As the year 2013 is drawing to a close, a whole new and exciting word game has started, it seems. The Oxford University Press
, the British publisher of the Oxford Dictionaries, was the first in the fray when it announced selfie
as the Word of the Year.
By now, the world and her buddies (real and virtual) know what it is – a self-clicked snapshot of oneself taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded on the social media. That’s perfectly in tune with the kind of social media frenzy we are currently seeing. After all, who does not want to be up on Facebook
or other social sites, and get hundreds of ‘likes’ for a change of profile picture (yes, it has even started on LinkedIn, the platform for the professionals)? Adding some more photographs to the cartload already out there (that’s why photo-sharing sites are created, aren’t they?) is a labour of love we cannot resist.
Other shortlisted words by Oxford include the following: Bedroom tax:
Basically, the under-occupancy penalty. If you and your family have more bedrooms in the house than you need, your housing benefit is deducted. Binge-watch:
Viewing multiple episodes of a television programme one after another. Of course, it can’t be live – you have either got a full-season DVD set or it is on-demand viewing or online streaming. Bitcoin:
That (in)famous digital coin touted as the future of currency. By the way, you don’t need a bank for transaction and safe-keeping of this virtual money. Olinguito:
A small, furry mammal living in the mountain forests of Colombia and Ecuador. It is the smallest member of the raccoon family and looks like a cross between a teddy bear and a house cat. Its discovery was first announced by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in August 2013. Schmeat:
A form of meat synthetically produced from biological tissue. Man-made meat is commonly known as in-vitro meat or cultured meat. However, in August 2013, the world’s first hamburger made with in-vitro meat was served up by Dutch scientists. Showrooming:
A word that offline retailers hate. You are showrooming when you are visiting a brick-and-mortar shop for the look and feel of a product and then buying it online at a lower price. Twerk
: Dance to popular music in a provocative manner… Well, we have seen that in most of the Bollywood movies.
But what about America’s Merriam-Webster? While a huge jump in the overall usage of selfie
attracted Oxford, Merriam-Webster decided to go with science,
a word that has been ‘most looked up’ on its website. Disappointed? It’s not a new word but numbers, after all, could be sound proof of quality.
“Our data shows… that many of the most looked-up words in the dictionary are words that reflect the big ideas that are lurking behind the headlines,” writes Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski in a statement. It’s a word that users looked up 176% more than last year.
“The more we thought about it, the righter it seemed in that it does lurk behind a lot of big stories that we as a society are grappling with, whether it’s climate change or environmental regulation or what’s in our textbooks,” said John Morse, president and publisher of Merriam-Webster Inc
, based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Science, he said, is connected to broad cultural oppositions – science versus faith, for instance – along with the power of observation and intuition, reason and ideology, evidence and tradition.
Here are the other top 9 words, chosen by Merriam-Webster: Cognitive – 158% Rapport – 145% Communication – 139% Niche – 138% Ethic – 134% Paradox – 130% Visceral – 130% Integrity – 127% Metaphor – 124% What’s buzzing on Facebook
Plenty, for sure, but Miley Cyrus
is down the list and the Royal Baby
could only grab the third spot. Pope Francis
has been the most talked-about person, according to the company, which took into account the number of posts mentioning a specific person/event, as well as all related hashtags. Next comes election
, a topic too relevant for Indians who are going to polls next year to elect a new government. Cyrus
comes in at No. 7, two spots behind Margaret Thatcher
, while the iconic Nelson Mandela
is in the 10th slot. Shattering incidents like the Boston Marathon
bombing and the Tour de France
, which had been plagued by doping scandals, have also found a place in the Facebook list. Here is a look at the top 10: 1. Pope Francis 2. Election 3. Royal Baby 4. Typhoon 5. Margaret Thatcher 6. Harlem Shake 7. Miley Cyrus 8. Boston Marathon 9. Tour de France 10. Nelson Mandela
In the ‘United States
only’ list, Super Bowl
is predictably at the top, followed by government shutdown
. Boston Marathon
ranks No. 3; Pope Francis
is at No. 6 while Royal Baby
are at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. Here is the complete list: Most talked about topics in the US 1. Super Bowl 2. Government Shutdown 3. Boston Marathon 4. Syria Crisis 5. Harlem Shake 6. Pope Francis 7. George Zimmerman 8. Royal Baby 9. Nelson Mandela 10. Presidential Inauguration 11. NBA Finals 12. Kim Kardashian 13. Miley Cyrus 14. James Gandolfini 15. Meteor Sighting
If you are interested, you can also create your very own Year in Review, featuring the biggest moments of 2013, including life events and popular posts you have shared on Facebook. This personalised look-back also includes the option to see highlights and popular posts by friends. Image: