor.
03. Hashtag  – The ‘number sign” and ‘pound sign’ reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hashtag.
04. @Pontifex — The Hashage of the ever-more popular Pope Franciscus (Francis).
05. 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.
06. 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.
07. 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.
08. 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.
09. 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  (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.)
List borrowed from “The Global Language Monitor