Microaggression is the Top Word of the Year for Global English 2015

Global Language Monitor’s 16th Annual Survey of Global English

Documenting the year 2015 through English-language word usage

Microagression is the Top Word, Donald J. Trump the Top Name, and Migrant Crisis the Top Phrase, of 2015. 


 AUSTIN, Texas,  December 27, 2015  — Microaggression is the Top Word, Donald J. Trump the Top Name, and Migrant Crisis the Top Phrase, of 2015.  This is the 16th Annual survey of the English language by the Global Language Monitor.
Microaggression is an academic term, related to the ‘white privilege’ movement that has spread into widespread over the last generation. Donald J Trump is the US presidential contender who appears to be re-writing the rules of American political decorum.  Migrant Crisis summarizes the movement of some one million migrants and/or refugees from the Middle East to Europe (predominately from Syria, Irag and, Afganistan), as well as North African countries. This is the largest human migration since World War II.
In 2014 the heart emoji was named the Top Word, the first time any emoji captured any Word of the Year honors.  The Oxford Dictionaries followed in 2015 by naming the ‘laughing until tears of joy’ emoji as it top word of 2015, though there is scant evidence that any place on the planet was so afflicted.
GLM’s top words, phrases, and names this year represent some five continents, which continues to confirm the ever-expanding nature of the English language.

The English language continues its ever deeper penetration into global consciousness.  Some are wary of the consequences of a single language (of the 7,000 extant human tongues) dominating the Linguasphere.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “The English Language is continuing a remarkable transformation not witnessed since the Bard created nearly 2000 new words during his lifetime (1564-1616).

The Top Words of 2015 follow.

Rank / Word / Comments

  1. Microaggression —  The brief, everyday exchanges that send mostly unintended derogatory  messages to members of various minority groups. Related to the following terms:
    1. Safe Space — In universities protecting students feelings by warning of subject matter that might elicit discomfit or distress.
    2. Trigger — Any action that might elicit feelings of discomfit or distress.
    3. Unsafe — The feelings a student encounters when without warning they are confronted with subject matter or situations that have elicited feelings of discomfit or distress.
    4. Snowflake — What unconcerned students call those with the need for safe spaces and warnings about possible trigger events.
    5. White Privilege —  Societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
  2. Climate Changing  —  GLM will now use the gerund form of the verb ‘change’  to recognize the fact of ongoing, continuous change in the Earth’s Climate. Related terms:
    1. Anthropocene  — the current geological age, viewed as the period during in which human activity has been a significant influence on climate and the environment;
    2. Anthropogenic — used to describe the effect of humans on the climate and the environment
  3. Refugee — A term used to describe migrants that were forced from their homeland by war or civil unrest.
  4. Migrant — A term that includes refugees from economic, climatological changes, and others issues not directly related to war.
  5. Thug  — Brought to renewed attention by President Obama; from the Hindi (and Sanskrit) words describing Aryan assassins.
  6. Trans  —  Abbreviation for transgender, people who identify with the opposite of their physical characteristics.
  7. Content  —  The Top Business Buzzword of 2015
  8. Affluenza  —  A theoretical malaise affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.
  9. Opioids — In the US, opioid painkillers and heroin are responsible for as more deaths than from automobiles and gun violence combined.
  10. Evolve  —  The evolution of the word ‘flip-flop’ in political jargon.  More like ‘survival of the fittest,’ it only occurs until the voters first shift their views on a particular subject.
OK is the most understood word of Global English on the planet, again.  See more.

The Top Names of 2015

Rank /Name / Comments

  1. Donald J. Trump —  The US presidential contender who appears to be re-writing the rules of American political decorum
  2. Alan Kurdi  — The Syrian three-year-old whose dead body washed ashore in Bodrum, Turkey, the photo of which caused global outrage.
  3. Pope Francis —  The most highly cited name, again.
  4. Xi Jinping — “Steady as she goes,” as his term proceeds as China’s paramount leader.
  5. Middle East Terrorists — Exporting death squads into the West with impunity.
  6. Putin  — Short of stature, long on action.
  7. Angela Merkel  — Under Merkel, Germany has accomplished its erstwhile goal of dominating Europe.
  8. Falcon 9 — The safe landing of  its initial stage has been described as marking a historic step in the history of Humanity
  9. El Nino — Already there is 5x the normal snowpack in the Sierra.
  10. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.  10-a.  HRH Georgie — Nickname of Prince George of Cambridge, son of ‘Wills and Kate.

The Top Phrases of 2015

Rank / Phrase / Comment

    1. Migrant Crisis —  Migrant Crisis summarizes the movement of some one million migrants and/or refugees from the Middle East to Europe (predominately from Syria, Irag and, Afganistan), as well as North African countries. This is the largest human migration since World War II.
    2. Je Suis Charlie — Representing the universal outcry against terrorist violence, such as witnessed most recently in San Bernardino.
    3. Almond Shaming  —  Forty gallons of water to grow a single almond?
    4. Nation State  — The migrant Crisis in Europe and the Middle East are examples of trans-national crises that transcend the idea of the Nation State.  (The Nation State arose in the late 15th century with the rise of capitalism, geography, and cartography.
    5. Rogue nukes — Despite the new treaty, the fact remains that Iran can now assemble a bomb in a fortnight.
    6. Anatomically Modern Human  — A class of hominids that lived as recently as 12,000 years ago.
    7. Beast Mode — Going all out, excessively so, in the take-no-prisoners style of Marshawn Lynch (American football).
    8. End of World Scenarios — A switch from previous years where clarion calls are being issued by the likes of Steven Hawking and other scientists.
    9. Digital Darkness — What happens if we can no longer access digital information? A distinct possibility at some future point.  Unsolicited Advice:  Keep hard copies of beloved photos.
    10. Evolve — The evolution of the word ‘flip-flop’ in political jargon. More like ‘survival of the fittest,’ it never occurs until the voters first shift their position.
    11. Two-child Policy — To the relief of much of the world, China officially relaxed its One-Child Policy.


Data Mining Global English for Big-Data Based Analysis

Methodology:  GLM’s Word of the Year rankings are based upon actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.83 billion people.  To qualify for these lists, the words, names, and phrases must meet three criteria:  1)  found globally, 2) have a minimum of 25,000 citations, and 3) have the requisite ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of usage.  Depth is here defined as appearing in various forms of media; breadth that they must appear world-over, not limited to a particular professional or social group or geography.  The goal is to find the word usage that will endure the test of time.

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 275,000 print and electronic global media (not limited to the English-language-based media), as well as new social media sources as they emerge.
The Top Words, Phrases, and Names since the Turn of the Century 
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 I

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 ApocalypseArmageddon, 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 Occupy, No.2 Fracking, No.3 Drone
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)

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogs the latest trends in word usage and word choices and their impact on the various aspects of culture.  GLM  analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 250,000 print, and electronic news media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter) as they emerge.  The words, phrases, and concepts are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.
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.  GLM provides a number of innovative products and services that utilize its ‘algorithmic services’ to help worldwide customers protect, defend and nurture their branded products and entities.

click tracking

Leave a Reply