Words: defining moment

IT LOOKS highly likely that 1998 will set a new record for defining moments, beating the high mark set last year. With 411 appearances in 1997 in our newspaper database, defining moment was one of the cliches of the year. By contrast there had been only 207 defining moments in 1996, slightly down from the 237 in 1995. Even those, however, were clearly more definitive years than the two that preceded them: there were 102 defining moments in 1994 and only 62 in 1993. The tally so far this year is 302, which, with five months of the year still to run, predicts a total of over 500, well ahead of the figure for 1997.

The rise in defining moments may also be matched by a record number of watersheds, which look set to top the 800 mark for the first time.