Twitter declared Top Word of 2009

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The Independent Online

The word "Twitter" has been crowned The Global Language Monitor's Top Word of 2009.

Twitter beat "Obama," "H1N1," "stimulus" and "vampire" to be declared The Global Language Monitor's Top Word of 2009 on November 29.

"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."

"King of Pop" was the number one phrase for 2009, beating phrases such as "Obama-mania," "Climate Change" and "Swine Flu."

In 2008 the top word was "Change" - referring to Obama's political campaign slogan - while the top words for 2007 and 2006 responded to a growing need to create a greener world with "hybrid" and "sustainable" gaining the top position respectively.

On November 16 the New Oxford American Dictionary declared the word "unfriend" the Oxford Word of the Year 2009, revealing the New Oxford American Dictionary's official definition of the word to be "To remove someone as a ‘friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook."

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

Top Word of 2009 data was collected in late November by Texas-based, Global Language Monitor, a company that tracks global trends within the English language, measuring common word use within the media, on the internet, in blogs and in the social media.