Top Words of the Decade (2000-2009)

For the Top Words of the Entire 21st Century, (2000-2020) see below or go here.

For more information on the Top Words for the individual years, go here.

For more information on the Top Words of 2009, go here.


“Global Warming,” “9/11″ and “Obama” are Top Words,

“Climate Change” is top phrase,

“Heroes” is top name

Austin, TX November 19, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced the Top Words of the Decade, as part of its annual global survey of the English language. The Top Words were ‘Global Warming’, 9/11, and Obama followed by Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. “Climate Change” was the top phrase, while “Heroes” was the top name; bin-Laden was No. 2.

Looking at the first decade of the 21st century in words is a sober, even somber, event.” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor.“For a decade that began with such joy and hope, the words chosen depict a far more complicated and in many ways, tragic time. Nevertheless, signs of hope and renewal can be found in the overall lists.”

The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers. Since GLM’s survey encompassed the years 2000 - 2009, the expanded lists included 25 Top Words, and 20 Top Phrases and 20 Top Names.

Read the the story in the London Telegraph

Read the story in the Vancouver Sun

Each List contains the word, phrase or name in numerical order and the year when the word, phrase or name came to prominence. For example, the word ‘quagmire’ is hundreds of years old but it came into renewed prominence in 2004, about a year after the beginning of the Iraq War.

The Top Words of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Word (Year) Comments

1. Global Warming (2000) Rated highly from Day One of the decade

2. 9/11 (2001) Another inauspicious start to the decade

3. Obama- (2008 )The US President’s name as a ‘root’ word or ‘word stem’

4. Bailout (2008) The Bank Bailout was but Act One of the crisis

5. Evacuee/refugee (2005) After Katrina, refugees became evacuees

6. Derivative (2007) Financial instrument or analytical tool that engendered the Meltdown

7. Google (2007) Founders misspelled actual word ‘googol’

8. Surge (2007) The strategy that effectively ended the Iraq War

9. Chinglish (2005) The Chinese-English Hybrid language growing larger as Chinese influence expands

10. Tsunami (2004) Southeast Asian Tsunami took 250,000 lives

11. H1N1 (2009) More commonly known as Swine Flu

12. Subprime ( 2007) Subprime mortgages were another bubble to burst

13. (2000) The bubble engendered no lifelines, no bailouts

14. Y2K ( 2000) The Year 2000:  all computers would turn to pumpkins at the strike of midnight

15. Misunderestimate (2002) One of the first and most enduring of Bushisms

16. Chad ( 2000) Those Florida voter punch card fragments that the presidency would turn aupon

17. Twitter (2008 ) A quarter of a billion references on Google

18. WMD (2002) Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

19. Blog (2003) First called ‘web logs’ which contracted into blogs

20. Texting (2004) Sending 140 character text messages over cell phones

21. Slumdog (2008) Child inhabitants of Mumba’s slums

22. Sustainable (2006) The key to ‘Green’ living where natural resources are never depleted

23. Brokeback (2004)   New term for ‘gay’ from he Hollywood film ‘Brokeback Mountain’

24. Quagmire (2004) Would Iraq War end up like Vietnam, another ‘quagmire’?

25. Truthiness (2006) Steven Colbert’s addition to the language appears to be a keeper

Also worth noting:  ’Embedded’ (2003) to embed reporters with US Troops .

The Top Phrases of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Word (Year) Comments

1. Climate Change (2000) Green words in every form   dominant the decade

2. Financial Tsunami (2008) One quarter of the world’s wealth vanishes seemingly overnight

3. Ground Zero (2001) Site of 9/11terrorist attack in New York City

4. War on Terror (2001)  Bush administration’s response to 9/11

5. Weapons of Mass Destruction (2003)  Bush’s WMDs never found in Iraq or the Syrian desert

6. Swine Flu (2008) H1N1, please, so as not to offend the pork industry or religious sensitivities!

7. “Let’s Roll!” (2001)  Todd Beamer’s last words before Flight 93 crashed into the PA countryside

