Twitter Was The Most Used Word In 2009


Global Language Monitor is a Texas based company that measures the most commonly used words in the English language every year.  It turns out that the number one most used word of 2009 was “Twitter.” Following Twitter was the words “Barack Obama” and “H1N1″ at second and third place, respectively.  Other words that were included in the top 10 list was stimulus, vampire, 2.0, deficit, Hadron, healthcare, and transparency.  The full press release of the list is available after the jump.

Top Word of 2009: Twitter

Followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire

“King of Pop” is Top Phrase; “Obama” is top name

Austin, TX November 29, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language.  Twittered was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was No. 6, with Deficit, Hadron the object of study of CERN’s new atom smasher, Healthcare, and Transparency rounded out the Top 10.

“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,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor.  “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.”

The Top Words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.

The Top Words of 2009

Phrase             Comments

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

11.        Outrage — In response to large bonuses handed out to ‘bailed-out’ companies

12.        Bonus — The incentive pay packages that came to symbolize greed and excess

13.        Unemployed — And underemployed amount to close to 20% of US workforce

14.        Foreclosure — Forced eviction for not keeping up with the mortgage payments

15.        Cartel — In Mexico, at the center of the battle over drug trafficking

The Top Phrases of 2009

Phrase                         Comments

1.         King of Pop –Elvis was ‘The King;’ MJ had to settle for ‘King of Pop’

2.         Obama-mania — One of the scores of words from the Obama-word stem

3.         Climate Change — Considered politically neutral compared to global warming

4.         Swine Flu — Popular name for the illness caused by the H1N1 virus

5.         Too Large to Fail — Institutions that are deemed necessary for financial stability

6.         Cloud Computing — Using the Internet for a variety of computer services

7.         Public Option — The ability to buy health insurance from a government entity

8.         Jai Ho! — A Hindi shout of joy or accomplishment

9.         Mayan Calendar — Consists of various ‘cycles,’ one of which ends on 12/21/2012

10.       God Particle — The hadron, believed to hold the secrets of the Big Bang

The Top Names of 2009

Name                           Comments

1.         Barack Obama — It was Obama’s year, though MJ nearly eclipsed in the end

2.         Michael Jackson — Eclipses Obama on internet though lags in traditional media

3.         Mobama — Mrs. Obama, sometimes as a fashion Icon

4.         Large Hadron Collider — The Trillion dollar ‘aton smasher’ buried outside Geneva

5.         Neda Agha Sultan — Iranian woman killed in the post-election demonstrations

6.         Nancy Pelosi –The Democratic Speaker of the US House

7.         M.  Ahmadinejad — The president of Iran, once again

8.         Hamid Karzai — The winner of Afghanistan’s disputed election

9.         Rahm Emmanuel — Bringing ‘Chicago-style politics’ to the Administration

10.       Sonia Sotomayor — The first Hispanic woman on the US Supreme Court

The analysis was completed in late November using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the 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.

The Top Words of the Decade were Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistance Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed.  “Climate Change” was top phrase; “Heroes” was top name.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

Twitter Was The Most Used Word In 2009 Comments

  1. jamesmartyn says:

    I am not shocked with that news. first of all twitter doesn't have any comparators. And if you think twitter is on great level then you are wrong. Because many of Middle asian countries people not using it. I heard there are many stars joining twitter like Shahrukh, Jakie and JUnior Bachhan. so we hope that there are many users will be join us. and we can't forgot 50% population is from India and China.

    r4

  2. Phil says:

    Interesting to see "Twitter" above more important issues. Phil from wedding toasting flutes

  3. crisis_citizen says:

    It probably says something about the way our language is evolving that a microblogging service that limits the number of words with which we can communicate was found to be the year's most-used word. (And even with all that free advertising , no one has figured out how to monetize the thing.)

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