Twitter crowned top word of 2009

Twitter bird

The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language.

'Twittered' was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was number six, with Deficit, Hadron - the object of study of CERN's new atom smasher - Healthcare, and Transparency rounding out the top 10.

"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," he said. "One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds."

The top words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.

The Top Words of 2009

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 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 per cent 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

Click here for our beginner's guide to Twitter for business.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.