‘Truth’ is Top Word, ‘Weinstein Effect’ the Top Phrase and ‘Xi Jinping’ the Top Name in Global English for 2017


The Debate Over Truth Has Been Rising over the Last 100 Years

Since the turn of the century, the Global Language Monitor has been naming the words of global English that have had the most profound influence upon the language, the culture, and/or the world of the 21st century, said Paul JJ Payack, President, and Chief Word Analyst.


Truth has been named the 2017 Word of the Year for Global English (#WOTY2017) by the Global Language Monitor, in its eighteenth annual global analysis. In addition, the Weinstein Effect has been named the Top Phrase and Chinese leader Xi Jingping the Top Name of 2017.

Following ‘Truth’ were Narrative, Opioids, Awoke, and Nuclear Option.  Rounding out the Top Ten were Deep State, Robot Apocalypse, Higher Level of Fake News, Blessee, and Lean Into. 

“Since the turn of the century, the Global Language Monitor has been naming the words of global English that have had the most profound influence upon the language, the culture, and/or the world of the 21st century,” said Paul JJ Payack, President, and Chief Word Analyst.

“GLM 's methodology, true to its Silicon Valley heritage, is to examine the totality of Global English with the tools now available to better understand the underlying trends that shape our words and, hence, our world.

Our goal remains to detect these small changes in the language that often presage titanic shifts in the way humans communicate.”

In the recent past, some of the shifts first noted by the trend and narrative-tracking techniques of GLM include:

o The use of number sequences as clearly defined words (Y2k, Web 2.0)

o The use of Twitter as a new form of stylized human communication (2008)

o The introduction of emoji symbols as an addition to and transformation of the alphabet (2012)

o The rise of the Narrative presaging the rise of ‘fake news’ and the decline of ‘truth-based’ journalism. (2006)

o The mounting impact of the 'sustainability' and 'Green' movements (2006)

o The Rise of Microaggressions as a significant form of ‘bullying’ (2015)

o The continued emergence of English as the first truly global language (2000-)

o Big Data as the most frequently used but least understood word in High Technology (2011)

o The application of data mining techniques to global English to better understand the significance of global events and trends (2013)

o The Rise of China as the most significant (and de-stabilizing) event of the 21st century, thus far. (2008)

o Unveiling the racist underpinnings behind the rise of Fake News.

GLM has used these technologies to track political and social trends.

The eighteenth year of the 21st century provided words that accompanied the outsized geopolitical events of the age:  nuclear diplomacy, shattered trade alliances, the rise (and re-emergence) of nationalism in various parts of the planet, as well as varying degrees of 'wokeness' and intense debates over the role of the past in the present-day world.  Perhaps, most surprisingly, a debate over the nature of truth worthy of Athenian philosophers, of 12th-century Schoolmen — and the 18th c. Founders is currently quite the rage.

Rank, Word, and Definition 

1. Truth — Let's face it.  The conversation is all about truth, or lack thereof.

2. Narrative — As GLM noted in ’08, Narratives began replacing facts in politics; a harbinger to 'fake news'.

3. Opioids — More deaths than gun violence and automobiles crashed combined.

4. Post-Truth — Objective facts are less influential than appeals to emotion or the prevailing narrative.

5. Woke — Awakening to issues of social and racial justice.

6. Brexit — [United Kingdom] Definition according to Theresa May:  “Brexit means Brexit”.

7. Blessee — [RSA, South Africa] Those who are shown financial favor through a 'Sugar Daddy'.

8. Non-binary — Gender identity defined as neither male nor female.

9. Anthropocene — The current geological time period where human activities have had a major environmental impact on the Earth.

10. Latinx – Neologism for the Hispanic heritage of any stripe.

11. Ransomware — A type of malware where targeted sites are 'captured' and rendered useless until a ransom is paid to the hackers.

12. Tradie — [Australia] Short for any worker in the trades: electricians (sparkies), truckers (truckies), chippies (carpenter) and the like.

13. Flip — Any quick financial transact5on meant to turn a quick profit, particularly involving real estate.

14. Covfefe — The Trumpian Typo Heard 'Round the world.

15. #Resist — From Latin resistere, from re- + sistere to take a stand.

16. Appropriation (Cultural) — Now refers to the exploitation of an 'ethnic' culture by those of white European heritage.

Missed the Cut: Antifa, Bigly, Collude and Populism

Global Language Monitor's 2017 Top Phrases of the Year for Global English

Rank, Word, and Definition

1. Weinstein Effect — (#MeToo) Emboldened women across the globe confront those who have been abused them in their past.

2. Nuclear Option — The use of nuclear weapons by either side in the on-going and decades-long North Korean standoff.

3. Deep State — Entrenched bureaucracies, beholden to no one, controlling the ship of state with little concern for elected officials.  In effect, a ‘Shadow’ government.

4. For Real (FR) — [Indian] It took a half a century for the hip lingo of Venice Beach to proliferate to the call centers of India as FR.

5. Robot Apocalypse — The oncoming usurpation of Humankind by robots and other advanced forms of Artificial Intelligence.

6. Fake News — A higher level (and far more dangerous method controlling the news) through special relationships, the tight control of events, planting sources, and keeping the actual facts to a tight inner circle.

