The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love) is Top Word, Pope Francis topped by Ebola as Top Name, “Hands Up, No Shoot” is Top Phrase

Pope Francis Topped by Ebola for Top Name of 2014 (see below)

“Hands Up, No Shoot” is the Top Phrase of the Year of 2014 (see below)


Emoji Hearts and Smily face

Documenting the year 2014 through English-language word usage

Global Language Monitor’s 15th Annual Survey of Global English

 AUSTIN, Texas,  December 2014  — The Emoji  ideograph for Heart (and Love)  is the Top Word for 2014 according to the 15th Annual survey of the English language by the the Global Language Monitor.  The Heart and Love emoji, emoticon, and variations thereof appear billions of times a day around the world — across languages and cultures.  This is the first time an ideograph has captured Word of the Year honors.
The GLM Word, Phrase, and Names of the Year lists are intended to provide a history of each year since 2000 through English-language word usage.

” Each emoji represents an emotion, expression, or state of mind, or a person, place or thing, so much so, that we see the birth of the AlphaBorg or AlphaBit.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

NY Times Logo Large

“The English Language is now undergoing a remarkable transformation unlike any in its 1400 year history —  its system of writing, the Alphabet, is gaining characters at amazing rate.  These character are ideographs or pictographs that are called emoji and emoticons.   There are about a thousand emoji characters now officially recognized by Unicode Consortium, the official keepers of coding that forms the basis of the Internet.  They regularly review new suggestions with the next 37 or so being finalized for June 2015.  Then the new emoji can be embedded in any number of devices for any number of languages.

“The AlphaBIT now includes letters, numbers, the diacritical marks that compose emoticons, as well as clever electronic solutions that provide real-time access to more than hundreds of emoji.”

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.

Example of Emoji Keyboard

The figure below shows an Emoji keyboard for Apple.  When you select the Emoji keyboard, you will see a new key on the bottom row, which looks like an stylized globe.


You click this key to access a number of emoji ideographic menus for differing classes of  emoji.  In this way the key doesn’t present a single letter, number, or diacritical mark but rather access to hundreds or thousands of emoji.

The following figures show the Top 7 Emojis on a specialized Twitter feed for 24 hours back in June 2014.  Fourteen of the Top 100 were heart-based.

Top 7 Emoji with Numbers

At last count there are now some 722 characters, with another 250 being made available during the next year, and 37 more due for approval in June 2015.

The Top Words of 2014 follow.

Rank / Word / Comments

  1. The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love) —  The Heart ♥ Emoji (for love) is the Top Word of 2014.  Each emoji represents an emotion, expression, or state of mind, or a person, place or thing.
  2. Hashtag  — The re-invented pound-sign becomes evermore powerful.
  3. Vape  — Smoking an electronic or e-cigarette, shorthand for vaporize, or vaping.  Vapers are banned from indoor vaping in New York and other locales.
  4. Blood Moon — Four total eclipses of the moon in eighteen-month span.  Some Christians see it as the presaging a “lunar apocalypse”.
  5. Nano — From Greek for dwarf, small; now 1 billionth of a meter, and any number of words surrounding nano technology.
  6. Photo Bomb — Breaking into a ‘pre-arranged” photograph without authorization resulting in often humorous outcomes.
  7. Caliphate — Literally, a land ruled by an Islamic Caliph typically governed under Sharia Law.
  8. (White) privilege — The alleged advantages of having lighter colored skin in a diverse society.
  9. Bae — Term of endearment for one’s object of desire.
  10. “Bash” Tag — Using a hashtag to undermine your frenemies.
  11. Transparency —  That state of government openness that is apparently unachievable in the Western World.
  12. Sustainable — The Jimmy Carter of words; keeps getting stronger since it was WOTY  in 2006.
  13. Clickbait — A link  you just have to click on, though its more of a paid-for bait-and-switch.
  14. Quindecennial  —  Fifteen year anniversary; 2014 is the quindecinnal of the 21st century.
  15. Comet — Comet 67p has a visitor from the Rosetta Spacecraft.
OK is most understood word in the world, again.  See more.

