The Moment and Weaponize: The Top Words of the Year 2018 for Global English

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The Moment: The Top Word of the Year 2018 for Global English (#WOTY)

Weaponize: The Top Word of the Year 2018 for the United States, alone.

Christmas - New Years Holiday,  2018, Austin, Texas — The Moment is the Top Word of the Year for 2018 (#WOTY) for Global English according to the Global Language Monitor,  while Weaponize is the is the Top Word of the Year (#WOTY) for the United States, alone.

This is the first time GLM’s analysis has determined two top WOTY.   This is because of the disparity between English-language usage between the US and the rest of the world especially in the language of politics,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst, Global Language Monitor.

This is GLM’s nineteenth annual analysis since the turn of the century.  Following The Moment and Weaponize were opioids, nukes (N.K.), woke, family separation, trade war, fake news, PyeongChang, and RepresentOther words in the running for the preeminent Word of the Year for 2018 included Collusion, ICE, World Cup, Twitter Storm, Wild Fires, Migrants, Fact Check, Volatility, Resistance, and Brexit.

GLM is the only WOTY, based upon global statistical analysis of the English -Linguasphere.   English is the world’s first truly global language with some 2.53 billion speakers as a first, second or business language.  (GLM has recently launched an effort to help better understand the number and composition of Global English speakers.)

The purpose of GLM’s Word of the Year lists is to provide an on-going account of the 21st century as it unfolds.  This is a Big Data analysis, with the English language as the medium of choice.

Today The Moment represents a larger than life experience, the convergence of, perhaps, fame, fortune, and happenstance representing a time of excellence or conspicuousness.  More importantly, it can be seen as where we now stand in the evolution of the flow of information,” Payack said.

As the definition of ‘the moment’ changes, we can see the shift after the year 2000 by way of Google NGrams

While news professionals were once intimidated by the prospect of a 24-hour News Cycle, with the accompanying ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’, the flow of information has increased a thousandfold or more.” Payack continued.  “Now ‘having a moment’ means standing astride the apex, an instant when all stars and light must pass through your gravitational field  (or bend around it). It also has evolved from an instant to an indeterminate length”.

The Moment defines a unique confluence of social and media forces where a person is elevated to a perceived pre-eminent position in their fields, situations, or positions.  For example, Meghan Markle had ‘her moment’ with her royal wedding to Prince Harry earlier this year,” Payack continued.  “Weaponize rose to the top of the US list, signifying the historically bitter level of the political invective, where any word, thought, or phrase is immediately weaponized and, in turn, catapulted back across the partisan divide.   “It has gotten to the point where even the absence of language — absolute silence — can and is being weaponized in the effort to silence the opposition.

Even Emojis have been ‘weaponized’.  Here is the ‘silence’ emoji

Previously, GLM announced that the Global English Word of the Year for 2017 was Truth, while the blood-soaked image of Omran Daqneesh, five-year-old, sitting in an ambulance while awaiting treatment in Allepo, Syria was the WOTY for 2016 (The first time a meme was chosen as a WOTY.)

The Top Words of 2018 for Global English follow:
  1. The Moment — A confluence of fame, fortune, and happenstance (Worldwide).
  2. Weaponize — In today’s bitterly partisan infighting, any word, action, or deed can and will be weaponized (US alone).
  3. Opioids — 60,000 Americans or more will die this year from overdoses:  more than from the entire Vietnam War — every year.
  4. North Korean Nukes — The threat appears to have subsided — for now.
  5. Woke — Being awakened to the causes of social justice
  6. Family Separation — Any number of worldwide challenges to the nuclear family.
  7. Trade War — Mr. Trump vs. the World, again.
  8. Fake News — Analysts are now pushing the origin of fake news backward into the past.  Anyone remember Leni Riefenstahl?
  9. PyeongChang — The Winter Games turned out to be the most politically consequential in decades.
  10. Represent — ‘Showing up’ or ‘representing’ at ‘resistance’ events and activities.
  11. Collusion — Collude’s etymology dates back to the early 1500s and literally means ‘to play together’ with no hint of the sinister undertones in the word’s present incarnation.
  12. ICE — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency under the Department of Homeland Security.
  13. World Cup — The quadrennial, global celebration of football (The 2018 FIFA World Cup, won by France, was the 21st FIFA World Cup.)
  14. Twitter Storm — President Trump early on realized that he had a direct connection to his sixty-million ‘followers’.
  15. Wild Fires — Representing all worldwide natural disasters. 
  16. Migrants (Worldwide) — Citizens have come to understand that national boundaries are quite malleable (for better or for worse). 
  17. Fact Check — By abandoning philosophy and the liberal arts, this generation actually believes that there is only one point of view and a single set of facts.
  18. Volatility — The global markets are volatile, the citizens are restless, and the Singularity is heading our way. 
  19. Resistance — Those who resist and will mince no words in informing you …
  20. Brexit (Soft or Hard Exit) — Nation-states are in a desperate race to save their national identities.


Top Phrases 

  1. #MeToo
  2. Shame! Shame! Shame!
  3. Cajun Navy
  4. Make America Great Again
  5. Blue Wave
  6. Breaking the Internet
  7. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  8. Not My President


Top Names of 2018

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Xi Jinping
  3. Pope Francis
  4. M/M George H.W. Bush
  5. Vladimir Putin
  6. Brian Kavanaugh
  7. Elon Musk
  8. Stephen Hawkins
  9. Jack Ma (Ali Baba)
  10. Billy Graham
  11. Nancy Pelosi


Methodology:  The words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 2.35 billion speakers (January 2018 estimate) 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 300,000 print, and electronic global media, as well as new social media sources as they emerge.

The Top Words, Phrases, and Names of the 21st century follow.

Top Words: No. 1 Truth, No. 2 Narrative, No. 3, Opioids
Top Phrases:  No 1. Weinstein Effect (and #MeToo), 2. Nuclear Option (North Korean version.),  3. Deep State

Top Names: No. 1 Donald Trump, No. 2 Vladimir Putin, No. 3 Neil Gorsuch

Top Words: No. 1 Truth, No. 2 Narrative, No. 3, #Resist
Top Phrases: No. 1 Make America Great Again No. 2 When they go low, we go high No. 3 The Electoral College
Top Names: No. 1 Donald Trump, No. 2 Vladimir Putin, No. 3 Neil Gorsuch

Top Words: No. 1 Microaggression
Top Phrases: No. 1 Migrant Crisis
Top Names: No. 1 Donald J. Trump

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:
Top Name: W (Dubya)

For More Information, go to or call 1.737.215.7750 or email

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.

Today, from its home in Austin, Texas 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. Products include ‘brand audits’ to assess the current status, establish baselines, and competitive benchmarks for current intellectual assets and brands, and to defend products against ambush marketing.

These services are currently provided to the Fortune 500, the Higher Education market, high technology firms, the worldwide print, and electronic media, as well as the global fashion industry, among others.

As the AustinWordWrangler, GLM designs and creates websites, and ‘content:’  Public Relations, brand naming, corporate affairs and communications, and technical brochures, data sheets, SEC materials.


Paul JJ Payack

President & Chief Word Analyst

The Global Language Monitor

Austin, Texas 78717 Email+1.737.215.7750 Phone

@LanguageMonitor Twitter
@pauljjpayack  Personal Twitter

Tracking Global Trends Through Big-Data Based Global English Analysis


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