What Were the Most Popular Words of 2010?


It’s mid-November, which means it’s time for early wrap-ups of the year. Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor, a company that tracks uses of language around the world, has just released their list of top words and phrases of 2010. The survey uses formulas to track the frequency of words and phrases used in the 1.58 billion-member English speaking world. As Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM explained, “Our top words this year come from an environmental disaster, the World Cup, political malapropisms, news sense to ancient words, a booming economic colossus, and a heroic rescue that captivated the world for days on end.” Click through for the list of top 10 words of the year.

1. Spillcam – The shorthand for the video feed of BP’s oil leak took top honors this year.

2. Vuvuzela – Those annoying, colorful plastic horns are now synonymous with the 2010 World Cup.

3. The Narrative – The political buzzword that came to replace a candidate or party’s platform was the third most used word of the year.

4. Refudiate – The fourth most used word of the year doesn’t clear our spellcheck. It was famously “invented” when Sarah Palin mashed the words “refute” and “repudiate.” As she later tweeted, “Shakespeare liked to coin new words too.”

5. Guido and Guidette – Guess how these slang terms made it to spot number 5…

6. Deficit – As the US economy struggled in “the great recession” (the #3 phrase of the year), worry over trade deficits and the national debt got plenty of coverage.

7. Snowmaggedden (and Snowpocalypse) – The snowfall totals from last winter were enough to deserve the coined of “Snowmaggeden,” although wouldn’t it be cool if it were a smash-hit film?

8. 3-D – Perhaps with the massive launch of James Cameron’s Avatar, 3-D — in reference to movies and now even TVs — looks like it has finally arrived.

9. Shellacking – The most recently coined word on the list, shellacking’s stock sky rocketed when President Obama used it to describe the Democrat’s losses in midterm elections this year.

10. Simplexity – This combination of “simple” and “complex” refers to the paradox of making complex ideas even more convoluted when trying to simplify them.