7. Lean Into — Being totally committed (or lean into) a cause, an initiative, or career choice.

8. Non-binary — Gender identity defined as neither male nor female.

9. Memory Care — Euphemism for treating Alzheimer and other forms of dementia.

10. Cultural Appropriation — Now refers to the exploitation of an 'ethnic' culture by those of white European heritage.

Missed the Cut: Alt-right , Dumpster Fire, Nuclear Option for US Senate, and Safe Place.

Global Language Monitor's 2017 Top Names of the Year

Rank, Name

1. Xi Jinping — General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

2. Donald J. Trump — President of the United States of America; Trump took the Top Honors in 2016 and 2015.

3. Pope Francis — Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City.

4. Angela Merkel — Angela Dorothea Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.

5. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin — President of Russia.

6. Theresa May — Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

7. Kim Jung Un — North Korean Strongman.

8. Narendra Modi — Prime Minister of India.

9. Donald Tusk — President of the European Commission.

10. Shinzō Abe — Prime Minister of Japan.

11. Justin Trudeau — Prime Minister of Canada.

The Top Words, Phrases, and Names since the Turn of the Century

Top Words: No. 1 Truth, No. 2 Narrative, No. 3, #Resist
Top Phrases: No. 1 Make America Great Again No. 2 When they go low, we go high No. 3 The Electoral College
Top Names: No. 1 Donald Trump, No. 2 Vladimir Putin, No. 3 Neil Gorsuch

Top Words: No. 1 Microaggression (Safe Space, Trigger, Unsafe, Snowflake, White Privilege)
Top Phrases: No. 1 Migrant Crisis, No. 2 Je Suis Charlie, No. 3 Almond Shaming
Top Names: No. 1 Donald J. Trump, No. 2 Aylan Kurdi, No. 3 Pope Francis

Top Words: No. 1 The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love), No. 2 Hashtag, No. 3 Vape
Top Phrases: No. 1 Hands Up, Don’t Shoot; No. 2 Cosmic Inflation, No. 3 Global Warming
Top Names: No. 1 Ebola, No. 2 Pope Francis, No. 3 World War

Top Words: No. 1 ’404’, No.2 Fail, No.3 Hashtag
Top Phrases: No. 1 Toxic Politics, No. 2 Federal Shutdown, No.3 Global Warming/Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1. Pope Francis, No. 2 ObamaCare, No.3 NSA

Top Words: No. 1 Apocalypse / Armageddon, No.2 Deficit, No. 3 Olympiad
Top Phrases: No. 1 Gangnam Style, No. 2 Climate Change/Global Warming, No. 3 Fiscal Cliff
Top Names: No. 1 Newtown and Malala Yousafzai, No. 3 Xi Jinping

Top Words: No. 1 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
Top Phrases: No. 1 Arab Spring, No. 2 Royal Wedding, No.3 Anger and Rage
Top Names: No. 1 Steve Jobs, No. 2 Osama bin-laden and Seal Team Six, No.3 Fukushima

Top Words: No. 1 Spillcam, No. 2 Vuvuzela, No. 3 The Narrative
Top Phrases: No. 1 Anger and Rage, No. 2 Climate Change, No. 3 The Great Recession
Top Names: No. 1 Hu Jintao, paramount leader of China, No. 2 iPad, No. 3 Barack Obama

Top Words: No. 1 Twitter, No. 2 Obama-, No. 3 H1N1
Top Phrases: No. 1 King of Pop, No. 2 Obama-mania, No. 3 Climate Change
Top Names: No. 1 Obama, No. 2 Michael Jackson, No. 3 Mobama

Top Words: No. 1 Change, No. 2 Bailout, No. 3 Obama-mania
Top Phrases: No. 1 Financial Tsunami, No. 2 Global Warming, No. 3 “Yes, We Can!”
Top Names: No. 1 Barack Obama, No. 2 George W. Bush, No.3 Michael Phelps

Top Words: No. 1 Hybrid (representing all things green), No. 2: Surge
Top Phrase: Climate Change
Top Name: Al Gore

Top Word: Sustainable
Top Phrase: Stay the Course
Top Name: Dafur

Top Words: No. 1, Refugee No. 2: Tsunami No. 3: Katrina
Top Phrase: Outside the Mainstream
Top Name: (acts of ) God

Top Word: Incivility (for inCivil War)
Top Phrase: Red States/Blue States No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Dubya/Rove

Top Word: Embedded
Top Phrase: Shock and Awe, No. 2: Rush to War
Top Name: Saddam Hussein, No. 2 Dubya

Top Word: Misunderestimate
Top Phrase: Threat Fatigue
Top Name: W (Dubya)

Top Word: Ground Zero
Top Phrase: ‘Lets Roll’
Top Name: The Heros

Top Word: Chad
Top Phrase: Dot.com
Top Name: W (Dubya)

Methodology:  The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 2.35 billion speakers (January 2018 estimate) GLM employs its NarrativeTracker technologies for global Internet and social media analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 350,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.

About the Global Language Monitor

In 2003, The Global Language Monitor (GLM) was founded in Silicon Valley by Paul J.J. Payack on the understanding that new technologies and techniques were necessary for truly understanding the world of Big Data, as it is now known. Previous to this Payack was the founding president at yourDictionary.com, and a senior executive for a number of leading high tech companies.

For more information, call 1.512.801.6823, email [email protected], or visit http://www.LanguageMonitor.com.

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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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