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Last Blog of 2011: Top 10 Words of the Year

An organization called the Global Language Monitor employes a technology known as NarrativeTracker that analyzes English language usage on social media, the Internet, the blogosphere and in the top 75,000 print and electronic global media sources in order to select the 10 most tossed-around terms of the times.

“Our selections this year to a large extent reflect the ongoing political and economic uncertainty that seems to be affecting much of the developed world — with notable exceptions such as the Royal wedding and the continuing rise of China,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.

Here are the Global Language Monitor’s top 10 words of 2011:

01. Occupy — The preferred verb of protesters occupies the top spot this year. Not only has “occupy” risen to fame because of the Occupy Movement (Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland, etc.), it is also used in the context of the occupation of Iraq and the so-called “Occupied Territories.”

02. Deficit — Fiscal deficits are a growing and possibly intractable problem for many economies in the developed world, and have become a frequent topic of discussion.

03. Fracking — Hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting fossil fuels from otherwise unreachable places , has turned into a hot-button issue dividing ultra-capitalists and environmentalists.

04. Drone — An ever-increasing number of remotely piloted aircraft are being used for reconnaissance and attack purposes, especially to target wanted terrorists.

05. Non-veg — A meal served with meat. The term originated in India (where “veg” is the norm), and is now catching on worldwide.

06. Kummerspeck — This German word, which literally translates as “grief bacon,” refers to excess weight gained from emotional overeating. This year, it worked its way into the English-speaking world.

07. Haboob — A name imported from Arabic that has been used to describe the massive sandstorms in the American Southwest this year.

08. 3Q — This texting shorthand for “thank you” may have arisen as a combination of the Mandarin and Japanese word for the number three, which is “san,” and Q; put together, they sound like “thank you.” The slang has been banned from official Chinese dictionaries, but is commonly found elsewhere.

09. Trustafarians — These are well-to-do youths (also sometimes called “trust-funders” or “trust fund babies”) who adopt faux-Bohemian lifestyles. A play on Rastafarians, the term first became popular as a reference to wealthy kids who took part in the London Riots .

10. (The Other) 99 — A reference to the majority of those living in Western democracies who have been left out of the dramatic rise in earnings associated with “the top 1 percent” — itself, another frequently uttered phrase.

Have a safe New Year’s Eve!

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