8. Red State/Blue State (2004) Republican or Democratic control of states

9. Carbon footprint (2007) How much CO² does an activity produce?

10. Shock-and-awe (2003) Initial strategy of Iraq War

11. Ponzi Scheme (2009) Madoff’s strategy reaped billions & heartache

12. Category Four (2005) Force of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans’ seawalls and levies

13. King of Pop (2000)  Elvis was the King, MJ the King (of Pop)

14. “Stay the Course” (2004) Dubya’s off-stated guidance for Iraq War

15. “Yes, we can!” (2008)   Obama’s winning campaign slogan

16. “Jai Ho!” (2008)  Shout of joy from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

17. “Out of the Mainstream” (2003) Complaint about any opposition’s political platform

18. Cloud computing (2007)  Using the Internet as a large computational device

19. Threat Fatigue (2004)   One too many terrorist threat alerts

20. Same-sex marriage (2003) Marriage of gay couples


The Top Names of the Decade from 2000 – 2009

Name (Year) Comment

1. Heroes (2001)   Emergency responders who rushed into the Towers

2. bin Laden (2001) His Capture still top of mind for US Military

3. Ground Zero (2001) NY Times still will not capitalize the site as a formal name

4. Dubya (2000) George W. Bush, US President No. 43

5. The Clintons (Hillary & Bill) (2000) Looming on political landscape, though not as large

6. John Paul II (2000)   Largest funeral in TV history attested to power

7.Obama(2008) Making an impact as the decade ends

8. Taliban (2000)   Still the source of Afghan insurgency

9. Katrina (2004) Hurricane whose destruction of New Orleans is seared into minds around globe

10. Tiger Woods (2000) Top golfer earned about $1 Billion this decade

11. iPhone (2007)   First product on this list

12. Paul Hewson (Bono) (2000) U2 Front man, NY Times Columnist, catalyst for African relief

13. Michael Jackson (2000) The King of Pop

14. Al Gore (2000) Nobel Prize winner, US Vice President, Climate Change purveyor

15.Saddham Hussein (2000) Iraqi dictator captured while hiding in a ‘spider hole’

16. Enron (2001)   Seems like another era since this giant fell

17. Bollywood (2000)   Mumbai’s answer to Hollywood

18. Facebook (2007) Another ubiquitous software product

19. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005) Iranian president since 2005

20. Vladimir Putin (2000) Russian leader since 2000

Also worth noting:  ’Wikipedia’ (2006) The user-generated compendium of all knowledge .

The analysis was completed on November 16th using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media (such as Twitter). The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

For more information, call 1.737.215.7750, email, or visit



This is the twentieth consecutive survey since the turn of the century that Global Language Monitor has tracked the Word of the Year.

NEWS PROVIDED BY The Global Language Monitor  Dec 17, 2019, 13:24 ET



AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Global Language Monitor, a company that documents, analyzes, and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, has announced that ‘Woke’ is the Top Word of the Year (#WOTY) for 2019. Woke has also dramatically risen in use during the last decade.

Woke, the Top Trending Word of 2019 for Global English thus far has dramatically risen in U.S.  during the last decade as shown in the Google Ngram graph.

