Top Words


Gangnam Style



variations thereof






The Cloud











The 47



The Top Words of 2012 follow Rank/ Word / Comments

  1. Apocalypse / Armageddon, and variations thereof  – The word Apocalypse has been in ascendance in the English for more than 500 years.  However,recent years has witnessed an unprecedented resurgence of the word.
  2. Deficit — Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade. Note to economists of stripes:  reducing the rate of increase of deficit spending actually increases the deficit.
  3. Olympiad — The Greeks measured time by the four-year interval between the Games.  Moderns measure it by medal counts, rights fees and billions of eyeballs.
  4. Bak’tun — A cycle of  144,000 days in the Maya ‘Long Count’ Calendar. This bak’tun ends on December 21, 2012, also being called the Mayan Apocalypse.  (Actually Maya ‘long-count’ calendars stretch hundreds of millions of years into the future, December 21st merely marks the beginning of a new cycle.)
  5. Meme – Internet Memes can best be conceived as thoughts or ideas rather than words, since they can and often do encompass sounds, photos, and text.  Memes are propagated through every imaginable form of electronic communications, eventually surfacing in the traditional print and electronic media.
  6. MOOC – Massive Open Online Course; the nature of higher education is changing and MOOC is the phenomenon to watch.
  7. The Cloud — Neither the play by Aristophanes nor a forgotten title by Hitchcock, but rather where your data heads after you press <enter>.
  8. Omnishambles — From the UK and the top word of the Oxford American Dictionary team, where everything, everywhere  seems to be in a state of disarray.
  9. Frankenstorm — Superstorm’s Sandy’s colloquial name. From a meteorologist’s lips to a globally recognized neologism within a few hours.
  10. Obesogenic  – An environment that tends to encourage obesity.  Lately it has been used to describe television advertisement that promote sugary and high-calorie snacks to kids.
  11. Hen — The Swedish attempt to create a gender-neutral pronoun to replace him or her or combinations thereof:  hen.
  12. Derecho — A ‘land hurricane,’ a sudden storm with extremely strong, one-directional winds, such as the storm that swept from the Midwest into the Washington, D.C. area earlier this year.
  13. Hashtag — The ‘pound sign’ reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hash tag; what next a re-branding of the period as a ‘full stop’.
  14. Drones — Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are piloted remotely or by on-board computers; mostly used for military applications.
  15. Fracking — The extraction of fossil fuels by hydraulic fracturing in rock formations, and injecting fluids to force the release of hitherto inaccessible hydrocarbons.
  16. Phobes — The Loyal Opposition? How 19th c. of you.  Opponents (of either side) are now cast as fear-filled and hateful phobes or haters.
  17. Superfood — An non-scientific term used to describe foods that are calorie sparse and nutrient dense.
  18. The 47 — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney characterization of the percentage of Americans who pay no Federal taxes.
  19. YOLO — You Only Live Once meant to convey derision or astonishment.
  20. Adorkable — The rise of the Nerds!  A portmanteau word from dork and adorable.

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