The Top Phrases of 2014

Rank / Phrase / Comment

  1. Hands Up, Don’t Shoot — Demonstrators’ continued chant after shooting of unarmed suspect in Ferguson, Missouri.
  2. Cosmic Inflation — The explosive growth of the Universe from virtually nothing.  OK, there was something nowadays called the Singularity, sized about a billionth of a billionth of an inch.  More evidence emerges that the Big Bang is settled science.
  3. Global Warming — The past is prologue here. 15,000 years ago New York City was buried under 5,000 meters of ice.
  4. Climate Change – Add ‘anthropogenic’ warming to this fact:  the existence of  the Bering Land Bridge 20,000 years ago suggests that the Oceans were some 100 meters lower than today. (That’s about a football field.)
  5. War on Women — In the Islamic state, women and young girls (10 and older) are stolen and then sold into sexual slavery or forced into involuntary marriages. And this after watching the beheading of their husbands, sons and brothers.
  6. All Time High — Many see this all-too-prevalent description of many world markets as more of a warning that a cause for celebration.
  7. Rogue nukes — Sources state that Iran can now assemble a bomb in two weeks.  This is going from hypothetical to reality.  (If true, International Inspection Effort:  Fail.)
  8. Near-Earth Asteroid —  Admittedly more of a space rock than an asteroid but it did create significant property damage as well as injuries before crashing into a Russian lake.
  9. Big Data  — No 1 on the current High Tech Buzzword list, ushering in a global transformation in how data is processed, analyzed, and transformed into solutions.
  10. Polar Vector — An unusually long-lived Polar Outbreak plunging deep in the Southern territories.


The Top Names of 2014 

Rank /Name / Comments

  1. Ebola — The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a highly contagious, often fatal, hemorrhagic  disease.  The current outbreak started in West Africa earlier this year and has claimed some 5,000 lives as of this writing.
  2. Pope Francis —  The most highly cited name, again.  The  former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, born December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires.
  3. World War One — A conflict from the early 20th century that many historians are beginning to understand as incomplete.
  4. Médecins Sans Frontières — Doctors Without Borders, is a Nobel Peace Prize winning NGO founded in 1971.  Heroically, involved in current Ebola epidemic.
  5. MH370 — Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared on Saturday, 8 March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 passengers and crew.
  6. FIFA World Cup —  Better known simply as the World Cup, in 2014 won by Germany over Argentina (and heavily favored Brasil).
  7. Ice Bucket Challenge —  A popular charity-based fund-raising activity to generate funds for ALS.  The stunt involves pouring buckets of water and ice over the heads of the participants.
  8. Crimea — Reminder to Mr. Putin and the history-conscious (and poetically inclined):  The Charge of the Light Brigade did not end well.
  9. The Mid-terms — The US national election held during non-Presidential election years, hence the name, Mid-term.
  10. NSA — The National Security Agency of the US collects intelligence through clandestine means of both foreign and (to the surprise of many) domestic sources.
  11. Prince George of Cambridge.  5a.  HRH Georgie — Nickname of Prince George of Cambridge, son of ‘Wills and Kate.”  Watch this space as a ‘sister?’ enters the family.
  12. Malala Yousafzai  — Two years ago named co-name of the Year by GLM,  this year the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.The Pakistani girl shot by terrorists for promoting the right to education for  girls.
  13. Xi Jinping — “Steady as she goes,” as his term proceeds as China’s paramount leader.
  14. President Obama – ‘Hope and Change’ retreats even  further into history as Obama’s second term troubles mount.
  15. Sochi Olympics — The XXII Olympic Winter Games that took place 7 to 23 February 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

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  ‘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:
Top Name: W (Dubya)

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