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Top 20 words of 2013: Survey lists error code '404', 'drone' and 'fail' among most common terms

By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 12, Nov 2013, 15:13 pm IST | UPDATED: 12, Nov 2013, 15:52 pm IST

Top 20 words of 2013: Survey lists error code '404', 'drone' and 'fail' among most common terms NY: The web has been a negative place over the past year.According to research from The Global Language Monitor (GLM), the most commonly used word across the whole of the web in 2013 was 404, which refers to an online technical error code.

The word ‘fail’ came in second place and was followed by words including ‘surveillance’, ‘drone’ and deficit’.

Texas-based GLM's Word of the Year rankings are based on how many times certain words, phrases and names were used online throughout English-speaking countries.

To make the list, a word had to have been used a minimum of 25,000 times, appeared in various forms of media, and were not specific to a particular country, profession or social group.

Its NarrativeTracker technology scans blogs, social media and news sites from the leading 275,000 print and electronic worldwide magazines and newspapers.

In the 14th annual global survey, GLM listed the error code ‘404’ as the top word. This number appears when a user clicks a link or tries to access a site that is not available.

It can appear when a story is taken down, for example, or if a page can’t load. This was often used in conjunction with second-place word ‘fail’.

The rest of the top 20 list was dominated by tech-based words including ‘hashtag’ and ‘@pontifex’- the Twitter handle for the Pope.

The Pope, or specifically Pope Francis, was also the most commonly used name across the web in the past year.

Other common tech words included ‘Nano’, referring to nanotechnology, or technology that works with items on an atomic and molecular level, and ‘Meme’ relating to internet memes such as Grumpy Cat.

The term ‘The Cloud’ came in at 18th and refers to the location where online data is stored.

GLOBAL LANGUAGE MONITOR'S TOP WORDS, PHRASES AND NAMES OF 2013

TOP WORDS                            
TOP NAMES TOP PHRASES
1. 404 1. Pope Francis 1. Toxic Politics
2. Fail 2. ObamaCare 2. Federal Shutdown
3. Hashtag 3. NSA–National Security Agency 3. Global Warming/ Climate Change
4. @Pontifex 4. Ed Snowden

4. Federal Deficit
5. The Optic 5. Kate Middleton 5. Tread Lightly
6. Surveillance 6. IRS - Internal Revenue Service 6. Boston Strong
7. Drones 7. Ted Cruz- Tea Party supporter 7. Marathon Bombing

8. Deficit 8. Chris Christie - Governor of New Jersey 8. Chemical Weapons
9. Sequestration 9. Tea Party 9. All Time High
10. Emancipate 10. Marathon Bombers 10. Rogue nukes
11. Filibuster 11. Malala Yousafzai- Pakistani girl 11. Near-Earth Asteroid
12. Nano 12. Xi Jinping - China's leader 12. Arab Spring
13. Twerking 13. President Obama 13. Solar max
14. Deadlock 14. Hassan Rouhani- President of Iran. 14. Big Data
15. Franken 15.Sochi Olympics- Olympic Winter Games taking place in February 2014. 15. Ethical/Sustainable Fashion
16. Meme    
17. Stalemate    
18. The Cloud    
19. Phony    
      20. Comet

The top phrase of 2013 was ‘Toxic Politics’ - a term used for political campaigns that attempt to ‘scorch and burn’ the opponents.

Other political phrases, including Federal Shutdown and Federal Deficit, also made the top 15 phrases.

These popular terms related to the recent shutdown of the federal government in the U.S which happened because Congress failed to pass a budget before the start of the financial year on 1 October. It led to the shutdown of many government and state-funded businesses.

Other news-related terms included ‘Boston Strong’ and ‘Marathon Bombing’, in response to a terrorist bombing at the finish line of the 2013 Boston marathon in April in which five people died and 280 people were injured.

‘Near-Earth Asteroid’ just missed out on a top 10 position in the top phrases list. It related to the space rock that landed in Russia in February, causing widespread damage to buildings.

While ‘Solar Max’ was in 13th place, in reference to the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle.

News about the National Security Agency (NSA) accessing people’s personal records and intelligence, leaked by former NSA contractor and CIA employee Edward Snowden meant that ‘NSA’ and ‘Ed Snowden’ made the top five names list.

The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was the highest scoring British person to make the names list.

‘404 has gained enormous attention across the world this year as systems in place since World War II, which many see as the beginning of the contemporary era, are in distress or even failure,’ said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

‘The recent ObamaCare launch debacle in the US is only a representative example of a much wider system fail, from the political deadlock in the US Government, to the decline of the dollar, to the global web of intrigue and surveillance by the NSA, to the uncertainty regarding the European Union, and the on-going integration of China and other rising powers, such as India and Brazil into the global economic system.

‘Our top words, phrases and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.’

GLM also looked at the top words of the decade, these came out as Global Warming, 9/11, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed.

Climate Change was top phrase while Heroes was the top name.