Top Ten Words of 2016

atkins bookshelf wordsThe Global Language Monitor (GLM) was created in 2003 to create a cultural record of the year as reflected in the English language, the most popular language out of more than 7,000 languages around the world. “The English language continues its ever deeper penetration into global consciousness,” observes Paul Payback, Chief World Analyst and President of the GLM. “Some are wary of the consequences of a single language dominating the Linguasphere. The English language is continuing a remarkable transformation driven by new word formations not witnessed since [Shakespeare] created nearly 2000 new words during his lifetime (1564-1616). However, this time the words are bubbling up from the entire planetary lingua sphere.” Here are the top ten trending words from 2016 according to the GLM.

1. Bigly: of considerable size, number, quantity, extent, or magnitude; large..

2. Brexit: the British Exit from the European Union.

3. Non-binary: the legal term for a gender identity between male and female

4. The Love Symbol [a glyph that merges the ancient symbols for man and woman]: the unpronounceable symbol representing “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”

5. Zika [fever; or Zika virus disease]: an infectious disease caused by the Zika virus. The virus that causes the disease, mainly spread by the bite of Aedes mosquitoes, was first isolated in Africa in 1947.

6. Gun Culture / Gun Violence: encompasses the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs about firearms and their usage by civilians / violence committed by the use of a gun.

7. Safe Place: in the U.S., places where students can retreat to avoid hearing unpleasant words; in the world, places protected from rape, crucifixion, being sold into slavery, etc.

8. Heroin and Fentanyl: strong physiologically addictive narcotics

9. Hooya ha tah iti bin (“Son please don’t smuggle yourself”): transliteration of a Somali mother’s plea to her son not to join the refugee flow into Europe.

10. Memory Care: a euphemism for Alzheimer care.

The GLM also lists these additional trending words and phrases:

Presumptive: based on probability or presumption.

Texticate: carrying out a conversation through text messaging.

Clinton world: the private world of Hil and Bill where many of the laws of the political world seem to be suspended. Compare with Steve Job’s “reality distortion field.”

Trumpism: the emerging political philosophy of the presumptive Republican candidate, whatever that may be.

Tennessine: a new element on the periodic table, with Atomic number 117 and the symbol Ts.

Read related posts: Words Worth Reviving: 2016
Word of the Year 2016 (UK)
What is a Phantonym?

How Many Words in the English Language?’s Word of the Year 2016
Word of the Year 2015 (U.S.)
Word of the Year 2015 (UK)
Top Ten Words of the Year: 2015
Word of the Year 2013
Word of the Year 2012
How Long Does it Take to Read a Million Words?
How Many Words in the English Language?

For further reading:

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