“404” and “fail” are the most popular words of 2013



Every year, the Global Language Monitor’s list of top words offers a snapshot of the English-speaking world. In 2009, when the current US president was sworn into office for the first time, “Obama” was near-top of the list. In 2011, “occupy” topped the chart, thanks to the international protest movement against the 1%.

The top word of 2013 is tellingly “404”—the internet code for failure, commonly seen when a webpage doesn’t load—closely trailed, in the number two spot, by the word “fail.” “Hashtag,” Twitter-speak for the pound symbol, “@pontifex” (Pope Francis’ Twitter handle), and “optic,” the new term for “narrative,” round out the top five on the list.

Commenting on the findings, Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor, said, ”The recent ObamaCare launch debacle in the US is only a representative example of a much wider system fail, from the political deadlock…

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