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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Top Ten Words of 2006 with commentary.

1. Sustainable – Originally a ‘green’ term has moved into the mainstream meaning ‘self-generating’ as in ‘wind power is a sustainable power supply’. Can apply to populations, marriages, agriculture, economies, and the like. The opposite of ‘disposable’.

2. Infonaut – Those who blithely travel along the ‘infobahn’.

3. Hiki Komori – One million young Japanese men who avoid intense societal pressures by withdrawing into their own rooms (and worlds) rarely venturing outside.

4. Planemo -- Planets that didn’t make the cut in 2006 as sustainable planets. Pluto was demoted to a planemo.

5. Netroots -- The activists who have transformed the practice of fundraising and getting out the vote – through cyberspace.

6. Londonistan – Nickname for London as its Asian population swells.

7. Brokeback (Mountain)– A cultural phenomenon (Brokeback, Brokedown, etc.) with almost a million references to Brokeback jokes alone on Google.

8. Ethanol – Proxy for all things ‘green’ and energy independence.

9. Corruption – As in ‘Culture of’; analysis of mid-term elections suggests this was the key for the turnover of the House.

10. Chinese (adj.) – All things Chinese currently in ascendance.

The Top Words for 2005 were:
1. Refugee -- Though the word was considered politically incorrect in the US, 'refugees' were often considered the lucky ones in streaming away from a series of global catastrophes unmatched in recent memory.
2. Tsunami -- From the Japanese tsu nami for 'harbor wave', few recognized the word before disaster struck on Christmas Day, 2004, but the word subsequently flooded with unprecedented (and sustained) media coverage.
3. Poppa/Papa/Pope -- (Italian, Portuguese, English, many others). The death of beloved Pope John Paul II kept the words on the lips of the faithful around the world.
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