Woke, the Top Trending Word of 2019 for Global English thus far has dramatically risen in U.S. during the last decade as shown in the Google Ngram graph.
“In progressive-based language, ‘woke’ describes an epiphany-like experience, where one is awakened to the call of social justice and the failures of the past,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Every generation in the Post-Modern era has had similar experiences be they Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, the Women’s Movement, LGBT rights, and beyond. A key distinction here is that the sins of the past are now viewed in the context of the present as subjects to be rectified.” ‘Woke’ traces back through the Old English and is defined as to arise, to come to be, and to be born. It’s from Anglo-Saxon and Old High German ultimately from Proto-Indo-European root ‘weg’ defined as to be strong and to be lively. ‘Woke,’ the Top Word of the Year for Global English has dramatically risen in use in the U.S. during the last decade as shown in the Google Ngram. Progress as the Top Un-trending Word In a first, GLM named the Top Un-trending Word (or Decliner) for 2019, which is thus far ‘Progress.’ Payack noted, “The concept of progress has had a profound influence on the advance of Western Civilization since ancient times. The idea of ‘progress’ as espoused in the works of Enlightenment thinkers had considerable influence on the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The word though has significantly fallen especially since the mid-1960s as shown in the Google Ngram. In 2018 there were two distinct Words of the Year (#WOTY): The Moment — A confluence of fame, fortune, and happenstance (Worldwide), and Weaponize — In today’s bitterly partisan infighting, any word, action, or deed can and will be weaponized (U.S. alone). Global Language Monitor began recording the Top Words of the Year in 2000 to document the history of the 21st Century through the English language, the world’s first truly global language. The words are culled throughout the English-speaking world, which as of January 2018 ranks more than 2.58 billion speakers. Global Language Monitor 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, and the top 300,000 print and electronic global media as well as new social media sources as they emerge. Global Language Monitor has also provided a list of the Top 20 Trending Words of the Year for 2019 ranked to date, including last year’s ranking (number after the word) and a brief description or commentary of usage.
  1. Woke (5) — An epiphany-like experience, where one is awakened to the call of social justice.
  2. Consequential — Presidents are now judged on the ‘consequentiality’ of their administrations.
  3. Migrants (16) — The continuing worldwide movement of mass migrations.
  4. Opioids (3) — The scourge continues as the nation seems a bit inured to the devastation (more casualties than all deaths in U.S. Wars from WWII to present).
  5. Collusion (11) — The report is filed and final, but the controversies continue.
  6. Anthropocene — Did a new human-influenced geological epoch actually begin in 1950?
  7. Heartbeat — Fetal heartbeat bills are now front-and-center in state legislatures across the nation.
  8. Blue Wave — The Democrats winning back control of Congress in the 2018 Mid-terms.
  9. Family Separation (6) — Family detention and separations actually began in 2014. This is a grave and intractable matter, with plenty of blame to spread around.
  10. Trade War (7) — As we first noted in 2009, “The Rise of China” is a geopolitical event of the first order with the seismic shockwaves continuing to echo around the world.
  11. Fake News (8) — Packaged news, planted sources, one-sided exposes, party lines, and official narratives are a new phenomenon only to those with no sense of history.
  12. Climate Change — 8,000 years ago, New York City was under a mile of ice.
  13. The Moment (1) — A confluence of fame, fortune, and happenstance.
  14. Nukes (4) — Last year North Korea and in 2019 Iran and Russia added to the mix.
  15. Progressives — The word ‘liberal’ outlived its usefulness as the description of one’s political leanings.
  16. Micro-influencers — Bloggers, Vloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, and other small yet very influential communities of interest.
  17. Fact Check (17) — New studies suggest that fact-checkers appear to have definite biases.
  18. ICE — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security.
  19. Women’s World Cup — The quadrennial, global celebration of women’s football.
  20. Gerrymander — The divvying up the political spoils (election districts) to the advantage of those in power.

Global Language Monitor has also released the Top Trending Words/Phrases of the Year for 2019 related to the call of social justice ranked to date, including last year’s ranking (number after the word) and a brief description or commentary.

  1. Identity Politics — - Tip O’Neill once famously opined that “all politics IS local”; nowadays it this has been updated to “all politics IS Identity”.
  2. They/Them — A variation of He/She.
  3. Fetal Heartbeat — - The center of a movement in many states to prove fetal viability.
  4. Woke — - The Great Awokening, etc.
  5. MeToo — - The #MeToo movement continues to wend itself into global culture.
  6. Cisgender — Those identifying with their assigned birth gender.
  7. Cultural Appropriation — One group, say white, female college students, adopting popular fashion styles of a minority group. (At one time considered a great compliment.)
  8. Intersectionality — According to Oxford, “The interconnected nature of social categorizations creating overlapping systems of discrimination”.
  9. Microaggression — Comments, looks, and gestures that communicate prejudicial slights, often unintentional.
  10. White Privilege — Societal benefits accrued to whites, by benefit of their cultural heritage. (In other cultures privilege often extends to other cultural groups.)
In addition, the Global Language Monitor has also tracked the Top Words, Phrases and Names of the 21st Century. More information about these and the company can be found at About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. The company is known for its Word of the Year, political analysis, college and university rankings, high-tech buzzwords, and media analytics. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Paul JJ Payack Related Images google-ngram-showing-the-rise-of.png Google Ngram showing the rise of “Woke” Woke, the Top Trending Word of 2019 for Global English thus far has dramatically risen in U.S. during the last decade as shown in the Google Ngram graph.

google-ngram-showing-the-decline.png Google Ngram showing the decline of “Progress” Progress, the Top Un-trending Word Decliner for 2019, has significantly fallen, especially since the mid-1960s as shown in the Google Ngram.

SOURCE The Global Language Monitor

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